Press release: Expanding on its commitment to add classic TV to its vintage movie lineup, Sony Pictures Television Networks’ getTV has announced a weekly night of variety and talk programming from TV's Golden Age, to air weekly on Mondays beginning October 12th. The lineup will be headlined by The Judy Garland Show at 8PM (ET) and The Merv Griffin Show at 10PM (ET), with a rotating slate of musical variety specials and series episodes airing between the shows at 9PM (ET). Each week's programming will be repeated that same night, from 11PM to 2AM (ET).
In 1963, The Judy Garland Show was a celebrated entry on CBS' fall schedule, bringing the renowned movie star and all-around entertainer to a weekly series format after several successful variety specials. But, facing “Bonanza” across the dial, the series ultimately didn't capture enough viewers to last beyond its first season. Nevertheless, it has remained a legendary 'lost' series for showcasing the iconic Garland in fine musical form, in both solo performances and with guests including Barbra Streisand, Diahann Carroll, Mel Torme, Bobby Darin, Ethel Merman, June Allyson, Jack Jones, and daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft. One of the show’s many highlights features Garland’s show-stopping rendition of ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ taped just days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The performance was intended to help heal the country, and still resonates with critics today.
Although pieces of the show have shown up in compilation specials, getTV will present all 26 episodes of the series on TV for the first time since they were originally broadcast. The initial slate of episodes features guests such as frequent Garland co-star Mickey Rooney (Oct. 12), Count Basie (Oct. 19), Lena Horne (Nov. 9), and Tony Bennett (Nov. 16).
In the Spring of 1965, The Merv Griffin Show kicked off what would become a continuous 20-plus year run in syndication, and for a time, on CBS, helping to create the celebrity guest-based talk show genre that continues to be popular today. Early episodes feature a broad range of guests, from early comedic appearances by George Carlin, Woody Allen and Richard Pryor, to musical performances from Aretha Franklin, Sammy Davis Jr., and The Everly Brothers, and conversations with screen legends like John Wayne, Joan Crawford, and Jerry Lewis. Griffin's series also featured discussions with some of the most powerful and influential political leaders and activists of the time, including Senator Robert F. Kennedy, President Richard Nixon, and Martin Luther King Jr, talking about issues that still resonate today.
getTV celebrates the 50th Anniversary of The Merv Griffin Show with a selection of 50 hand-picked episodes from the series' formative years, none of which have been seen on TV since their original broadcast. The network debut on October 12 will feature comedian Carl Reiner and a poignant discussion about civil unrest with Robert F. Kennedy, just eight months before his assassination. Other scheduled episodes include guests such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Totie Fields (Oct. 19) and blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield with her children, including her then-two-year-old daughter Mariska Hargitay (Oct. 26). The original episodes were 90-minutes in length, and will be trimmed down to one hour.
Programs featured during the 9PM (ET) hour of getTV’s Monday variety block include classic specials and variety episodes from Andy Williams, Dionne Warwick and Jim Nabors, among others. The variety block’s premiere night will feature the 1969 special Carol Channing & Pearl Bailey On Broadway, starring the two Tony winners in both solo and duet numbers. Channing and Bailey were paired together after Channing had originated, and Bailey revived, the iconic role of Dolly Levi from the beloved musical Hello Dolly.
"Judy Garland is riveting to watch, and we want to remind people why she has been called the world’s greatest entertainer," said Jeff Meier, SVP of Programming for getTV. "The Merv Griffin Show, which was originally produced as a disposable daily talk show, has become an amazing time capsule, capturing huge stars in casual conversation, spotlighting incredible talent before they were famous, and featuring frank social and political discussions that are still poignant today. Our entire Monday night lineup takes our viewers back to a time when true talent reigned on the airwaves—a Golden Age packed with iconic triple threat performers who could sing, dance and act in front of a live audience."
“It’s been nearly 30 years since The Merv Griffin Show went off the air and most people have never seen or don’t remember just how great a host and interviewer he was. His charm and intelligence brought out the best in all his guests,” said David Peck, president of Reelin’ In The Years Productions, who represents the rights to The Merv Griffin Show. “We are honored to be able to bring this lost treasure of American television back to the airwaves.”
getTV is broadcast in 68 U.S. markets, including each of the top 25, representing over 70 percent of the television households. To find out the markets and respective channel numbers, visit http://get.tv/get-the-channel. For a complete schedule of films and times, visit www.get.tv/schedule.