tv The Nineties CNN July 9, 2017 6:00pm-8:00pm PDT
we're celebrating. fashion fad you wish never went away? >> high waisted jeans and shorts. do you see this? i feel like they are back. >> tim and amanda and everyone here. i'm brooke baldwin. "the nineties" starts now. don't touch that dial. we're about to flip it for you. >> tv is changed dramatically with 150 channels that might be available in the near future. >> there's a lot of things we do you couldn't have on network television. >> people are trying to do something adventurous. >> this is more celebration of culture and opening the doors and allowing america to come on inside. >> there's always something on television. and some of it may be better than we deserve. >> that was cool.
>> it's horrible. >> when the nineties began we saw a lot of experimentation. the simpsons was inspired not hatred of television but a a distrust of a lot of the ways in which television was talking to us. >> tv respects me. it laughs with me. not at me. >> i think the sitcoms of the '80s were such a warm, safe, hum humor. >> it gives them the brain damage. >> and i think there was a real yearning for another type of humor. >> we were able to spoof fatherhood -- >> what a bad father.
>> -- which at the time, and i stress at the time, was bill cosby as the shining example. >> the stuff they got away with because it's a cartoon. the father strangling the child. >> we are going to keep on trying to strengthen the american family to make american families a lot more like the waltons and less like the simpsons. >> we go to a completely bizarre period of time in 1992 when a sitting president is rage iing against a sit kol. >> they have dealt with popular culture and all kinds of issue of racism, sexism. >> millions of girls will grow
up thinking this is the right way to act. >> they have found a way to talk about everything that's going on in our lives through the filter of "the simpsons." >> they want all the benefits of living in springfield, but they don't bother to learn the language. >> those are my sentiments. >> one of the governing things happening is a distrust of anyone who tells us that we should trust them and doesn't earn that trust. >> i'll take that statue of justice too. >> sold. >> when they make fun of how fox works -- >> you are watching fox. >> we are watching fox. >> they are telling you don't trust us either. >> eat my shorts. >> all right. >> "the simpsons" is like shakespeare in the fact that we quote them all the time without
knowing it. >> i wish i could create something that culturally indelible. it's unlike anything else tv has ever run. >> twin peaks showed up out of nowhere at the beginning of the decade. the pilot e episode of that was one of the strangest and most exciting things i have ever seen. >> i have the body of the victim. >> it was incredible. just how slowly in the beginning the news spread around this little town that this young, beautiful girl had died and that haunting music was so dark and so beautiful. >> what on earth is essentially
an art film doing in prime time television. >> american network television has long bye-bye considered the home of the blands and predictable. so it was with some trepidation that it the abc network launched that was none of those things. it "twin peaks" was described that the series that will change tv. its directed by david lynch. >> david lynch was a film mak known for his taste in the accent risk and memorable. >> the idea he would do network television in the '90s was crazy. >> do you watch much of it? >> i like the idea of television, but i'm too busy too see very much of it. >> what do you think of that which you do see? >> some of it i really enjoy. >> are you being diplomatic?
>> sort of. >>. >> the beautiful thing about television is you have the chance to do a continuing story. and that's the main reason for doing it. >> i think that it "twin peaks" with the initial attention it got allowed all the other networks to say, let's do something different. >> what was interesting about "northern exposure" it was an odd sort of universe that this guy was dropped into. >> it ain't going to be long when you going to have to leave your living room. no more schools, no it more tabernacles. you're going to snuggle up to your fiberoptics and bliss out. >> you also had experimentation that set the stage for a lot of what came later. >> it's kind of hard to pin down what exactly "the x files" is.
it's a show about investigating paranormal activities. >> unidentified flying objects. i think that fits the description pretty well. tell me i'm crazy. >> you're crazy. >> that dynamic, that dramatic tension of believer versus skeptic is one of the engines of the show. you were always seeing it tr a specific is point of view. >> they are equals. they are equal this is a way they have kind of switched gender stereotypes because the character i play is the intuitive one. and scully is the rationalist, the doctor. >> a lot of folks who enjoyed "the x files" who otherwise didn't watch tv might have been drawn to the show by its, for lack of a wert better wi, stick it to the e those. don't trust the government or big business or anybody but yourself ask can your friends
and family. it's a message that's somewhat dark, but it was kind of a bresh of fresh air in the 90s. >> the internet was starting to spread beyond hard core computer users so you could have message boards and everybody wanted to talk about the black oil and the bees and bolders sister and what the cigarette smoking man was up to. and people were so nuts for this show. >> it changed the way people watched television. >> you could sense the successful creators trying to see how they could do things different five or ten years ago. sometimes that led to really challenging network television that was cool ask fun to watch. and sometimes it just seemed to fall off the edge a little bit.
>> at the time, b steven was a very successful producer of our dramas. and wanted to try something brand new. >> we have a warrant tr your arrest. >> so his idea was to combine a gritty cop show with a broadway musical. >> i saw one in which a bunch of gang bangers were in jail. they began to sing. life in the hood ain't no pizza pie, everybody die when the bullets fly. i said, wait a minute. >> i thought this is. it. this is going to be great.
this is going to be as innovative as anything i have ever done. >> it circled the drain. >> i will give credit to anybody that goes outside the box and swings really hard for the fences. >> i'm creatively proud of it. still. i'm very glad we tried it. i don't think i want to do it again. we, the people, are tired of being surprised with extra monthly fees. we want hd. and every box and dvr. all included. because we don't like surprises. yeah. like changing up the celebrity at the end to someone more handsome. and talented. really. and british.
