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Today in History: Sunday, January 14, 2024

Television and Radio
Happy 72th Birthday to NBC’s “Today” show, which premiered in premiered in 1952. Originally hosted by Dave Garroway, “Today” was the first program of its genre, blending national news headlines, interviews with newsmakers, lifestyle features, other light news and gimmicks (including the presence of the chimpanzee J. Freg Muggs who served as the show’s mascot during the early years), and local news updates from the network’s stations…Norman Lear’s second long-running hit sitcom, “Sanford and Son,” debuted on NBC in 1972. It spun-off three short-lived sitcoms, all on NBC: “Grady” (1975-76), “The Sanford Arms” (1977) and “Sanford” (1980-81)…“Aloha from Hawaii”, a concert starring Elvis Presley, was transmitted live via satellite in 1973…“The Bionic Woman” with Lindsay Wagner spun-off from “The Six Million Dollar Man, opened in 1976. After ABC swung the axe in the spring of 1977, NBC picked it up for one final season…Two series launched in 1980: NBC daytime word quiz show “Chain Reaction” hosted by Bill Cullen, and PBS science educational program “3-2-1 Contact“. “Chain Reaction” only lasted five months, but has since been revived on cable four times including its upcoming GSN edition with Dylan Lane. “3-2-1 Contact” ran for eight years…”America’s Funniest Home Videos” debuted as a regularly scheduled series in 1990. Bob Saget was the first host…Months following NBC’s decision to have Jay Leno as host of “The Tonight Show“, David Letterman announced in 1993 he was moving to CBS on NBC’s “Late Night with David Letterman“…Four short-lived series launched: GSN reality show “Carnie Wilson: Unstapled” in 2010; “Sex and the City” prequel “The Carrie Diaries” on The CW in 2013; FXX comedy “Man Seeking Woman” in 2015; and Fox thriller “The Passage” in 2019. Of the quartet, only “The Carrie Diaries” made it into a second season.

Little Richard released single “Tutti Frutti” in 1956…David Bowie released his first single, “Can’t Help Thinking About Me”, in 1966…Sonny & Cher released single “The Beat Goes On” in 1967… Reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Baby Come Back” by Player in 1978; “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown in 1989; “Laffy Taffy” by D4L in 2006.

The Miami Dolphins defeated Washington’s football team 14-7 in Super Bowl VII in 1973, marking the first time an NFL team achieved an undefeated season. To date, no other team has since accomplished this feat.

Ted Turner became CEO of the Atlanta Braves in 1976…President Jimmy Carter proposed that Martin Luther King’s birthday be a holiday in 1979.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Blues singer Clarence Carter is 88; “The Love Boat” theme singer Jack Jones is 86; actress Faye Dunaway (“Network”) is 83; actress Holland Taylor (“Two and a Half Men”) is 81; actor Carl Weathers (“Rocky”) is 76; screenwriter-producer Lawrence Kasdan is 75; pro wrestler “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan is 70; director Steven Soderbergh (“Sex Lies & Videotape”) is 61; news anchor Shepard Smith is 60; actor Mark Addy (“The Full Monty”) is also 60; actress Emily Watson (“Red Dragon”) is 57; “NCIS: Los Angeles” star LL Cool J is 55; Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) is also 55; actor Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”) is 42; actor Grant Gustin (“The Flash”) is 34.

Did You Know?
Jason Bateman was added to the cast of NBC’s “Little House on the Prairie” (in the 1981-82 season) as 12-year-old James Cooper, who moved in with the Ingalls with sister Cassandra (Missy Francis) after their parents were killed in a stage coach accident…“Bionic Woman,” a remake of the classic 1970s series with Michelle Ryan in the role of Jaime Sommers, aired on NBC in the 2007-08 season. Only eight episodes were produced.