Review of "Pioneers of Television" on PBS From The TV MegaSite

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"Pioneers of Television" review by Suzanne
Tuesdays starting April 15 8-9pmET on PBS

I always enjoy this nostaglic show. It's fun to look back on the old shows, and they do a pretty good job of having some of the performers, who are still around, talking about the old shows and each other.

In this one, they feature stand-up comedians and then got their own successful sitcoms (I don't know why they left out Drew Carey and George Lopez). It focuses on Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Cosby, Rosanne Barr, Tim Allen, Ray Romano, and Bob Newhart, and it also mentions a few older ones like Jack Benny and Burns and Allen. Cosby was the only one here that didn't speak on-camera. Anyway, it's a really enjoyable episode and fun to look back at them when they were all thinner and younger, and had all their hair, and to see them now, speaking about those good old days. 

I wonder if they didn't interview Bill Cosby because of the recent allegations that he has drugged and raped women? I hope he's innocent, but I can see why he might not want to talk to them, or why they might not want to include him too much. Regardless of whatever he's done in his personal life, he's always been very funny and good on TV and in movies. I enjoyed his 60's and 70's shows as well as the later ones he had. We also had his album when I was growing up (as well as Bob Newhart's).

There are other episodes in this series as well, but this is so far the only one they've sent me to review for this year. I plan to buy the whole set, though! I'm looking forward to the other segments. I'm a sucker for anything that looks back at the old shows I loved growing up.


The fourth season of PIONEERS OF TELEVISION premieres April 15 on PBS, revealing more behind-the-scenes stories and fascinating facts about television’s best-known shows.

The star-packed premiere episode, STANDUP TO SITCOM, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET, features fresh interviews with TV icons Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr, Tim Allen, Ray Romano and Bob Newhart. The program reveals how America’s top standup comics made the transition from the comedy stage to the sitcom form.  It includes dozens of clips from “Seinfeld,” “Home Improvement,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Roseanne,” and more.

Video Clip:


– Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby, Ray Romano, Roseanne Barr and Dozens More A-List TV Stars Tell

Behind-the-Scenes Tales of America’s Most Popular Shows –


Courtesy of BT Media The Pioneers of Television


ARLINGTON, VA; MARCH 21, 2014 – Explore trailblazing moments of television history when PIONEERS OF TELEVISION returns to PBS, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, featuring standup comedians who landed sitcoms, TV doctors and nurses, standout comedic actors and those who broke the color barrier on television. Offering inside stories from some of America’s most beloved television stars, the fourth season of the Emmy-nominated series reveals intriguing behind-the-scenes stories and fascinating facts about television’s best-known and influential celebrities.


The fourth season combines new interviews with legendary stars, such as Ray Romano, Bob Newhart, Robin Williams, Jimmie Walker, Tim Allen, Roseanne Barr and Dick Van Dyke, with never-before-seen images and timeless footage that continues to entertain TV viewers decades later.  Pioneers of Televisions first-hand look at the medium is guided by the stories of television icons and their memories about the iconic genres they helped popularize.

“We are thrilled to bring another season of Pioneers of Television to PBS,” said executive producer Steve Boettcher, who, along with producing partner Mike Trinklein, has helmed numerous specials and series on television’s breakthrough performers. “From stars that had Americans howling with laughter in front of their television screens, to the ones who broke barriers and maybe even some who saved lives this season’s line-up features legends who paved the way for contemporary television.”

“The fourth season of PIONEERS OF TELEVISION continues the series’ winning formula of bringing television’s most well-known stars and their lesser-known stories to PBS,” says Donald Thoms, PBS Vice President of General Audience Programming. “The show does a masterful job of serving us the history of the medium while telling us the backstage tales of America’s favorite shows.”

This season’s four one-hour Pioneers of Television episodes include:


Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

This star-packed premiere episode features fresh interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr, Tim Allen, Ray Romano and Bob Newhart. The program reveals how America’s top standup comics made the transition from the comedy stage to the sitcom form. It includes dozens of clips from “Seinfeld,” “Home Improvement,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Roseanne” and more.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

From George Clooney on “ER” to Richard Chamberlain on “Dr. Kildare,” television’s long love affair with doctors and nurses shows no signs of letting up.  Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards, Gloria Reuben and Eriq LaSalle open up about the secrets of “ER”; Howie Mandel, Ed Begley, Jr., Norman Lloyd and Christina Pickles revisit “St. Elsewhere.” The episode features the final interview with Chad Everett of “Medical Center” before his death in 2012.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

This episode traces the story of people of color on American television — including the mid-1960s breakthroughs of African Americans Diahann Carroll (“Julia”) and Bill Cosby (“I Spy”).  Latino landmarks range from “I Love Lucy” with Desi Arnaz to “Miami Vice” with Edward James Olmos. Also featured are Asian Americans such as George Takei (“Star Trek”), who details the childhood years he spent in a Japanese-American internment camp. 


Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET

This episode peeks behind the curtain to reveal the techniques of America’s favorite comedic actors. The program features the manic improvisational style of Robin Williams and his comic predecessor, Jonathan Winters. Their style is a fascinating contrast to Tina Fey, who explains her measured, highly prepared approach. The episode also highlights the all-time #1 Emmy Award winner for comedy acting: Cloris Leachman, and the physical comedic style of Dick Van Dyke.

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