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we cantake them to a game. help those fighting cancer. make them laugh. throw them a party. spend the day with them. be near them. and here's a good one: this summer, dine out and pay with your mastercard and... ...help support those in the fight against cancer. one precious cent at a time up to 4 million dollars. because standing up for those who stand up to cancer... ...is priceless. generation x, the 20 somethings, whatever the 46 million young souls are called are turning out to be a hard
sell. >> the '90s what we realized is advertisers would pay premiums for college educated young adults, 18 to 49. we started reinventing nbc and trying to speak to that it audience. >> where is someone? i'm starving. >> this is him right here. >> is there a table ready? >> the chinese restaurant was one of the very, very early episodes of "seinfeld." tr truly nothing happened in the episode. they were wait iing for a table. >> i feel like just walking over there and taking some food off of shb's plate. >> we said to larry david, hey, nothing has. and larry was offended. he was like wildly offended. >> nbc believed in the show so they said we're committing to four episodes. >> yeah, right, four episodes. >> normally it's 1. >> yes, at least.
>> we really didn't think they had too much confidence in the show. >> we didn't think it would work, but we thought they had to go through their process and they would learn and ultimately they knew better than we did. >> my mother caught me. >> caught you? doing what? >> you know. >> i was alone. >> the turning point for "seinfeld" tr like nice show that it all of the cool people kind of knew about but that's it to massive hit called "the contest" where they tried to abstain abstain from self pleasure for as long as possible. >> 6:30, time for your bath. >> george, i'm hungry. >> hang on, ma. >> once you do 30 minutes on
masturbation, you can pretty much get away with anything. >> i guess you'll be going back to that hospital. >> my mother, jerry. >> but are you still master of your domain? >> i am king of the county. >> the week after that aired, people were talking about that in the workplace the entire week. >> 52 seconds and two of the greatest words in sitcom history. >> i'm out. >> one of the shorthand descriptions of "seinfeld" is no hugs, no lessons. let's push it a little further than it's ever been pushed before. >> i think it the big breakthrough was that the characters were not nice people. >> someone help. >> shut up you old bag. >> they were narcissistic. they would screw each other over at the drop of a hat.
>> he's just a dentist. >> and you're an anti-den hit. >> and yet be best friends the next week. >> you don't have to love them. we just have to laugh at them. >> i'm really sorry. >> i was in the pool. i was in the pool. >> the idea of a character with darker tendencies, that was so taboo in television comedy. >> are you about done? >> i'm just getting harmed up. >> we're in the confines of network tv with commercials would still a lot of things that are very highly structured and yet we're able to find ways of pushing in the boundaries. >> no soup for you. >> it took us to a new level of comedy. and it kind of defined like, yeah, nbc, thursday night, this
show, expect the unexpected. >> can you sing the theme song from "cheers"? >> making your way in the world today. >> come on, i know. it's cute. ♪ taking a break from all your worries sure can help a lot ♪ ♪ >>en wouldn't you like to get away ♪ ♪ sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name ♪ >> we decided to end in the 11th year. over 93 million people watched the finale of "cheers." this was our baby for 11 years and yooer not going to be around these people every day. >> you people are as dear to me as my own family. >> we had been serving fake suds forever. it was time for everybody to sit. i was sipping along with them. >> time goes by so fast. people move in and out of your
life. you must never miss an opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you. >> we had been through so much together. you spend so much time with the same e set of people, it does become your family. >> we're pretty lucky to have the friends we do. >> the legacy of "cheers" are is our need to belong. and i think that's what we as americans are longing for. >> thank you, guys. >> the final scene of "cheers", what was sam's real first love? >> you can never be unfaithful to your one true love. i'm the luckiest man on earth. >> his real first love was the bar. >> sorry, we're closed. ♪
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>> in less than two years, arsenio hall has fire d a talk show into a contender for the crown of late night television. >> how come i didn't hear all of that wolfing going on? >> too many white people. >> johnny was the big dog. i knew everybody on the planet wasn't watching him. it dawned on me that i could go many week asks not see a motown group on "the tonight show." >> he's been dubbed the gem of late night. >> there was a world of talent that would never have been on any late night show. ♪ >> 2livecrew came on and sang "meso horny", it was like the
sex pistols. it was an explosion in the audience. >> he appealed to a black and white young audience and it was a a much broader appeal than the powers that been estimated. >> rap is real big among teens. that's poetry. >> having mya angelou on, where would you have seen her otherwise? >> in 1892 wrote a poem that said, seen my lady home last night, jump that honey jump that, held her hand and held her tight. >> he didn't just have black people on his show. but if you were hip, you wanted to be on arsenio. >> this was something i heard a political analyst talk about recently. he said you kind of were -- i use the word chilling out.
he said you were pulling back. you had been instructed not to see as much or be outspoken. >> i have heard that, but i never know who says it. it's wishful thinking on the part of some people. >> guess who suggested to do the arsenio hall show if you want a younger demo. hill dog. >> he attracted a lot of people who weren't fans before that night. >> '90s was a glorious moment for black television. you saw this representation that you had never seen before. the premise of "the fresh prince" was this kid who comes from philadelphia. ♪ in west philadelphia born and raised on the playground is
where i spent most of my days ♪ >> his mom says i'm going to send you to live with your uncle. he shows up in this mansion with a baseball cap. he doesn't know how to act in this environment. the black producers and directors and writers were always playing with this kind of subverting expectations of what is is blackness. >> the incredible work of "the fresh prince" was when it was showing the ways that being black is always going to be a problem no matter what. >> vehicle registration please. >> this isn't my car. >> there's the episode i remember where they get pulled over in a car. >> you watch too much tv. >> we have ab interaction with the police officer that is horrible and racist in a lot of ways.
and carlton has this epiphany about how moneyen won't save him. >> fancy bel air address isn't going save you. when you're driving in a nice car in a strange neighborhood, none of that matters. they only see one thing. >> the writers had a really hard task to approach these topics with nuance and doing it at a clip that was way ahead of their time. >> we're about to flip it for you to one of the most talked about tv shows. it is, as they say, on another network. fox. >> ladies and gentlemen. >> "in living color" was the first show created by, written by, starring an african-american, all of those things in one.
