tv The Eighties CNN July 15, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT
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 deal with an nal 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.
>> as we began the '80s in the television world, the landscape was on any given evening, nine out of ten people watching only one of three networks. >> more than 30 million people are addicted to it. social critics are mystified by its success. what is it? it's television's primetime prairie pot boiler "dallas." >> a move like that will destroy all of ewing oil and ruin our family name. >> i assure you, a thought like that never crossed my mind. >> brother or no brother, whatever it takes, i'll stop you from destroying ewing oil. >> "dallas" established new ground in terms of a weekly hour-long show. that literally captivated america for 13 years. >> "dallas" is a television show which is rooted in the 1970s and one of the crazy things that emerges is this character j.r. ewing as a pop phenomenon. >> tell me, j.r., which slut are you going to stay with tonight. >> what difference does it make? whatever it is, it's got to be more interesting than the slut i'm looking at right now.
>> he was such a delicious villain, everyone was completely enamored by this character. >> at this point, so many people were watching television that you could do something so unexpected that it would become news overnight. >> who's there? [ gunshots ] >> the national obsession in 1980 around who shot j.r. it's hard to imagine how obsessed we all were with that question. but we were. >> who shot j.r. is about as ideal a cliffhanger as you possibly could get. >> who did shoot j.r.? we may never get the answer to that question. the people who produce that's program are going to keep us in suspense as long as they possibly can. >> we shot j.r. and then we broke for the summer. then the actors went on strike. it delayed the resolution, and it just started to percolate through the world.
>> i remember going on vacation to england that summer and that's all that people were talking about there. >> we know you don't die. you couldn't die. >> we don't know that. >> how could you die? you couldn't come back next season. >> i couldn't come back but the show could still go on. >> but you wouldn't. what is that show without j.r.? >> that's what i figure. >> i guess if you don't know by now who shot j.r., you probably do not care. last night some 82 million americans did. and they watched the much-touted "dallas" episode. it could become the most watched television show ever. >> who shot j.r. is a reflection of old-fashioned television. it gathers everybody around the electric fireplace which is now the television set. >> one special american television program. critics said it transcends in popularity every other american statement about war.
something hand today to surgical army hospital 4077. that will touch millions of americans. it was the kind of event that would grab the world's breath. the end of the korean war. the television version "m.a.s.h." >> it's been an honor and a privilege to have worked with you. i'm very, very proud to have known you. >> there were those landmark times when shows that had been watched through the '70s and into the '80s, like "m.a.s.h." had its final episode. and we were all sad to see them go. >> i'll miss you. >> i'll miss you. a lot. >> all over the country, armies of fans crowded around television sets to watch the final episode and to bid "m.a.s.h." farewell. >> the finale of "m.a.s.h." was unprecedented. 123 million people watched one television program at the same time. >> i really should be allowed to go home. there's nothing wrong with me.
>> when we ended the show, we got telegrams of congratulations from henry kissinger and ronald reagan. the size of the response and the emotional nature of the response that we were getting was difficult for us to understand. >> who shot j.r. and the last episode of "m.a.s.h." are the last call for the pre-cable world of television. it's like they are the last time that that huge audience will all turn up for one event. >> tv is growing up with cable. tv is growing up with content. tv is growing up with different genres. >> the fundamental thing that cable did or the vcr did or the remote control did, is it gave consumers more choice. and everything was about to change.
thomas magnum. >> gary hammond? >> private investigator. >> you're probably wondering about the goat. let me drop off my friend and we'll talk. >> when we entered the '80s, a lot of one-hour dramas that were lighthearted, like "magnum p.i.," were very popular. after "m.a.s.h." went off the air, the next season, there wasn't a single sitcom in the top ten. first time that had ever happened in tv history. the prevailing feeling was that the sitcom was dead. >> brandon tartikoff, nbc programming chief, says reports of the sitcom's death were greatly exaggerated. >> time and time again, if you study television history, just when someone is counting a forum out, that's exactly the form of programming that's leads to the next big hit. ♪ >> 1984 "the cosby show" comes
on. bill cosby is not new to tv but he's had other tv shows. but "the cosby show" is different. stands apart from everything else he's done. >> i wanted my scrambled. >> coming up. >> they talked about parenting. before that, the kids were cool and the parents were idiots. "cosby" says the parents are in charge and that was something new. >> instead of acting disappointed because i'm not like you, maybe you can just accept who i am and love me anyway because i'm your son. >> that's the dumbest thing i've ever heard in my life! >> it helps the casting a lot in television. the kids were just great. >> if you were the last person on this earth, i still wouldn't tell you. >> you don't have to tell me what you did. just tell me what's they're going to do to you. >> unlike every other show on
tv, it's showing an upper middle class black family. this wasn't "all in the family." they weren't tackling deep issues but that was okay. the mere fact they existed was a deep issue. >> the decade was waiting for something real. in other words, unless it's real, it doesn't seem like it moves anybody. if someone is feeling something, you get to the heart and the mind. if you can hit the hearts and minds, you've got yourself a hit. >> how was school? >> school? dear, i brought home two children that may or may not be ours. >> "the cosby show" brought this tremendous audience to nbc. and that was a bridge to us. our ratings went way up. ♪ sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name ♪ >> even the theme song to "cheers" puts you in a good mood. >> evening, everybody. >> norm. >> norman.
