Whether you’re seventy years old or seventeen, you’ve experienced some of the evolution of television programming and how it shapes what we know and love today.
Although television sets existed prior to the 1950’s, the programming that began in the early 1950’s was responsible for shaping our primary forms of entertainment today.
Even if you’re not a sports fan, if you head to a restaurant, bar, or even a friend’s house, there’s likely to be a game on. According to Nielsen, more than 127,000 hours of sports programming were available on broadcast and cable TV in 2015. TV viewers spent more than 31 billion hours watching sports that same year.
While watching your favorite team on a television doesn’t offer the same experience as seeing the game live, it’s probably part of your routine during a sports season. The first televised sporting event aired back in 1939 and increased with frequency by the early 1950’s.
Televised sports began as radio broadcasts and turned into television shows like Gillette Cavalcade of Sports and evolved into the channels devoted to sports that many fans watch today.
Night Time Talk Shows
Before we had Colbert, Kimmel, and even David Letterman, there were shows like The Ed Sullivan Show and Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow. Much like today, these shows allowed movie and music fans to see a different side of their favorite stars.
While radio interviews and magazine articles often showcased starlets of the mid-1900’s, television made “regular” people feel like they had more in common with their favorite actors, actresses, and musicians.
Today, millions of viewers tune into their favorite channel and watch late night talk shows before heading to bed.
Game Shows and Competition
Are you drawn to every new game show that is aired on television? Are you a long time viewer of Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune? Games shows were popular on the radio, long before they were televised.
Truth or Consequences was the first game show to hit the t.v. set in 1941 and other shows like Password, Twenty-One, and The Price is Right had popular debuts in the 1950’s. Some of our favorite games even had a starring role in regular shows.
Maverick, the popular Western, which debuted in 1957, had viewers wanting to learn how to play poker after Maverick gambled his way out of every situation.
A Diverse Culture
Most anywhere you go in the U.S., there’s a rich and diverse culture. While we can’t attribute all of our diversity to early television, we can at least give it kudos for paving the way to acceptance and opening our minds.
On early television, there are many “firsts,” many of which seem weird or outdated now. Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy was the first pregnant character on television. Rob and Laura shared a bed, as a married couple, on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Andy Taylor of The Andy Griffith Show and Julia Baker of Julia showed American households that single parenting was common and could be done successfully.
The Future of Television
While there are countless other shows that have helped pave the way for the things we know and love today, it’s only a matter of time before the shows we watch now will continue to change what we know in the future.