>> this is celebration of culture in, change. us opening the doors to allowing america to come inside. >> welcome to the home boy shopping network. >> a lot of what they did on "in living color" was trying to take the stereotypes or the misperceptions about what black men are and turn them upside down. >> not only will you get all the cable stations out there, but you'll be able to talk directly to the astronauts. >> it brought this smart, very controversial comedy that black folk hs never seen before that centered around their life experiences. >> who are you? >> i am the -- >> african-americans composed 25% of fox's market. >> i always get trapped in the corner. i just saw boys in the hood, all right.
i didn't know. i didn't know. >> they knew that they needed to capture this audience to grow. >> i guess you think you smart and cool. but if you think you get a job here, you're a damn fool. >> so they basically gave the creators freedom to do whatever you want. just get the audience. >> the wb and upn took that cob september tr fox. >> your shoulders are harder. >> going after this underserved audience and ran with it. >> i'm a new millennium woman who will not be defined. >> networks built them up on african-american viewers. >> the african-american chose indexed lower in terms of household income, so over the course of the decade, the network started to move away tr those shows. >> i don't know about you people, but i'll be damned if it
i'm going to let them destroy my neighborhood. >> black creators felt used and abused. you made your money. you built your audience on us and now, you know, you're done. thanks for the ride around norfolk! and i just wanted to say, geico is proud to have served the military for over 75 years! roger that. captain's waiting to give you a tour of the wisconsin now. could've parked a little bit closer... it's gonna be dark by the time i get there. geico®. proudly serving the military for over 75 years.
the following movie is rated r. >> in 1991 there was not a lot of original programming for cable, but they were airing movies. so we needed to compete and i felt that it we didn't, we were going to kind of get swept out. so i came up with a notion of doing a cop show that was r rated. when abc's broadcast standards read our script, they went beserk. >> i was saying with a pad and a pencil drawingicres of breasts to try to show them what we would show anden wouldn't show. grown ups sitting in a room dodd ling. >> we started in on the language. >> we heard it with the brains
of a flee and the balls of a moth. >> the program premiered with an advertising boycott. it was such an immediate hit the boycott lasted, oh, four weeks. . >> they could use the nudity to go deeper into the e emotional burden of being a. cop. and it had this character that is a raging alcoholic, racist, sexist, vie violent. he created then anti-tv hero. >> the african-american george washington carver discovered the e peanut. can you provide names and addresses of these friends? >> you are a a racist skcum bag. >> despite flaws and prejudices, i think people identified with his pain. >> i wish there was a way to say this that wouldn't hurt you. >> there's a famous episode where they are investigating the
rape and murder of a young boy. and they find a homeless child molester who murdered the kid and to get the confession has to be very sensitive and good cop. >> i know this has to be tearing you up inside. but you're going to feel a lot better if you just tell the truth. >> you can see how this is killing him to not e destroy this guy right now. finally, he gets the confession and signed statement and walks out of the room and goes into another interrogation and breaks the door in two with his fist. ask i'm choking up talking about it right now because that's how great a moment of tv it is. >> 20 years from now, the best tv dramas, what do they look like? >> i don't know. >> bolder than what we see today? >> assuredly they will be. >> the '90s z gave us several shows that didn't explode in the
ratings, but were influential to others. "homicide" is one of them. >> "homicide" was innovative in terms of the style. it used music in ways that advanced the narrative and also used feature film directors that brought a look and style to the show that really stood out on television. >> tears coming out of your eyes. >> they had so many african-american characters in the cast that on several occasions they were the only people on camera interacting with one another. and that sounds like, so, but as late as the '90s, that wasn't done on television. >> when a cop shoots somebody, he picked up the radio mike and calls it in. he stands by the body. if not, cops are no better than anybody else. >> in the '90s, television was getting more complicated, stories were starting to become
more episodic and characters were starting to change. none of that happened on "law and order." >> this was a show that completely delivered on its formula every time. you get a a crime, you got the investigation into the crime. >> you better be packing more than a dirty mouth. >> you got an arrest. >> i'm asking you a question. what's the charge? >> this one's on us. >> you had a trial. >> he's badgering, your honor. >> sit down and shut up. >> overruled. you will address the court from now on. >> every time you watched you got what you came for. >> tell me, doctor. all those women you ran through your examination rooms, do you remember their faces or did you not even bother to look up? >> you had in "law and order" the kind of characters people take to heart. >> one time offer. >> and it you're ab actor and say maybe it's not really such a
bad medium after all. >> the supreme court's decision, the whole thing is illegally obtained. they were both want the represented by counsel. >> it's life and death and stuff. >> we know what you did. >> counsel. >> you hear me? >> do you hear me? >> "law and order" was like crack. you'd have to sit and watch me for 50 minutes just like, not moving, barely breathing. there's times i have almost passed out watching "law and order." >> i need your help. >> "e.r." was written as a movie originally for steven spielberg to direct. we had this two-hour piece which was a reflection of michael's experiences as a medical student. >> you need a large in case they
bleed. >> "e.r." is a hospital show, but it's really an action movie. >> red is critical. >> a ger knee comes in, people are shouting instructions, climing on the body and doing cpr and racing off to the surgical suite. someone is tossing around medical jar gin. they don't stop to explain what it is. i think i know whats that but only because a i watched a lot over the years. >> you try. >> we can bipass him. >> what do you think? >> there was so much information coming at you that i think it made the experience feel as if you had to watch it in the same way you'd watch a tim. you had to stay involved the entire time. >> come on, ben. hold on, buddy. hold on. >> there was a lot of research
