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Today in History: Tuesday, March 9, 2021

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Television and Radio
Family“, the drama about the Lawrence family set in Pasadena, California and starring Sada Thompson, James Broderick, Kristy McNichol and Meredith Baxter Birney, premiered on ABC in 1976. Its executive producers were Leonard Goldberg, Aaron Spelling, and “The Graduate” director Mike Nichols. The series lasted for five seasons…Dan Rather became the primary anchor of the “CBS Evening News” in 1981…”Rags to Riches“, starring Joseph Bologna as a millionaire in the 1960’s who adopts a group of orphan girls for the purposes of helping his image, premiered on NBC in 1987. It also starred a pre-“Martin” Tisha Campbell. The series aired for 20 episodes before its cancellation in January 1988…From the producers of “Cheers“, the female “Odd Couple”-esque sitcom “Hope & Gloria” debuted on NBC in 1995. The series starred Cynthia Stevenson, Jessica Lundy and Alan Thicke, and  aired 35 episodes across two seasons…ABC debuted the first of two revivals of Jim Henson’s Muppets on short-lived variety show, “Muppets Tonight, in 1996. The more recent version, simply called “The Muppets, aired on the network in the 2015-16 season…Another 90’s high school drama set in California from Aaron Spelling, “Malibu Shores“, began on NBC in 1996. It starred Tony Lucca and a pre-“Felicity” Keri Russell and only lasted 10 episodes…Dan Rather anchored the “CBS Evening News” for the last time in 2005. He held that position for 24 years…Critically-acclaimed “The Wire“, the Baltimore-set crime drama created by David Simon (“Homicide: Life on the Street”), concluded its run on HBO in 2008. The series starred Dominic West, Wendell Pierce, Sonja Sohn, Clarke Peters, John Doman, Andre Royo, Lance Riddick, Idris Elba and Michael K. Williams, and it ran for 60 episodes across five seasons…Also in 2008: “Ax Men“, the reality series about logging families in the Pacific Northwest, debuted on History. To date, it has run for ten seasons with 166 episodes…Procedural dramedy “Castle” debuted on ABC in 2009. It starred Nathan Fillion as mystery novelist Richard Castle who becomes a consultant to NYPD detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), who is initially displeased by the arrangement. The series, which also starred Susan Sullivan, Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever, ran for eight seasons and 173 episodes…”The Real World: Las Vegas“, the 25th season of the long-running reality series about seven strangers picked to reside together, premiered on MTV in 2011. Its eighth episode of the season, which featured the revelation that cast member Dustin Zito had a gay porn past is, to date, the most-watched “Real World” episode in total viewers since 2008. Castmates Nany Gonzalez, Leroy Garrett and the aforementioned Zito have since been frequent competitors on MTV competition “The Challenge“…Fantasy drama “Resurrection” starring Omar Epps, Frances Fisher and Kurtwood Smith, launched on ABC in 2014. On-air promos touted our very own rave review of the series about formerly deceased people returning to the small town where they used to reside. Although it scored a boffo debut with an impressive 13.9 million viewers, the audience quickly exited. The entire run of “Resurrection” lasted 21 episodes across two condensed seasons…Another drama about the dead coming back to life, “The Returned” (co-created by Carlton Cuse), premiered on A&E in 2015. It ran for 10 episodes…”Underground“, the 19th century-set drama that chronicled the Underground Railroad, debuted on WGN America in 2016. Although it concluded after only 20 episodes, its series creator Misha Green and lead star Jurnee Smollett reunited for the HBO’s current fantasy adventure drama “Lovecraft Country“…The “Survivor”-esque reality competition “Kicking and Screaming”, hosted by Hannah Simone (“New Girl”), debuted on Fox in 2017. It only ran for eight episodes.

The cult classic “House Party” starring Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin as the hip-hop duo Kid ‘n Play opened in theaters in 1990. The movie, directed by Reginald Hudlin and based on Hudlin’s award-winning Harvard University student film, also starred Martin Lawrence and Tisha Campbell — both of them would be the lead stars of the Fox sitcom “Martin” (1992-97).

The Supremes released singles “I Want A Guy” and “Never Again” in 1961…John Lennon single “Borrowed Time” was released posthumously in 1984… U2’s fifth studio album “The Joshua Tree“, which featured the hits “With or Without You“, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where the Streets Have No Name“, was released in 1987

Fashion doll Barbie went on sale in 1959. In 2020, Mattel sold $1.35 billion worth of Barbie dolls and accessories and this was their best sales growth in two decades…Actress Audrey Hepburn was appointed a UNICEF Special Ambassador in 1988…Brooklyn-born rapper Christopher Wallace (aka The Notorious B.I.G.) was gunned down after exiting a party in Los Angeles in 1997. His death was observed as retaliation for the shooting death of West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur nearly six months prior in Las Vegas…Italy announced it was locking down the whole country due to a spike in COVID-19 cases (with 10,040 cases and 630 deaths) in 2020.

Adam Smith published the economics book “The Wealth of Nations” in 1776.

Major League Baseball awarded the city of Tampa Bay a franchise in 1995. The team would be called the Devil Rays.

Celebrity Birthdays:
Actress Joyce Van Patten (“The Good Guys”) is 87; country singer Mickey Gilley is 85; actress Trish Van Devere (“One is a Lonely Number”) is 80; TV anchor Charles Gibson is 78; singer Jeffrey Osborne is 73; actress Linda Fiorentino (“Men In Black”) is 63; actress Juliette Binoche (“Chocolat,” ″The English Patient”) is 57; daytime talk show host Steve Wilkos is 57; actor Emmanuel Lewis (“Webster”) is 50; actress Jean Louisa Kelly (“Yes, Dear,” ″Mr. Holland’s Opus”) is 49; actor Kerr Smith (“Life Unexpected,” ″Dawson’s Creek”) is 49; actor Oscar Isaac (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) is 42; comedian Jordan Klepper (“The Daily Show”) is 42; actor Matthew Gray Gubler (“Criminal Minds”) is 41; actress Brittany Snow (“American Dreams,” ″Hairspray”) is 35; rapper Shad Moss aka Bow Wow is 34.

Did You Know?
Jim Henson first created The Muppets in 1955 for live action puppet show “Sam and Friends, which  aired twice daily as a local series in Washington, D.C., on WRC-TV in black and white, and later color, on weeknights from May 9, 1955, to December 15, 1961. From the beginning, the Barbie doll was a reflection of the times, with the first doll mimicking the glamour of 1950s stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. In its first year, 300,000 Barbie dolls were sold.