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Today in History: Wednesday, March 24, 2021

© by Photo courtesy of Disney Television

Television and Radio
ABC’s “Nightline”, originally hosted by Ted Koppel, debuted in 1980…Also on that day: Sassy Flo (Polly Holliday) left Phoenix and the gang from Mel’s Diner on the CBS sitcom “Alice” for Cowtown, Texas in the spin-off “Flo.” “Flo” only lasted for 29 episodes, and Diane Ladd as the new waitress, Belle, (and ultimately Celia Weston as Jolene) could not fill Flo’s shoes on “Alice.” Kiss my grits!…Also debuting: Sitcoms “The Bad News Bears, based on the movie franchise, on CBS in 1979; and NBC’s “Half Nelson, starring Joe Pesci, in 1985…NBC’s “ALF” ended its five season run in 1990. Recent rumors of a reboot never surfaced…ABC single-camera dramedy “Doogie Howser M.D.”, created by Steven Bochco and David E. Kelley, concluded its four-season run in 1993. It starred Neil Patrick Harris as a kid prodigy who balanced his physician profession with teenage life. Streamer Disney+ is rebooting the series as Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.”, which will be set in Hawaii and will star Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Lahela “Doogie” Kameāloha…Several short-lived series launched: 1) flight attendant docuseries “Fly Girls” on The CW in 2010; 2) sports memorabilia docuseries “Ball Boys” on ABC in 2012; 3) the Shonda Rhimes-produced private eye dramedy “The Catch” on ABC in 2015 starring Mireille Enos and Peter Krause; 4) animated “Tangled: The Series” on Disney Channel in 2017 featuring the voices of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi; and, 5) tearjerker family drama “Council of Dads” on NBC in 2019…”Married to Medicine“, the docuseries about Atlanta’s exclusive medical inner circle, debuted on Bravo in 2013. It’s currently in its eighth season which premiered earlier this month…The remake of 70’s family sitcom “One Day At A Time” starring Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, Todd Grinell and Stephen Tobolowsky made its Pop network debut in 2020. The critically-acclaimed update was created by Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce and executive produced by the series’ original producer, the legendary Norman Lear. 39 episodes over three seasons had previously been released on Netflix. Only seven original episodes were produced for Pop — the first six re-aired on CBS in October 2020; its last Pop episode was an animated edition in June 2020…Two short-lived series concluded: docuseries “The Salt ‘N’ Pepa Show” on VH1 in 2008; the Nick Kroll comedy sketch show “Kroll Show” on Comedy Central in 2015…Teen twin sister comedy “Liv and Maddie” starring Dove Cameron concluded its four-season series run on Disney Channel in 2017. It aired 80 episodes, in all.

“Wuthering Heights” based on the novel by Emily Brontë, directed by William Wyler and starring Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier, opened in Los Angeles in 1939. It was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. But it only won for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White…“The Matrix”, starring Keanu Reeve, Lawrence Fishburne and Carrie-Ann Moss, opened in theaters in 1999. Worldwide, it was the fourth highest-grossing film of the year with a total of $463,517,383 in ticket sales.

In 1945: With the debut of the Billboard magazine pop album chart, American pianist and singer Nat King Cole’s “King Cole Trio” became the first record album to appear at No. 1…“Black Velvet”, sung by Canadian artist Alannah Myles, hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1990. It spent two weeks atop that chart; one of pop radio’s most-played songs at the time, it also placed at No. 18 on Billboard’s year-end chart for 1990.

Elvis Presley was drafted in the Army in 1958..

Celebrity Birthdays:
Actor William Smith (“Rich Man, Poor Man”) is 88; Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger is 70; comedian Louie Anderson is 68; actress Donna Pescow (“Angie”) is 67; actor Robert Carradine (“Revenge of the Nerds”) is 67; actress Kelly Le Brock (“Weird Science”) is 61; former “The View” co-host Star Jones is 59; actor Peter Jacobson (“House”) is 56; actress Lara Flynn Boyle (“The Practice”) is 51; actress Megyn Price (“Rules of Engagement”) is 50; “The Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons is 48; “How I Met Your Mother” star Alyson Hannigan is 47; 2-time Super Bowl champion NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is 45; actress Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”) is 44; actress Lake Bell (“Bless This Mess”) is 42; actor Philip Winchester (“Chicago Med”) is 40; dancer Val Chmerkovskiy (“Dancing with the Stars”) is 35; actress Keisha Castle-Hughes (“The Nativity Story,” “Whale Rider”) is 31.

Did You Know?
Diane Ladd created the role of Florence (“Flo”) Jean Castleberry on the movie sitcom “Alice” was based on, “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, in 1974. Legend has it Linda Lavin was jealous of Polly Holliday’s popularity on “Alice,” which gave CBS the incentive to give base a spinoff series on her character…Prior to her long-running role as Camden matriarch Annie Camden on “7th Heaven,” Catherine Hicks co-starred on “The Bad News Bears.