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of television and considered just another profit. >> late 1920s, the sense was if some of the broadcasting time took public service, television changed a great deal. you couldn't talk about public service. what are the ratings going to be? what are the dem strasks going to be? what is the profit going to be? >> in a plea bargain, amy fisher got up to 15 years in prison for shooting the wife of her alleged lover. >> so intense is the interest in it this case there are three made for tv movies now this the works about it. >> you make money off sex. you make money off death. you make money off crime. >> the press calls the case the beverly hills mansion murders. the stories reads like a script that circulates here in hollywood. >> we enter into the television
news soap. opera. >> i was scared. i just wanted him to leave me alone. >> broadcast journalism loses its purity and becomes much more shotty. and then it all comes together with o.j. simpson. >> the los angeles county district taeattorney has just fd murder charges against o.j. simpson. >> i'm going to have to interrupt this call. we're going to go to a live picture in los angeles. >> the o.j. simpson story starts with the chase and goes on to his rease and culminates with the trial that goes on ands on and on and televised day after day after day. >> this is going to be a long trial. there's a lot of evidence to come in. >> the o.j. simpson case was such a national phenomenon, that
those of us who were covering it just lived this case 24 hours a day because there was so much demand for people talking about it. >> as simpson struggled to slide the glu the gloves onto his hands and turned towards jurors and said, there's too small, the prosecutor was incensed. >> the trial was on television during hours that traditionally had been for soap operas. >> he appears to have pulled the gloves on, counsel. >> and o.j. was very much a soap opera. >> i ask you to put a stop to it. >> excuse me, mr. bailey. will you stand up and speak when it's your turn. >> no question that the best tv show of the '90s was the o.j. simpson trial and everyone on it was rifting. >> the simpson trying finally winding to a close. >> we the jury in the above
entitled action find oren it hal james simpson not guilty. >> the verdict viewed by 150 million people. it's more than watched presidential election returns. that's crazy. >> because there was trial footage every day, cnn saw its audience increase like five times, the success of cnn was not lost on other people. and so, there were competing forces coming into play. >> reached this moment when we can firmly announce the starting of a fox news channel. >> unfortunately, with cable news and the ability -- or the need to be on the air 24/7, where you try to get as many eyeballs as possible at one time, to gravitate toward those stories that are sensational, it
brought us the ability to go too far. >> is the john benbenet ramsey r investigation going too far? >> here's where the fear comes into it, i think, larry. it's the fear that says, gosh, if we don't cover it big time, our competition is. when they cover it big time, they'll get a big jump in the ratings. the first thing is to last, to survive, we've got to do it. >> what you also see is a whole army of commentators, people who make their business tuking about the news. >> i say we should bomb his capability of producing oil. take out his refineries, his stations -- >> they don't have any capability. >> they're certainly selling a lot of oil -- >> the networks were doing good journalism but they became much more preoccupied by profits. it's cheaper to have someone in your studio pontificating than to have reporters out in the field reporting. >> i don't think any of this is true. but what i heard is that the
father went down, opened his basement room, which the fbi had bypassed. >> of single sentence on cnn, perhaps, on cnbc, on fox, on msnbc, begins with the words "i think" but after a while people get confused by what is speculation, by what is innuendo, by what is fact. as far as the viewers are concerned, be very, very careful of unsubstantiated information presented.
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tv is changing dramatically now with 150 channels that might be available in the near future. >> there are moi choices than ever before. it's a tough job. you have to try and get a sense of what is the audience going to really make an attachment to it. >> in the '90s, cable was coming on strong. so, we had to examine who are we going to be? well, we wanted to be smart, sophisticated comedy. >> six months ago i was living in boston. my wife had left me, which was very painful. then she came back to me. which was excruciating. >> i thought "frasier" was dead with "cheers." but we thought, we built an audience, great potential to build out the character to
another place. ♪ >> "frasier" was kind of like one-act plays. ♪ >> mother and i moved here when i was a small boy after the tragic death of my father. i kept the pain of that loss buried deep within me like a serpent coiled within a damp cave. okay, that's it. >> we always assumed the audience was smarter than most other people did. and we played to that. >> just unschooled like liza doolittle. if she finds the right henry higgins, she'll be ready for a ball in no time. >> leave it to you. >> chelsea grammar played p pomposity and got huge laughs. >> what's taken so long? >> but i am analyzing my options unlike your wink and a broach, i like to plan a strategy, like a general leading his troops into
battle. checkmate, schwarzkopf. >> i think "frasier" stands as the single most successful spinoff, at least in the history of comedies. >> and the emmy goes to "frasier". >> "frasier". >> "frasier". >> we were lightning hot and it was critical for us to be leading the way not just following. ♪ >> "friends" is about that time in your life when your friends are your family. >> ow! >> when david crane and i lived in another, we were part of a group of six people. we were all attached at the hip. we went everywhere together and celebrated everything together. >> look! >> and there's that period where you're looking to be out there on your own and the people you
rely are on the ones who live down the hall. >> here we go. pivot. pivot. pivot! pivot! pivot! pivot! >> shut up! shut up! shut up! >> "friends" permeated the culture in a way that was really special. everyone was obsessed with the show. and it became like which one of these characters are you. if you were a girl, were you phoebe phoebe, monica or rachel? >> it really does put me in a better mood. >> the kids watching the young audience saw a lifestyle that was aspirational. i wish had an apartment in new york city that no one seems to be worried about the rent for. i rich that i looked like matt leblanc. i wish that i had jennifer aniston's hair.
one of the things that made "friends" a phenomenon is people beyond the laufz actually bonded with these characters. they were emotionally invested in ross and rachel's relationship. >> without you. >> okay. more clothes in the dryer? >> i was dropping my daughter off for somebody school at our temple and literally my rabbi stopped me and said, what's going to happen with ross and rachel? >> you look pretty tonight. >> oh, thanks. >> the one with the prom video is one of my favorites. >> you guys, we don't have to watch this. >> yeah, we do. >> come on. come on. >> where's chip? why isn't he here yet? >> he'll be here, okay? take a chill pill. >> this seemed like a really surprising way to get rachel to know how ross feels. >> i can't go to my own prom without a date.
