Back when I was young one, a very long time ago, there were only a few television channels available, and they all started the new “season” at the same time, in September, just as kids lost the freedom to watch much TV because they had the homework grind. (Now, does that make ANY sense?) We looked forward to seeing the line-up of shows on offer from the three stations, especially wondering what new shows would be aired for the very first time.
On this day in 1966, one new show that premiered was Star Trek. And twenty years later, on this day in 1986, The Oprah Winfrey Show aired for the first time.
Star Trek only had so-so audience ratings during its three seasons on TV. But the people who liked it tended to REALLY like and held massive letter-writing campaigns to keep it on the air. Once it was canceled, the show built a “cult following” through re-runs, prompting more TV series, movies, books and comics, and eventually toys and conferences and parodies and costumes and of course even MORE TV series!
In other words, Star Trek became an empire!
The Oprah Winfrey Show is the highest-rated talk show in American television history, and it is one of the longest-running, as well. (Its last show aired on May 25 of this year.) It took just a few months to go from last place to first in the ratings, even though daytime tabloid talk shows had been, up to then, dominated by white men such as Phil Donahue. Winfrey is credited with revolutionizing the format of the TV talk show, and she began her own production company, started a book club, acted in movies, published five books (co-authored), began a magazine, established Oprah Radio, and created Oprah.com online.
In other words, Oprah became an empire!
Which television shows that you watch, do you think, will last a long time, or make an impact, or create an empire?