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ROBERT OSBORNE SALUTE
March 18, 2017  | By David Bianculli

TCM, 6:00 a.m. ET

 

TCM, quite appropriately, has cleared its slate this weekend to present two days of programming honoring Robert Osborne, who served as the network’s most famous public face from its inception until his recent death. For decades, watching TCM (as I did, regularly and almost religiously), all you had to do to appreciate Osborne was listen to him introduce, and comment upon, the movies he presented – or, on occasion, interview some of his favorite actors and filmmakers. His knowledge and enthusiasm shone through instantly and effortlessly, and this weekend, TCM offers plenty of examples of that. The tribute begins early, at 6 a.m. ET, with a special Private Screenings program from 2014 in which Osborne, instead of asking the questions, is the interview subject instead, asked questions by recent TCM guest host Alec Baldwin. Later in the day, Osborne is seen interviewing people through the years, either at the TCM Classic Film Festival or on the regular Private Screenings interview series. In prime time tonight, for example, the evening begins at 8 p.m. ET with a repeat of the Alec Baldwin interview with Osborne, followed by Osborne on Private Screenings interviewing, in order, Debbie Reynolds (9:30 p.m. ET), Betty Hutton (10:30 p.m. ET), and Liza Minnelli (11:35 p.m. ET).

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20.

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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