>> take her. you can wear my tux. >> dad, she won't want to go with me. >> she's learning something new and he thinks, oh, god, please don't let her see this. don't let her see this. >> rachel, ready or not? here comes your knight and shining -- oh, no. >> bye! >> chip! >> oh, dear. >> ross sees himself and you see that look on his face and how sad he is because he wanted to take her to the prom. >> when she crossed the room, i still kind of get chills from it. when she crossed the room and gave him that kiss -- [ cheers and applause ] >> the audience wednesday insane. >> at the height of must see tv, thursday nights on nbc, 75
million americans watched thursday night. that was at the time one-third of the country. >> oh. what is this stuff? >> the sweater is angora. >> well, it's wonderful. >> the machine that was nbc in the '90s for comedy was untouchable. >> you're not from around here, are you? >> it generated so much viewership and money and awards. >> you do not need this. >> it's the top of our wedding cake. >> it's not a scrapbook. it's a freezer. >> we were all kind of part of this chapter in television where we realized we were in the right place at the right time. >> let's see how you like this, naughty boy. >> we certainly associate nbc of the '90s of having extremely successful sitcoms but they weren't the only network that found their way to having some success.
tgif was on abc on friday and it was their block of family-oriented comedies. >> i can't take it. i need the cake. it was not sophisticated television. but these were shows that people adored. [ laughing ] >> cbs. >> cbs was in a really bad spot. they had just fallen apart over the early part of the '90s and had gone through a couple different network executives. >> but then suddenly they had this hit with an unknown comic. this was the year of seinfeld, no hugging, no learning and this was a show being made as if it was produced in the era of the dick van dyke show. >> i love you. >> there was hugging. there was learning. >> i love you, son. >> all right, all right. >> if you worked for me, your job was so go home, get in a fight with your wife and come back in and tell me about it.
>> don't sleep on the couch. i just cleaned down there. >> in fact, the pilot i put in this true thing that happened to me wherein i sent my parents a gift for the holidays of the fruit of the month club. >> and did you know you sent me a box of pears from a place called fruit of the month. >> that's right. how are they? >> and my mother reacted as if i had sent her a box of heads from a murderer. >> why did you do this to me? >> oh, my gosh. >> i can't talk. there's too much fruit in the house. >> oh! what is happening? >> what do you think we are, invalids? we can't go out and get our own fruit? >> i tried to tell him. >> all right. i'm cancelling the fruit club. >> the real story is where the real connection with your audience is. thank god, all your families are crazy, too. >> looks like you got the whole family together. >> yeah, yeah, it's dysfunction
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early '90s is where a huge chunk of the ice shelf breaks off. something that's been there for hows of years is no longer there. >> a tremendous part of history. and that's lovely to have made your mark on an era like that. >> johnny told no one what he planned to do and we weren't prepared. and that set off a game of musical chairs for who would get the throne and there was only one late night throne. >> jay leno was johnny's sit-in. >> people were talking about president trump as a presidential candidate. since then he's had an affair, ftis wife, run up debt of self million dollars and i guess he's going to run as a democrat. >> jay leno wanted to stop doing
a johnny carson type of show and david letterman was the show immediately following carson. they had different type of styles. >> i'm going to ask you to turn off the camera. we wanted to drop off this fruit. >> david liked attacking authorities. >> he needed a corporate bad guy to go up against. i was oftentimes that target. >> i can hear this warren littlefield guy whining all year long about not getting his name on there last year. what about me? i can be on there, couldn't i? >> it was always letterman's dream to be the host of "the tonight show." he idolized johnny carson, rightfully so. >> the big decision that's had the entertainment industry buzzing is due this week. that is the fate of nbc late night stars jay leno and david letterman. >> most of us thought the person who deserved to get it was david letterman. he didn't get it. jay leno got it.
>> leno who rode his motorcycle into a news conference by warren littlefield, still has a bruised ego in the way the network showed support for him. >> when we found out leno was going to get "the tonight show," we were all obviously depressed. we felt like we were being punished for making fun of them and not cooperating and not being as collaborative as we could have been. and we also felt like we were being disrespected because we did 11 years of great shows. >> just how pissed off are you? >> by all rights, david letterman should have taken over for johnny carson, but his agent took a very, very aggressive stand. we're going to really control all of late night. it's going to cost you a fortune
and they put our backs to the wall. >> i can only tell you it's been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you. i hope i find what i want to do and you'll come back and be as gracious inviting me into your home as you have been. i bid you a very heartfelt good night. >> "the tonight show" without johnny carson as the regular host made its debut last night. jay leno emerged from behind the curtain, stepping into the big shoes that were filled for 30 years by johnny. >> cbs came to us and made a very attractive offer. >> number ten, head cbs tails. cbs, number nine. >> letterman placed a call to johnny carson asking for his advice and johnny said, if it were me, i would leave. and i think that advice was really the linchpin. letterman always took johnny's advice. >> the late night wars are about to begin in earnest on american
television. david letterman is now headed for cbs. >> cbs had lured him over with a salary more than four times that of leno and given him what he really wanted -- the 1 1:30 time slot now as dave and jay prepare to go head-to-head, one thing is clear, late night tv will never be quite the same. >> all of a sudden, there's a talk show war. >> start up your remote controls. the late night race is about to begin. >> on monday, david letterman's new show debuts here on cbs. followed a week later by chefvy chase on fox and a week after that by conan o'brien on abc. they join jaylen mow, arsenio and "nightline." >> it became a crowded space and the competition became that much more difficult. >> the third corner his ratings fading rapidly, arsenio hall. some tv writers think arsenio could be the big loser in this
free-for-all. >> when letterman came in, essentially difficult luted arsenio's brand because there were so many alternatives. >> i'm sad to see you go because america is going to have a big chunk missing out of its existence. >> losing arsenio, yeah, it was bad. he was the lone voice, gone. >> david letterman had the suits at nbc pausing for a moment. did we make the right choice? because he came out gang busters and he was beating jayl leno in the ratings. >> some say you blew it, by picking leno or letterman that was a big programming mistake. >> it was a shaky start. a really, really shaky first seen start. >> it's true confessions time for actor hugh grant who is trying to put his recent
encounter with a hollywood prostitute behind him. >> when hugh grant was arrested, it was big, live action news and hugh grant was supposed to do "the tonight show" that night. >> what the hell were you thinking? >> it all came together in that moment and everyone saw it and that's it. we were never number two again. >> for us it was our own experience. we have our own theater, unlimited budget, every access to stars in the business. >> somebody bring me the jaws of life! >> so, i think going to cbs was heaven-sent. it really was. >> good night, everyone! ♪
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ruin your mind. >> "ren and stimpy" had high concept and this is the splintering of the television audience and splintering of the family audience, really, because with families having three or four tvs in the house you had a kid watching nickelodeon, the dad watching espn sports, the mom watching lifetime. you know, they were in their own separate universes watching television. by the time of the '90s, mtv wasn't nearly a music channel, they were having great success in terms of creating shows that incorporated music but that were also shows and programs that stood on their own. >> yes! [ laughing before the before the that was cool. >> "beavis and butthead," people were making fun of music videos
just like people in the audie e audience. >> they got his neck. there's all these bones and stitches moving around. >> yeah. >> my manager would call me, like, hey, you got this big bump because you were on "beavis and butthead" last night. >> i sit there like a doughnut watching these guys. and i find them endlessly entertaining because i know and you know and the world knows, these guys are always, will be and cannot be anything but idiots. >> that's right. >> mtv has a detrimental, damaging, developmental affect on the sexuality, on the morality, on the spirituality, even maybe the physical development of our young people. ♪ >> now we hit the '90s and once you can go for an audience of 5 million and have a successful show, you can say, i don't care if the parents don't like this.
