10 Great NBC Shows The 90th Anniversary Special Forgot

So NBC aired a special Sunday night. Celebrating the 90th anniversary of NBC (including radio). The Paley Center sucks, I always hate their specials. This one was, not as bad. They did manage to hit almost everything they should have. But as you may guess there was no way to get everything in there, and there were some glaring omissions.


It may have been better if they did it by era rather than genre. Lots of stuff from the old days were overlooked (car 52, Flipper, I Spy) and the 70’s was kind of blended with the 80’s shortchanging both. I can understand why mentioning Disney would be awkward but that was a fixture on NBC for a long time. And If you’re wondering, yes they did mention The Cosby Show but it was understated. They hardly showed any clips or mentioned the impact the show had on NBC. And not one image appeared in the ads for the special, even though The Cosby Show put that network on the map. But I’ll take what I got, better than nothing.



Sadly a few other shows weren’t so lucky. I understand not mentioning some shows like TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes (which I loved as a kid), Amen, Empty Nest, Caroline in the City, Dear John, Blossom…but they do mention 227? Yeah that got a nod! Don’t get me wrong that show was OK and I liked it, but…. what? And again I get it, even in three hours you can’t cover everything. They didn’t even get into movies and mini-series! Not to mention daytime. But there were some omissions I just can’t ignore.






So here are a ten great shows that were ignored and deserved at least a passing mention in my opinion :



A Different World

Probably the biggest oversight considered how groundbreaking it was. Yeah an African American cast was old news but the issues they covered weren’t. This was one of, if not THE, first sitcom to tackle AIDS. Hope it wasn’t overlooked because of the Cosby connection, because that’s not fair.







This really makes me upset. No mention of ALF? Not even a quick glimpse like they did in the 75th anniversary? ALF is one of those shows that is quintessential 80’s and in some ways makes me more nostalgic for that decade than even Cosby does. It was huge in its day! What the hell? That would be like forgetting Punky Brewster…..





Punk Brewster

You’re kidding! I get some things not appearing, like Mama’s Family which had a whole season on the network. Or even My Two Dads which was cute but had the more absurd premise.  I can accept Silver Spoons not appearing, even though that show made Rick Schroeder famous. But no Punky? Of course this silly little show was aimed at kids and was adorable. I would argue that may have been the problem, except Saved By The Bell got a very nice feature.






Gimmee A Break

The 80’s really got shafted. Ok, ALF was a worst omission but what about this show? Ok it wasn’t the greatest show ever made but it was really good and even covered tough topics. In fact this show was the first time i ever learned what birth control was. Nell Carter was great and made that show the memorable one it was. If you’re wondering they did remember Night Court and Wings. They did a better job covering the 90’s sitcoms the one one’s the left odd were the crappier no one remembers like The Single Guy or The Naked Truth. Seriously they mentioned Just Shoot Me but couldn’t mention The Hogan Family????





SeaQuest DSV

Yeah I know I’ve trashed this show and it’s fair to say that it didn’t have the most illustrious run. But it was pretty groundbreaking and deserved a token mention along Star Trek and Quantum Leap (or V which also got ignored).





Emergency!/Third Watch

My mother introduced me to Emergency, a show about firefighters, and she is no fan of drama so her liking it was pretty impressive. I can’t say I really watched but it, yeah, it should have been mentioned. That aired in the 70’s. About thirty years later there was Third Watch, another show about firefighters (and paramedics and police), which while it didn’t last that long it did make an impact (thanks to 9/11 among other reasons) and deserved a mention







Who didn’t know about this show? I never watched it but still knew who Stepfanie Cramer was. I don’t get it they did a whole segment on cop shows did this not count? An even bigger oversight was Adam-12, created by Dragnet creator Jack Webb and had a very healthy run.





Unsolved Mysteries

This show was so…NBC. Robert Stack hosted this show which solved mysteries. Before Rescue 911 or America’s Most Wanted came along we had Stack in his trench coat and he rocked. Most people think of Stack and think of The Untouchables. Not me. It was as advertised, taking a look at veracious mysteries which the audience could call in about. It was really cool and lasted a long time. By the way also missing was Amazing Stories which was a really good show that everyone forgets.





Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien

I guess this makes sense, but it’s still an oversight. The fiasco of The Jay Leno Show is up there with The XFL and Supertrain in the anal’s of NBC disasters so I can see wanting to forget it. But Conan did host the show for nine months and it didn’t seem fair to leave him out. They did mention he did Late Night. That wasn’t all they forgot either. Before Last Call with Carson Daly we had Later with Bob Costas which was overlooked as was Tomorrow with Tom Snyder. Both had good healthy runs why were they ignored?






The Weakest Link

I was happy they remember Deal or No Deal but..I liked this show! Ok it wasn’t the greatest. It was a combination of Survivor and Who Wants to be a Millionaire with a host that was Judge Judy only meaner. It was good and deserved a quick nod. The reality/game show segment was pretty decent though I wondered why their first reality show didn’t get a mention. It was The Apprentice and starred…oh, never mind. In all seriousness that show is still on and could have been brought up.



Ok in all fairness this is mostly in good fun. The special was really good. It did what I expected it to, and once again there is not way to cover every single program that has aired on NBC. I preferred the live special we had for the 75th, but this is only the 90th so it was enough. The stuff on the news and sports was also satisfying (and thanks for showing the 1986 Buckner clip!!!). It was great to see some shows like Sisters and Mad About You get some love since those shows tend to be overlooked. The nod to Bob Hope was good, and the late night segment also worked (with that one oversight  I mentioned).



There were some things that also could have been mentioned, like the Thanksgiving Day Parade they have run every year for ages. And some things also got to much attention. Like Will & Grace which overshadowed everything, even Friends. Why? Because they’re getting a relaunch? Some of the segments were either pointless or could have been expanded. The segment on stars that came from NBC could have been longer and that segment on celebrity guest appearances was really stupid. And why does NBC keep trying to take credit for Betty White?



So I liked it, though it could have been better they remembered a lot more than they forgot. If you didn’t see it and have been or currently are a fan of this network, you should check it out.





Now, since it is the 90th anniversary let me stop this nitpicking and share some thoughts. When I was a kid, NBC ruled the world! It’s had to believe now but it’s true, CBS was the network no one watched. I adored NBC and if anything was on more than one channel, it was always (and still is) NBC that I would choose. Don’t get me wrong I hardly watch it now too (except SNL) but the memories of watching it as a kid will always be special. I have tried to convey how amazing it was watching NBC on Thursday when I was a kid but I can’t find the words to convey it. It was like coming home to family (hence the 80’s slogan “COME ON HOME..TO NBC”) and it was something I cherished and will probably never see again. No matter what, NBC will always be my favorite network. And I wish it a Happy 90th!




Did you see the special? What did you think?

4 replies
  1. les
    les says:

    Hi RichB. Yeah…I’m thinking they DEFINITELY distanced themselves from Cosby because of the scandals. The man who made them billions turned radioactive. Good review, my friend. Peace.

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