Longtime readers probably know I’m a fan of fall preview specials. A few days ago I finally finished revising my History of the Fall Preview Special article, which was originally published in March 2004 and had last been updated in May 2009. It is now much more than just a list of fall preview specials from the 1960s through the 2000s. I’ve added information about closed circuit previews fed directly to affiliates in the 1950s and expanded the section on the earliest fall preview specials from the Big Three networks that aired in the early 1960s.
The article also now makes a clearer distinction between fall previews that aired on television (either network or affiliate specials) and the promotional films the networks screened at affiliate or promotional meetings, like ABC’s “7 Nights to Remember” with Batman and Robin from the 1966-1967 season. Finally, it covers the first fall previews for FOX, UPN, The WB, The CW, and MyNetworkTV and includes a brief discussion of Saturday morning fall preview specials.
There’s only so much to be learned about fall preview specials from looking through old television listings and industry magazines like Broadcasting. Whenever possible, I cross-checked listings to confirm that a given special actually aired nationally on a network rather than locally on individual affiliates.
You can read the revised article here.