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August 31, 2015

Seven retro network promos to leave you confused, delighted - VIDEOS

by Eliot Glazer, posted Dec 30th 2008 10:02AM
abcWhile ABC, NBC, and CBS have historically remained in a cutthroat battle for viewers, each network has shared one common trait: come the season of network promotional campaigns, all actors must be prepared to look absolutely ridiculous.

After the jump ... Remember this pop cultural gem (video below) that gained traction on the Net not too long ago? The sheer oddity of the clip alone forces us to ask ourselves several questions: do these people all live together? Why is Marla Gibbs dressed like an astronaut? Does Bea Arthur do everybody's shoppingl? CAN'T NELL CARTER JUST SIT DOWN AND REST HER FEET FOR A SECOND? (Seriously, give her a break!)

With the spirit of giving still in the air, we decided to dig up some other old relics for you. Check out these network promotional campaigns that manage to drain any remaining drop of dignity from every actor that appears on screen.

1. NBC, 1990 (in which Robert Stack lip syncs and wears funny sunglasses)

2. ABC, 1988 (in which Judith Light and the cast of thirtysomething use camcorders)

3. NBC, 1989 (in which L.A. Law's Susan Rattan uses a jackhammer)

4. FOX, 1990 (in which Johnny Depp appears on screen within minutes of Cops and Kim Wayans)

5. ABC, 1985 (in which a Randy Newman song is rewritten to include a shout-out to Webster)

6. CBS, 1990 (in which Candice Bergen was probably like, "Dance around in a neon pink pantsuit? Really?")

7. ABC, 1980 (in which Benson gets fancy)

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I loved watching these old clips. I thought they were hilarious. I especially loved seeing all my favorite actors from all those great old shows I used to watch; back when networks had something to sing about and had shows to be proud of. Boy how times have changed. Oh and by the way, I wasn't confused.

January 02 2009 at 3:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Please give Nell Carter a break; she's been dead for 5 years.


January 01 2009 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't imagine any network today using 2-3 minutes of airtime for a pretty pointless promo like these.

December 31 2008 at 2:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While cheesy by todays standards, it does show that in the past television shows were built around actors that actually had talent rather than the vapid people one sees today who can wear post-it noted as a wardrobe and kill lines because they can't deliver a punchline to save their lives. Bea Arthur, Nell Carter and Marla Gibbs can say more with a raised eyebrow than just about anyone one TV now (and I exclude The Offce and 3o Rock casts).

December 30 2008 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Was 1990 the year of the network show tune? WTF?

December 30 2008 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where this got really insane was on the local affiliate level. I was working at a CBS affil in 1990 when we localized one of those Get Ready spots. It was set in a diner with people dancing with CBS stars. While that was going on, your local news anchors would pop up inside TV monitors in the diner, encouraging people to join in the fun, boogie-ing, and getting down and funky. Later I worked at an NBC station where the news director refused to allow the anchors to participate in a similar network promo.

December 30 2008 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I so have trouble thinking of a time when this might have been cool.

December 30 2008 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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