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Today in History: Friday, June 21, 2023

The first network telecast of the political conventions aired live from Philadelphia in 1948…Steven Bochco police drama “Blind Justice” concluded its 13-episode run on ABC in 2005…NBC summer staple “America’s Got Talent” debuted in 2006. Initially hosted by Regis Philbin, the season one judges were David HasselhoffPiers Morgan and Brandy Norwood.

Six short-lived series launched: Syndicated sitcom “Me and Mrs. C” in 1986; Fox sitcom “Down the Shore” in 1992; Showtime science fiction drama “Odyssey 5” in 2002; HBO comedy “The Brink” in 2015; NBC reality showcase “Little Big Shots: Forever Young” in 2017; and ABC detective comedy-drama “Take Two” in 2018…Seven short-lived series concluded: CBS sitcom “Hard Time on Planet Earth” in 1989; Fox’s “Party of Five” spin-off “Time of Your Life” in 2000; USA Network game show “Smush” in 2002; Steven Bochco’s ABC police drama “Blind Justice” in 2005; Comedy Central’s “The Showbiz Show with David Spade” in 2007; NBC newsmagazine “Rock Center with Brian Williams” in 2013; and TBS comedy “Lopez” in 2017.

Reality competition “WWE Tough Enough” debuted on MTV in 2001. Prospective wrestlers battled it out weekly for the hopes to win WWE contacts. It ran three seasons on MTV, one season on UPN and the latter two seasons on USA Network. The fifth season was hosted by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and its sixth season by Chris Jericho“Def Poetry Jam”, the Russell Simmons-produced spin-off of “Def Comedy Jam” debuted on HBO in 2002. The Mos Def-hosted series ran for 48 episodes across six seasons…Medieval fantasy series “Merlin” made its U.S. debut on NBC in 2008. It became the first British drama to air on American broadcast network television since “The New Avengers” on CBS in 1976-77. “Merlin” moved to NBC-owned cable network Syfy for seasons two through five.

Crime drama “Saving Grace” starring Holly Hunter ended its three-season run on TNT in 2010. Despite its abbreviated run, it was among cable’s most-watched programs in its first two seasons, paralleling the success of other female-led cable fare like TNT’s “The Closer” and USA’s “In Plain Sight”“Snooki & JWoww”, the second spin-off docuseries from “Jersey Shore”, premiered on MTV in 2012. Its opening theme song was Icona Pop and Charli XCX’s “I Love It”, a tune that got frequent radio airplay in the years that followed. A total of 48 episodes across four condensed seasons of the series were produced…“Person of Interest” concluded its five-season run on CBS in 2016. The drama centered on a reclusive billionaire (Michael Emerson) who attempts to counter his own crime-fighting super-intelligent computer program he believes is being abused by the government and recruits a former CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) to help him. It also starred Taraji P. HensonSarah Shahi and Amy Acker. J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk were executive producers.

“Ballers” premiered on HBO in 2015. The half-hour comedy-drama starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a retired NFL player turned financial manager for NFL players ran for five seasons…In 2018, ABC announced its intentions to spin-off the classic sitcom “Roseanne” into “The Conners” which would feature the original show’s cast except Roseanne Barr. A racially insensitive tweet by Barr caused the cancellation of the successful “Roseanne” reboot one month prior…The first season of sitcom “Mr. Iglesias” was released on Netflix in 2019. It starred Gabriel Iglesias and Sherri Shepherd. A total of 21 episodes were produced across two condensed seasons…“Perry Mason, the most recent adaptation of the famous attorney’s origin story, debuted on HBO in 2020. Matthew Rhys portrayed the title role. Tatiana Maslany and John Lithgow also starred. It aired for two seasons.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, directed by Mike Nichols and based on the 1962 play of the same name, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, opened in theaters in 1966. Taylor scored her second Oscar win as Best Actress in a Leading role following “Butterfield 8” in 1961.

Johnny Cash released his Top 10 country single “Cry! Cry! Cry!” in 1955…Paul McCartney released single “Take It Away” in 1982.

Baseball legend Joe DiMaggio got his 2,000th hit in 1950… Brazil defeated Italy 4-1 in the championship soccer match of the World Cup in Mexico City in 1970. Brazilian superstar Pele became the sport’s only three-time World Cup champion, to date…The Los Angeles Lakers‘ 108-105 Game 7 victory over the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals in 1988 delivered a 21.2 household rating and 37 share, marking it the highest-rated NBA telecast ever on CBS…In 1997, the New York Liberty defeated the Los Angeles Sparks 67-57 in the first WNBA game ever played…Also in 1997, the Professional Bowlers Tour concluded its 36-year association with ABC.

In 1982, John Hinckley found not guilty of the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan by reason of insanity…The first American woman to fly into outer space, Sally Ride, was launched with four other astronauts aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

Celebrity Birthdays
Actor Bernie Kopell (“The Love Boat”) is 91; actor Monte Markham (“The New Perry Mason”) is 89; actress Mariette Hartley is 84; comedian Joe Flaherty (“SCTV”) is 83; “Family Ties” stars Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross are both 77; actor Robyn Douglas (TV’s “Galactica,” film’s “Breaking Away”) is 72; country singer Kathy Mattea is 65; actor Marc Copage (“Julia”) is 62; actor Doug Savant (“Desperate Housewives,” ″Melrose Place”) is 60; filmmaker Lana Wachowski (“The Matrix,” “Speed Racer”) is 59; actress Carrie Preston (“The Good Wife”) is 57; actress Paula Irvine (“Santa Barbara”) is 56; actress Juliette Lewis (1991’s “Cape Fear”) is 51; actress Maggie Siff (“Mad Men”) is 50; actor Josh Hartnett (“Black Hawk Down”) is 45; actor Chris Pratt (“Parks and Recreation”) is also 45; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is 42; actor Jussie Smollett (“Empire”) is also 42; actor Michael Malarkey (“The Vampire Diaries”) is 41; singer Kris Allen (“American Idol”) is 39; singer Lana Del Rey is also 39.; singer Rebecca Black is 27.

Did You Know?
When Regis Philbin exited as host of “America’s Got Talent” after just one season, Jerry Springer stepped in for seasons two and three. Nick Cannon took over hosting chores in seasons four through eleven, with Tyra Banks next and now Terry Crews.