>> can i tell you something, miss ellen. >> of course, wendy. >> don't [ bleep ] with me! >> what? >> you heard me. stay away from my man, bitch or i'll whip you back to last year. >> trey parker and matt stone were two of the funniest people i ever met. their success story is proof that if you just stay true to yourself, you don't have to do anything else. >> people think, oh, you came and did the show and now you're big sellouts. the truth is, we were sellouts to begin with. >> perhaps there is no stopping the corporate machine. >> i mean, we were sleeping at friends' houses, had no money and one fox executive had seen a car soon we had made in college and he said, make me another christmas video i can send out as a christmas card. he gave us like 700 bucks. we went and made this five-minute short. >> i come seeking retribution. >> he's come to kill you because you're jewish, kyle. >> oh [ bleep ]. >> it went around the tv
community like wildfire. >> i mean, it -- it was the funniest thing you'd ever seen in your life. >> go get 'em! >> somebody showed me the short. >> go, jesus. >> i thought it was hysterical. >> i said, get them in here right away. >> oh, my god! they killed kenny. you bastards. >> "south park" was able to be topical. >> "south park" really, really detests hypocrites. >> republicans and nazis, oh, my. >> okay, i'll legalize 40th trimester abortions for you. >> could you imagine back then that these people would ever get on network television or any kind of television? >> it's a miracle.
"south park" is a miracle. >> the early '90s the hbo show starts to come into their own. >> and then have i always had these breasts? >> a lot of people wan freedom. they don't want to go back to the networks, which are saying you can come to u where you'll make more money because you'll also have content restricted. you could go to cable and have no restrictions. not make as much money but have freedom of expression, which almost everybody who works in these mediums wants. >> some of the content truly was you can't get this anywhere else. >> you're a fantasy maker is the only limit on the kind of fantasies is people's imaginations. >> hbo turned to people who said, i can't do that on television, but you can do it on hbo. >> white people don't trust black people. that's why they won't vote for
no black president. like a black brother will [ bleep ] up the white house. like the gas won't be cut. this is piled up cousins running through the white house, basketball going in the back. >> in the late '80s hbo was gaining ground for series. >> by the '90s hbo had started to begin its explosion. >> when we started doing "dream on" one of the things hbo said to us was, it's got to be something that couldn't be on network tv. >> because hbo was driven by subscribers and not by commercials and selling advertising time, they had a different way of looking at success or failure. what they were looking for was critical acclaim. >> you have watched letterman, you've watched leno, but what about larry? larry sanders, that is. he's the tv alter ego of
comedian gary shandling. >> gary shandling wanted to do a a show to deconstruct "the tonight show." >> pretend like you're talking to me. >> blah, blah, blah. >> the larry sanders show was kind of cathartic because there was a network. >> you want me to [ bleep ] your budget? >> it became this fun house mirror thing where you could use stuff from your misery, your career as fodder. >> don't take this as a threat but i killed a man like you in korea, hand-to-hand. my boy doesn't want to do any more commercials. >> larry sanders to me was, aside from being a brilliant television show. >> can you say, hey now. >> hey now. >> it was my everyday life. >> i'm here for three good reasons. last show. big ratings. movie coming out. bim, bam, boom. >> "the larry sanders show" was
very unique in that it was very deadpan. and really groundbreaking in its day. >> i think it made people really go, that's the level of work you do on a cable network. >> please, do not flip around. come right back. >> hey now! >> oh, you sound good. where are mom and dad? 'saved money on motorcycle insurance with geico! goin' up the country. love mom and dad' i'm takin' a nap. dude, you just woke up! ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ geico motorcycle, great rates for great rides.
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in the '90s had you shows that were aiming a a younger audience. one of the things that really made "90210" stand out is it was the first drama to get into the teenager's point of view. >> do you have protection? >> of course. it's always been my problem. lots of protection but nothing to protect. >> i wanted to do a tv series that was going to be relevant to teenagers. and it's not about the parents solving the kids' problems. it's about the kids basically solving their own problems. >> what are we supposed to do, sit him down and have a kid-to-parent talk. >> no you can't talk to parents on that mature level. tragic but true. >> if the '60s had beatle mania, the '90s had "90210" mania.
