Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked TV: The New Show

This week's Tuesday's Overlooked TV is the 1984 sketch comedy series The New Show.

The New Show launched in January 1984 with an impressive pedigree. The show marked the return to television of Lorne Michaels, who had left Saturday Night Live years before (and would return to SNL in 1985 and remain there to this day). The show also boasted as writers Jack Handey, Alan Zweibel, Buck Henry, Al Franken, and Tom Davis among others. Regular cast members included Henry, Dave Thomas, and Valri Bromfield, as well as frequent guest stars John Candy and Catherine O'Hara (who, like Thomas, were SCTV alums). The series was very much in the style of SNL, with guest hosts, musical guests, and multiple comedic sketches. It aired Friday nights at 10pm.

However, the series never clicked with viewers. It was in a tough time slot opposite ratings powerhouses 20/20 and Falcon Crest, and the hip audience that would be attracted to its offbeat sense of humor was likely away from TVs at that time. The New Show ran for nine weeks in the winter of 1984 and earned the dubious distinction of being the lowest-rated prime time series of any of the big three networks for the entire 1983-1984 season. The series' failure was a personal one for Michaels; however, considering he practically runs NBC Entertainment these days, I think he recovered nicely.

Here are some clips from the series. Enjoy!

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