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Today in History: Saturday, October 7, 2023

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“Ol’ Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra, made his initial plunge into regularly scheduled series television as host of CBS’ variety-driven “The Frank Sinatra Show” beginning in 1950. The hour lasted two seasons…Other series premieres: “Route 66” (CBS, 1960), “Mr. Merlin” (CBS, 1981), “It Takes Two” (ABC, 1982)…A short-lived edition of “American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark, opened on ABC in 1975…”I’ll Fly Away“, the 50’s set-drama centered on a housekeeper (Regina Taylor) who works for the family of a district attorney (Sam Waterston), premiered on NBC in 1991. Despite critical raves (the title frequently mentioned in “The Quality Shows on NBC” promos at the time) and several prestigious awards including Emmys, Golden Globes and NAACP Image Awards, NBC canceled the series after two seasons. A two-hour TV movie that resolved the storylines from the second season’s conclusion aired on PBS in October 1993…The Fox News Channel was introduced in 1996…Also in 1996, animated comedy “Hey Arnold!” debuted on Nickelodeon. Across an eight-year span, there were five seasons and 100 episodes produced…Aaron Spelling-produced witches drama “Charmed” debuted on The WB in 1998. The series starred Shannen DohertyHolly Marie Combs and Alyssa MilanoRose McGowan joined the cast at the start of its fourth season, which followed Doherty’s departure. Its original run lasted eight seasons. The rebooted version on The CW (with an entirely different cast) launched in 2018 and aired for four season…Also in 1998 was the launch of time-travel drama “Seven Days” starring Jonathan LaPaglia. It ran for three seasons on the now-defunct netlet UPN…Police procedural “The District” starring Craig T. Nelson premiered on CBS in 2000. It was TV’s last Saturday primetime scripted series to average at least 10 million viewers per episode within a season (it last did so in the 2001-02 season). The drama ran for four seasons…Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon debuted as co-anchors of “Weekend Update” on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in 2000… teen drama “life as we know it” premiered on ABC in 2004. Former reality TV personality Kelly Osbourne had a supporting role on the show. The series produced 13 episodes but only 11 had aired before its cancellation… “Real Housewives of Atlanta“, the third installment of the “Real Housewives” docuseries franchise, debuted on Bravo in 2008. To date, it is the most-watched “Real Housewives” series, and featured notable personalities NeNe Leakes, singer-songwriter Kandi BurrussKim Zolciak-BiermannPorsha Williams, former Miss USA Kenya Moore, former “The Facts of Life” star Kim Fields, former “America’s Next Top Model” winner Eva Marcille and former “Deal or No Deal” suitcase girl Claudia Jordan…Superhero drama “The Flash” starring Grant GustinCandice PattonDanielle PanabakerJesse L. Martin and Tom Cavanagh debuted on The CW in 2014. Spun-off from another successful  DC Comics series “Arrow“, it delivered the second most-watched series premiere episode in the net’s history when it drew nearly 4.9 million total viewers that night. John Wesley Shipp, who was The Flash in the short-lived 1990 CBS series version, had two recurring roles in the current edition, first portraying Henry Allen, Barry Allen’s father, then as Jay Garrick, Henry’s doppelgänger from Earth-3 who serves as Barry’s mentor.

Romantic comedy “Pillow Talk” was released nationwide in the United States in 1959. It was the first of several on-screen pairings of Rock Hudson and Doris Day…the Motion Picture Association of America adopted the film-rating system that ranged for “G” to “X” in 1968…“The French Connection” directed by William Friedkin and starring Gene HackmanRoy Scheider and Fernando Rey opened in the United States in 1971. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hackman), Best Director (Friedkin), Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay…Comedy “Oh, God!” directed by Carl Reiner and starring George Burns and John Denver opened in 1977… Sean Connery returned in the role of James Bond in “Never Say Never Again,” a remake of “Thunderball” but filmed outside of Albert Broccoli’s EON Productions. It opened in 1983.

In 1989, “Miss You Much” by Janet Jackson reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100; “Forever Your Girl“, the debut studio album by Jackson’s former choreographer Paula Abdul hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart.

Musical “Cats” opens at Winter Garden Theater on Broadway NYC and ran for nearly 18 years before closing on September 10, 2000… Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected as the 38th Governor of California in 2003.Sports:
Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants) hit his 73rd home run of the season and set a new major league record in 2001.

Celebrity Birthdays
Talk show host Joy Behar (“The View”) is 81; actress Jill Larson (“All My Children”) is 76; actress Mary Badham (“To Kill A Mockingbird”) is 71; cellist Yo-Yo Ma is 68; actor Christopher Norris (“Trapper John M.D.) is also 68; gospel singer Michael W. Smith is 66; British ice dancer Jayne Torvill (of Torvill & Dean) is also 66; actress Judy Landers (“Vega$”) is 65; reality competition judge Simon Cowell (“America’s Got Talent”) is 64; actor Dylan Baker (“The Good Wife”) is also 64; actress Paula Newsome (“Chicago Med”) is 62; Exposé lead singer Ann Curless is 60; R&B singer Toni Braxton is 56; Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke is 55; actress Nicole Ari Parker (“Empire”) is 53; actress Allison Munn (“That 70’s Show”) is 49; former NFL linebacker Charles Woodson is also 49: “American Idol” season five winner Taylor Hicks is 47; actor Omar Miller (“The Unicorn”) is 45; twin brother actors Aaron Ashmore and Shawn Ashmore are 44; actor Jake McLaughlin (“Quantico”) is 41; MLB third baseman Evan Longoria is 38; actress Amber Stevens West (“The Carmichael Show”) is 37; pop singer Lewis Capaldi is 27.

Did You Know?
At the time of his first variety series, the controversy surrounding Frank Sinatra’s highly publicized affair with Ava Gardner, along with several unpopular singles, led to the demise of the TV variety series…A failed reboot of “Route 66,” starring James Wilder and Dan Cortese, aired on NBC for four episodes in 1993.