Last April, FOX aired a 25th anniversary special (which tanked in the ratings), dating the start of the company to its Sunday, April 5th, 1987 primetime launch. But the FOX Broadcasting Company (FBC), as it was known back then, actually launched in late night six months earlier on Thursday, October 9th, 1986 with the premiere of The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers. That makes today the 27th anniversary of FOX.
Broadcast on less than 100 stations, the show was scheduled to air from 11PM to 12AM, in some markets the show started at 11:30PM, meaning it competed competed with The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on NBC. The premiere episode of The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers featured Cher, Elton John, David Lee Roth and Pee-wee Herman.
That first episode drew an average 7.9/19 overnight Nielsen rating, compared to a 8.7/25 rating for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson .