Starting Monday, Sony Pictures Television Networks’ GetTV service will be airing a full night of vintage variety programs every week, featuring The Judy Garland Show, which ran on CBS in the 1963-64 TV season, and episodes of The Merv Griffin Show from the 1960s and ’70s. A third hour will feature network musical variety specials, many of which haven’t been seen since they were first broadcast.
The Judy Garland Show starts Monday, October 12 @ 8PM. The first episode include Judy’s long-time friend and childhood co-star Mickey Rooney with Jerry Van Dyke; the program originally aired December 8, 1963.
The Judy Garland Show was a high-profile failure in its time, canceled by CBS after a single season that saw several executive producer and format changes. The program evolved from a musical variety vehicle with sketches, to an hour of her performing in a concert-like setting.
Jeff Meier, senior vice president of programming for GetTV, likes the historic synergy of having the show on a network based on the Culver City studio lot where Garland made many of her MGM films.
“Goose bumps go through me when I think of that,” he said.
GetTV has picked up 50 of Griffin’s programs from Reelin’ in the Years Productions, which licenses the show for the estate of the late host and game show impresario. Meier believes Griffin’s affection for old Hollywood — he often booked veteran stars who reflected on their careers — is a good fit for his network, which draws much of its programming from the Columbia Pictures film library.
Griffin’s show was surprisingly substantive as well, giving platforms to politicians (Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Richard Nixon) and civil rights leaders (the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Dick Gregory) during the 1960s. There is also an unpredictability rarely seen in current talk shows. In a 1965 episode, artist Andy Warhol gives one-word answers in his interview.
During the ’70s, Griffin invented and produced the popular game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune – which by 1986 made him a very rich man when he sold his company to Columbia Pictures Television for $250 million. Merv Griffin died of Cancer at 82 in 2007.
GetTV is a new channel by SonyPictures TV. Find where GetTV airs in your area.