when tv guide had "youth-quake" cover, that was a sign television was focused on these. "my so-called life" was the punk rock version of "90210." it was earnest, it didn't have easy answers. it showed teen heartbreak in a way that was staggeringly real for the time. >> you like this. >> like what? >> like how you are? >> you coming or not? >> how am i? how am i? >> "my so-called life" was your actual life. and the idea that everyone in high school is a misfit, that you have this deep insecurity about who you're supposed to be. >> you know how sometimes last thing you said echos in your brain and i keep sounding
stupider? and you have to say something else just to make it stop. >> oh, i remember. i owe you $30. >> "my so-called life" was not necessarily the cheerleader or captain of the football team were watching. they were watching "90210". maybe it was the ones that didn't recognize themselves in "90210" are now watching "my so-called life". >> i just want to hang with girls. >> ricky was out on the show eventually and that was a story line treated with great sensitivity. >> and i belong nowhere. with no one. that i don't fit. >> it was so deeply felt. it was saying to the viewer, everything that you have gone through, they matter. >> "buffy the vampire slayer"
depicted high school in a similar way to "my so-called life" but rather than just feeling like hell, it actually was hell. her high school was literally built on top of hell. and so all of these creatures would come up that she would have to fight. >> three in one night. >> it was a brilliant metaphor for adolescence and all the demons you have to slay. >> buffy was a teenager and she was still finding out who she was. one of the story lines that was popular and talked about is when she had sex with her boyfriend for the first time and in the world of buffy he becomes evil. >> dream on, school girl. >> in order to save the world, literally, she knows she has to send him to hell.
>> buffy knows in an instant that angel has become good again. so she has this moment of reckoning she has to decide whether to do this or not and she makes the sacrifice to push him back into hell. >> the show was working on multiple levels. buffy in particular, we saw a character that was a reluctant protagonist, forced to make tough decisions. >> there was a kind of opening of the flood gates in the '90s for women. the idea of being an ideal, inc., was kind of smashed through a lot of characters on television. >> look f you're a successful saleswoman in this city, have you two choices. can you bang your head against a wall and try to find a releaseship or just say screw it and go out and have sex like a man.
>> "sex in the city" was a huge success from the start. it was funny, clever and very candid. >> our relationships, the religion of the '90s? >> these are women who are making a good living, they were independent, single and feeling their power. >> i said all of them. bad waiter, bad waiter. >> what do you tip? >> i wanted these women to be object fi men in the way men had always objectify women. >> my turn. >> sorry, have i to go back to work. >> you couldn't discuss sex as sex. network shows, there were never people talking about orgasms or organs or sex. >> words are -- tell me exactly how he worded it. >> we've been seeing each other for a couple weeks. i really like you. and tomorrow night after dinner, i want us to have anal sex. >> these are women who shared
everything with each other and they're discussing what anal sex means. >> it goes up there, there's going to be a shift in power. either he'll have the upper hand or you will. >> should she do this or not. >> this was a physical expression the body was designed to experience. p.s., it's fabulous. >> what are you talking about? >> it took an interesting turn by focusing on the relationship between women and focusing on them as soul mates together as well. >> you did the right thing buying that apartment. you love it, right? >> yeah. >> and you won't be alone forever. >> historically women are often set up in narratives in which only one can succeed. so, showing women not competing with each other and as supporting each other was also an important narrative change. >> okay, girls, see you tomorrow. >> okay. >> night night. >> the show had a message of liberation and freedom for women
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in 1991 we got a call from mtv and they were toying with the idea of doing some kind of a scripted show about young people. >> they said it was like a mix between "the big chill" and "the breakfast club". >> and ultimately decided a show with writers and actors would be too expensive. >> the real world, that's what this was supposed to be. >> so we essentially applied all the drama rules to documentary to get our, what we called at that time, a docusoap. >> this is the true story. >> of seven strangers. >> a social experiment to watch what happens when you put these strangers together in a house. when people stop being polite and start getting real. >> do you sell drugs? >> you hadn't seen anything like that on television, that kind of open, honest discussion of race. >> i can try as much as i can to try to deal with you, but ignorance is ignorance. stupidity is stupidity. that's it. black white, green, purple,
blue, whatever. >> "the real world" becomes this big bang moment for reality tv. all we have to do is put cameras on people and we'll get great stuff. the next season in l.a. a young woman who gets an abortion and the camera goes right up to the doctor's door. >> give me a hug. >> by the third season in san francisco, have you a young man dealing with aids. >> i'm hiv positive. >> he told me he was hiv positive, it was just like, no, not him. i like this guy and i don't want him to have to suffer. >> it was such a triumph that pedro had the courage at his age to come out with someone as aids. in my small gay community on campus, we all felt like, wow, he was our hero. >> he falls in love. and he and his partner, shawn, have a ceremony. you know, this is long before same-sex marriage was legal. the tv shows weren't doing this.
movies weren't doing this. >> i have to believe that all the pain i'm going through, that all the anger, the frustration, that there's something bigger than that. >> aids has claim aid young man who made an enormous impact on a young generation of americans. pedro zamura died in miami at the age of 22. >> i'm real glad i got to know pedro some more. i'm grad glad his work is still remembered. i hope you enjoyed and learned from pedro as life of compassion and fearlessness. >> you have to credit "the real world" with helping the acceptance of the lbgq community. >> her name is marla. i'm seeing a woman. >> in the '90s, gay characters were always secondary or third. there was never a gay character that was the lead of a show.
>> so, you want to go look at apartments tomorrow. >> sure. >> ellen degeneres, the comed n comedian, was about to come out. she does it on "time" magazine, yep, i'm gay. but she decided the character ellen plays on tv will also come out zits reprehensible that abc, now owned by disney of all companies s going to feature ellen as coming out of the closet. it won't be long before god knows what, you know, who knows. >> we were getting bomb threats. disney was really getting a lot of -- for even thinking of having a coming out episode with ellen. >> i'm 35 years old. i'm so afraid to tell people. i'm just -- susan, i'm gay.
>> ellen coming out was a huge moment for me personally because, you know, i was a closeted gay guy. gay child at that time. and it was the bravest thing i saw. >> that felt great. that felt so great. >> initial reports suggest abc made a bundle on ellen's highly publicized outing on national tv last night. it was accompanied by coming out parties all over the can country, including one in birmingham, alabama, where the local station refused to broadcast the show. >> she did a great thing. she was brave. >> i made the decision that i wasn't going to live my life as a lie anymore. i was -- i belong with everybody else. and that's what i finally did. >> we used to say ellen opened the door and we knocked it down.
