In Pioneers of Television more than 100 stars bring their stories to life, telling backstage tales of America’s favorite shows. Each episode melds compelling new interviews with iconic clips and never-before-seen photos to offer an insider’s look at television’s biggest celebrities. Ryan Seacrest narrates the program.
Betty White on Performing Live
Tuesday, January 15 at 8:00 p.m. Funny Ladies
This episode features the first standup comediennes to appear on television — legends such as Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers. It also looks at Lucille Ball’s breakthrough on “I Love Lucy” and the sitcom stars who followed, including Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White and Marla Gibbs. The episode covers television’s most enduring variety star, Carol Burnett, and features interviews with contemporary actresses including Tina Fey and Margaret Cho.
Tuesday, January 22 at 8:00 p.m. Primetime Soaps
“Dallas” and “Dynasty” kicked off the nighttime soap frenzy in the late 1970s and spun off the long-lasting series “Knots Landing.” Sometimes forgotten is the genre’s antecedent: 1964’s “Peyton Place,” which starred Mia Farrow and Ryan O’Neal. Interviewees in this episode include Larry Hagman, Joan Collins, Linda Evans, Diahann Carroll, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Michele Lee, Joan Van Ark and Donna Mills.
Tuesday, January 29 at 8:00 p.m. Superheroes
“Superheroes” crosses many eras: “Superman” in the 1950s, “Batman” in the ’60s, “Wonder Woman” and “The Incredible Hulk” in the ’70s and “The Greatest American Hero” in the ’80s. The episode features in-depth interviews with Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar, Lynda Carter, Lou Ferrigno, William Katt and others. It also includes comments from Robert Culp, about his show “The Greatest American Hero,” recorded just days before he passed away.
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