Those of us who came of age in the 1970s knew one thing: there was no surer sign of impending young adulthood than our parents letting us stay up late to watch a Celebrity Roast. For those unfortunates who may be unfamiliar with the concept, the Roast was a series of primetime specials wherein popular stars were “celebrated” by a panel of actors, comedians, and raconteurs. And by “celebrated,” we mean “mercilessly mocked.”
It’s no exaggeration to say that Flip Wilson was TV’s first African American superstar. In an era when people of color were under-represented in primetime, the New Jersey native (born Clerow Wilson) headlined one of network television’s most popular programs. His Emmy-winning NBC variety show was the second-highest rated series between 1970 and 1972. And Wilson, as producer, walked a fine line between exposing performers of color to a wider audience and delivering a show that appealed to a traditional variety show demographic.
This March we're pleased to introduce a new feature of the getTV blog - our Programmer's Pick. Each month one of our lead programmers will let us know what his favorite program will be and some of the reasons why it was selected. We will also post these blogs on Facebook, which will give you the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. We kick things off with Senior Vice President of Programming Jeff Meier and his pick for March - the 1977 variety special Mac Davis: Sounds Like Home.