♪ i love my mister ♪ tell me lazy tell me so ♪ ♪ tell me i'm crazy maybe i know ♪ ♪ can't help loving that man of mine ♪ >> and beret, beret, i'm gay! >> "will & grace" was a great show in sort of helping a mainstream straight community connect to the gay community. >> i think i can fix this thing with your landlord, but i -- >> play hardball, baby. throw low and inside. he's crowding the plate and we've got to -- >> grace, sports, you're losing me. >> i figured 25% of the country wouldn't watch the show just based on the fact that we had two gay men on it. >> give it to me! >> but if we could make-believe that will and grace would get together. >> will, i tell you, you liv with a hetero long enough, you're going to catch it.
>> maybe we could get people to watch thinking that would happen, knowing it would never happen. >> you know, it's a shame. an image like this is completely wasted on us. >> i remember the network calling every other week saying, can will just fall can will just fall in love with grace? >> gay people don't do that. that's why they're gay. >> why wasn't i your girlfriend, year bait? >> it was the first time you saw characters on television that made gay normal. you wanted to be friends with them. >> guess what we are. >> a catholic girl gone bad, and, karen, what are you supposed to be? >> the best feeling i get is when people come up and say, thank you for all you do for the gay community, and thank you for
playing a part in that show. and you feel so fortunate to have been a part of something so great. >> this cnn original series, "the nineties" is brought to you by ace, the helpful place. tech: when you schedule with safelite autoglass, you get time for more life. this family wanted to keep the game going. son: hey mom, one more game? tech: with safelite, you get a text when we're on our way. you can see exactly when we'll arrive.
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what was happening at the end of the nineties was audiences started to look towards television for what they had only found before in feature film. >> victory is mine. victory is mine. great day of the morning, people. victory is mine. >> and actors no longer felt that it was a comedown to come work in television. >> what did i ever do to you except deliver the south? >> you shouldn't have made me beg. >> the segment of the audience that watched "west wing" they watched the macneil lehrer newshour, they watched west wing and documentaries in foreign languages, right? >> if the name of this nominee is leaked out before i want it to be leaked out, i'm going to blame you and you're going to find that unpleasant. >> i have to tell you something, toby, you're hot when you're like this. >> it's the first wave of what we now have, remarkably specific
niche programming. >> "freaks and geeks" really sympathized with the losers and had great empathy for its characters. ♪ because you don't see that i got something going right here ♪ >> "freaks and geeks" breaks my heart every time i think about it. >> i'm sorry. did i crush your twinkies? >> it lasted 18 episodes. and they're perfect 18 episodes but nbc hated it so much. >> roll down the windows because i got a big one abreuing. >> they thought it was a show by losers, about losers for losers. they hated it. they wanted no part of it. they killed it. >> at the end of the nineties, the jig is starting to be up for the networks. basically quality migrates to
cable. >> "oz" comes on in '97. it's set in this penitentiary. wow, what a strange show that was. >> in "oz" sometimes the thing you can't up the are more than the thing us can. hatred, loneliness are more real to me than a shank and a soul. >> it was jaw dropingly violent. it was a men's prison. it probably should be. but you know, it kind of announces the idea that hbo is going to get serious about doing scripted dramas. >> it's finished. it's over. >> but hbo really in my mind comes to its own in 1999 with "the sopranos." ♪ ♪ woke up this morning ♪ got yourself a gun >> "sopranos" was one of the
show that was like a benchmark. it changed a lot of things for everybody. >> throw out the handbook. tony soprano, the lead actor in a drama, he killed a man. we watched him. he took his daughter on a college tour. >> pretty, huh? >> yeah. >> it was just a melding of a guy and a world -- >> [ bleep ] you doing? >> and a behavior that promoted all the feelings that you would have for a guy that you love in a guy that you hate. you know? >> "sopranos" came on tv and it really showed us the future whether we realized that was going to be the future of television or not. >> this husband of yours, carmella, how much we love him. he's the best. >> like a father to me. >> just make sure nothing
happens to him. >> that character in that show was a great inspiration to a great many shows that came after it including one that i worked on. >> you know what i want, tony? i want those kids to have a father. >> they got one, this one, me. tony soprano. and all that comes with it. >> oh, you prick. >> some of my favorite shows of all time aired in that decade and everybody was watching them. there was still that communal sense from the earlier decades of tv but it was being applied to shows that were reaching higher and farther, and they were great. >> because there was so many channels and because so much storytelling was going on, you started to get more variety of stories being told. >> get the skull film, schedule a c.a.t. scan and schedule the resident. >> objection! >> it showed us women in their depth and began to show us much more of a range of the african-american community. >> i'm always here for you. >> started focusing on teenagers
in a more realistic way. >> things changed us. >> what are you talking about? >> and more outside the box in terms of what people might want to watch. >> you're out of order, he's out of order. this whole trial is sexy. >> after ten years of the nineties the, we had a whole new television world that could take us anyplace we wanted and even places we had never imagined. >> was that the oven timer? >> that's right, my friend. it's time for "baywatch"! >> can you believe they gave stephanie skin cancer? >> i still can't believe they promoted her to lieutenant. >> you're just saying that because you're in love with yasmine bleeth. >> how could anyone not be in love with yasmine bleeth? >> they're running. see? this is the brilliance of the show. i say always keep them running.
all the time running, run. run. run, yasmine, run like the wind. it seems that television has become a kind of electronic confessional. >> it's exciting newsy stuff. >> why did we start this business? >> any tool for human expression will bring out both the best and the worst in us and television has been there. >> here's michael at the foul line. a shot. >> they don't pay me enough to dole with animals like this. >> why don't you just get off my back, okay? >> people are no longer embarrassed to admit they watch television. >> people used to say, i was there. now people say they watch it on television.