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AMERICAN MASTERS: “JAMES BEARD: AMERICA’S FIRST FOODIE”
May 19, 2017  | By David Bianculli

PBS, 9:00 p.m. ET

 

American Masters, this week and next, is serving up a quartet of shows that food-loving cooking enthusiasts will enjoy. One new program will be paired each Friday with one related rerun, and tonight the new production is James Beard: America’s First Foodie. That title may sound like a stretch, but in TV terms, it’s absolutely and incontrovertibly accurate: His first TV series about food and food preparation, NBC’s I Love to Eat, was a 15-minute show that was shown in 1946, as one of only 12 shows on the brand-new TV network’s weekly schedule. James Beard’s Beard on Bread book taught me how to bake when I was in college, and I still remember how well-written, and encouraging, it was. Watch his enthusiasm here as well: It’s the secret sauce slathered over everything he touches. Check local listings.

 
 
 
 
 
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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 now available in paperback for under $15. 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. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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