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Monday, 06 November 2006

Today in History

In 1986, WOR-TV in Secaucus, NJ paid $182,000 per episode of The Cosby Show -- for the fall, 1988 season. The price was a record offering for a syndicated show. It beat the previous mark of $80,000 per show (for Cheers).


In 1967, Phil Donahue began a TV talk show in Dayton, Ohio. Later, the show moved to Chicago, was syndicated by Multimedia Productions and was highly rated for years.

In 1947 Meet the Press was first seen in the local Washington, D.C. market. Two weeks later, two stations on the network were added to the Thursday night show. The NBC public affairs program had its start back in 1945 when Martha Rountree and Lawrence Spivak created it as a radio promotion for the American Mercury Magazine.

Martha Rountree served as the original moderator until 1953; then NBC newscaster Ned Brooks took over. Regular panelist Spivak served as moderator for ten years beginning in 1965. From 1975 to 1984, Bill Monroe, also a regular panelist, took over the moderator seat. He was replaced by Marvin Kalb, then Chris Wallace in 1987 and Garrick Utley in 1988. Tim Russert has been the moderator since the end of 1991.

Although Meet the Press has changed time slots many times, including moving to Sunday afternoons in 1965, it has always maintained the same format. Simply stated, the moderator hosts a panel of reporters as they question a leading public figure. Virtually every major political figure in the United States plus many foreign dignitaries have faced the journalists’ incisive questions. On the show’s 28th anniversary, U.S. President Gerald Ford faced the panel. It was the first time an incumbent president had agreed to Meet the Press.

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