NBC to Air Paley Center Special on September 1st

NBC and The Paley Center for Media have announced that “TV’s Funniest of the Funniest: A Paley Center for Media Special” will air from 9-11PM on Sunday, September 1st. The two-hour special will count down the top 30 funniest moments in television history. My first reaction upon reading about the special was that two hours is a long time to count down just 30 moments. I then wondered how many moments would be from the 1950s or 1960s. From the Paley Center’s press release:

With sixty years of hilarious television show moments to choose from, this entertaining special focuses on the top thirty, ranked in a countdown format and leading to the #1 funniest moment in television history. Unforgettable scenes are humorously captured from television’s most popular comedies, including Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons, Friends, Will & Grace, Everybody Loves Raymond, Cheers, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, The Cosby Show, and Modern Family, as well as unforgettable classics like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, The Carol Burnett Show, and All in the Family. The lively laughfest will also include clips from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Taxi, Malcolm in the Middle, Married with Children, Spin City, The Office, In Living Color, How I Met Your Mother, Roseanne, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

There are 26 shows named, so either four additional shows weren’t included in the press release or several shows will have multiple moments in the countdown. All of the big classics are included — I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show — with the possible exception of M*A*S*H (although I may be biased). Of those 26 shows, only one is from the 1950s, two are from the 1960s and four are from the 1970s. The other 19 are from the 1980s forward. Here’s a breakdown:

1950s – 1
1960s – 2
1970s – 4
1980s – 6
1990s – 6
2000s – 7

It’s certainly not surprising that most of the shows listed are more recent fare or that all of them are well-known. That’s par for the course with this sort of special.


5 Comments

  • Of course. We all know that barely anything on TV was funny before 1980!

    The most incredible irony is that NBC is airing a Paley Center special. Bill must be rolling in his grave…with laughter!

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Another “cut and paste” special, eh? How mighty the Paley Center has fallen, if they believe the ONLY kind of “TV retrospective” viewers will watch are “junk specials” like these (it wasn’t always that way). Let me guess…it’s hosted by someone like Alison Sweeney {‘THE BIGGEST LOSER”}, or Ben Bailey {“CASH CAB”}, or…HORRORS! Ali Fedotowsky {“LX-TV FIRST LOOK”}, Cat Greenleaf {“TALK STOOP”}, OR Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb {“THE TODAY SHOW” [hour four]}? AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
    The four major networks take turns in airing yearly “Paley Center For Media” specials, Chuck- this year, it’s NBC’s turn.

  • Barry I. Grauman says:

    Betty White was the hostess. And yet, it was still ANOTHER “cut and paste” special, from Brad Lachman, who’s put these specials together for the Paley Center over the past few years. How can Pat Mitchell believe dreck like this will attract more people to the Paley Center For Media, if it doesn’t take TV history seriously, beyond clips???????

  • DuMont says:

    I watched the special and it wasn’t that bad. Yes, it was a cut and paste effort, but most of the Paley and Museum of TV specials in the past have been that too. And Miss Betty White was superb…one could almost do a retrospective special built around her own varied comedy, gameshow and dramatic contributions over the years across broadcast and cable!

    What is unfortunate is how much the Paley Centre (at least the one in New York) have cut back their hours. I have been a member for years, but now they’re only open limited days of the week and for limited hours. Their digital-delivered screening floor never seems to be more than a third occupied, and their VHS-Beta floor upstairs, whenever I’ve visited, I’m usually the only person upstairs. This is the impact of YouTube, which feeds the need for retro programming, but doesn’t have anywhere near the depth of historical programming that Paley offers.

    I do hope they have good funding established from foundations (the Paley’s?) which are the stablest form of finance for cultural institutions, because I see the broadcast networks diminishing in their ability to fund the curation and access to their own history, which is rather sad.

  • Robert says:

    Anyone interested can watch the special at NBC’s website.

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