Die-hard television fans should look out for a premiere series on American TV Moguls.
This retrospective series, screening for the first time in Australia, looks at the men (and one woman) who shaped television from the 50’s to the 90’s.
The six part series starts with Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball (they even produced Star Trek) , to Aaron Spelling and David E. Kelley. It was completed in 2004.
It begins Sundays at 9.30am and 9.30pm, from January 4 on TV1.
The 50’s: Television’s Golden Age. Celebrated television icons Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, Sheldon Leonard and Danny Thomas developed breakthrough television production and 3-camera filming before a live audience. They were instrumental in moving TV production to Los Angeles and brought quality, character driven sitcoms that were ratings winners
The 60’s: While Quinn Martin and Jack Webb brought gritty crime drama and feature film production quality to the television screen, Sherwood Schwartz and Paul Henning found success with zany sitcoms including The Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan’s Island.
The 70’s – Part I: Because of their taste, style and tenacity, Grant Tinker (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda) and Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, Sanford & Son) changed the television landscape forever. They broke down barriers, opened viewers’ minds, shed light on the world “outside the box” — illuminating the human spirit. The creative atmosphere at their production companies nurtured several generations of TV’s best talent.
The 70’s – Part II: Although dismissed by the critics, Aaron Spelling and his partner Leonard Goldberg had one of the most prolific and profitable production company’s in the 70’s — from Charlie’s Angels and Starsky & Hutch to The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Former advertising executive, Lee Rich’s Lorimar Productions produces The Waltons and Eight Is Enough, but it’s Dallas that brings phenomenal ratings success and signals the emergence of primetime soaps (Dynasty, Knots Landing). Garry Marshall strikes a chord with America’s funny bone with hits like The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne
& Shirley and Mork & Mindy
The 80’s: Stephen J. Cannell dominated network primetime with action-adventure hits like Baretta, Rockford Files, the A-Team and Wiseguy. Stephen Bochco brought quirky, quality dramatic hits like Hill Streeet Blues, L.A. Law and N.Y.P.D. Blue. The decade also saw the outrageous sitcoms from Witt-Thomas-Harris Productions, including Soap and Benson. Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner achieve the pinnacle of success with their groundbreaking comedy series, The Cosby Show, Roseanne and A Different World.
The 90’s: Prolific writer/producer David E. Kelley dominates with Chicago Hope, Picket Fences, Alley McBeal and The Practice. Dick Wolf’s New York-based Law & Order franchise debuts. In addition to hosting and producing his own late night show, comedian David Letterman forms World Wide Pants and together with Rob Burnett produces The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn, the dramatic series Ed and the hit sit-com Everybody Loves Raymond. Darren Star collaborated with mogul Aaron Spelling to deliver the hit series Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. He later goes on to produce HBO’s phenomenally successful series, Sex and The City, which follows the funny and sometimes shocking exploits of four single women in New York City. Jerry Bruckheimer, one of the most successful feature film producer’s in the history of movies, brings his big-budget film style to the small screen. Combining state of the art visual effects with authenticity and realism -“feature-television,” his hits include C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI Miami, and Without A Trace.