>> what's shaking, norm? >> by the end of the "cheers" pilot, not only did you know who everybody was, but you wanted to come back and see what was going to happen. it's like all you have to do is watch it once. you're going to love these people. these are universal characters, and the humor worked on so many levels. >> i was up until 2:00 in the morning finishing off kierkegaard. >> i hope he thanked you for it. >> you have to create a community that people are identifying with. and "cheers" gives you that community. >> i've always wanted to skydive. i've just never had the guts. >> what's did it feel like? >> i imagine it's a lot like sex. >> i have to imagine what sex is like. but i have plenty of sex. and plenty of this, too. why don't you just get off my back, okay? >> in the first episode, there was a rather passionate annoyance. something is going on here. a really intelligent woman would
see your line of b.s. a mile away. >> i never met an intelligent woman that i would want to date. >> on behalf of the intelligent women around the world, may i just say, phew. >> you saw what ted and shelly had together. we said, oh, no. we've got to do this relationship. >> ted and i understood what they were writing right away. >> if you'll admit that you are carrying a little torch for me, i'll admit that i'm carrying a little one for you. >> oh, i am carrying a little torch for you. >> well, i'm not carrying one for you. >> diane knew how to tease sam. sam knew how to tease diane, and i guess we know how to tease the audience. >> incredible chemistry between the two of them ignited the show. that's what's drove the show for the first five years. >> what's the matter?
>> i'm devastated. i need something brutal to blast me into sweet oblivion. >> how about a boilermaker? >> make it a mimosa. >> we had the luck to be able to rotate cast and every time we put somebody in, they were explosions. >> there was something very special about that setting, those characters that i never got tired of writing that show. >> sophisticated surveys, telephonic samplings, test audiences. all of those help to separate winners from losers and make midcourse corrections. you can't cut all comedies from the same cookie cutters. all you can hope is every night turns out like thursday. >> yo, angela! >> next. >> how rude. >> quick, i'll give him that. >> all television and, oh, maybe
sitcoms are alive again. and that's all that it took. it took one success. >> a few years from now, something new may tempt the people that pick what we see. it's save whatever gets hot for a season or two, the men and women who create good television comedy will be laughing all the way to the bank. it's a good thing we brought the tablets huh?
yeah, and i can watch the game with directv now. oh, sorry, most broadcast and sports channels aren't included. and you can only stream on two devices at once. this is fun, we're having fun. yeah, we are. no, you're not jimmy. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. xfinity gives you more to stream to more screens. ♪
all right. that's it. let's roll. >> hey, let's be careful out there. >> dispatch, we have a 911. armed robbery in progress. >> when quality does emerge on television, the phrase" too good for tv" is often heard. one recent network offering that's seems to deserve that phrase is "hill street blues." >> "hill street" is one of the changing points of the entire industry in the history of tv. >> we had all watched a documentary about cops and had this real hand-held in-the-moment quality that we were very enamored of. >> the minute you looked at it, it looked different. it had a mood to it. you could almost smell the stale coffee. >> we didn't want to do a standard cop show where, you
know, you have a crime and you have your two cops and you go out and catch the bad guy and you sweat him and he confesses, and that's it. cops have personal lives that impact their behavior in profound ways. >> is he here or elsewhere? >> don't get excited. we're working on it. >> how is this for logic? if he's not here, and if he's not elsewhere, he's lost. >> we didn't say that. >> you lost -- >> never in my entire life have i listened to so much incompetence covered up by so much unmitigated crap. find my client, or, i swear, i'll have you up on charges. >> there would be these ongoing arcs for these characters that's would play out over five, six episodes, sometimes an entire season. and in a way for certain stories, over the entire series. and no one had really done that in an hour-long dramatic show. >> these past four months, i've missed you. i had to find that out. come on.
>> in the past, people had watched television passively. and the one thing i think we did set out to be were provocateurs. >> you have an action report? >> you fill it out. >> what the hell is the matter with you, man? >> they don't pay me enough to deal with animals like thus. all they see is a white face and all they -- >> listen to me. it was a white man that pulled the trigger, not a black one. >> it set a trend. the idea that the audience can accept characters being deeply flawed even though they are caring this uniform. i thought that was important to finally get across. >> no biting. >> we wanted to make a show that made you participate. made you pay attention. and i think that worked pretty well. >> and the winner is -- >> "hill street blues." >> 21 nominations. and we went on to win eight emmys. it put us on the map, literally.
that's when people finally checked us out. >> programming chief of one of the networks used to say to me about shows like "hill street" and "st. elsewhere" what's the american people wants is a cheeseburger. what you are trying to give them is a french delicacy. and he said your job is to keep shoving it down their throat until after a while, they'll say, that doesn't taste bad. and maybe they'll even order it themselves when they go to the restaurant. >> nice for you to join us. >> the success of "hill street blues" influenced everything that's came after. and then you saw shows like "st. elsewhere." >> you know what people call this? st. elsewhere. a place you wouldn't want to send your mother-in-law. >> when it first came on, it was promoted as "hill street" in a hospital. >> you gave your patients the wrong antibiotics. you write the worst progress notes. you're pathetic. >> bill? >> what? >> dr. morning needs you right
away. >> i'm sorry. >> "st. elsewhere" broke every rule there was and then built some new rules. >> the blood bank called a little while ago. they ran a routine panel. t-cell count was off. >> they would have tragic things happen to these characters. there was real heartache in these people's lives and you really felt for them. >> i've got aids? >> television at its best is a mirror of society in the moment. >> "st. elsewhere" challenged people and challenged you as an actor, much less the audience. to think the stuff they gave you was extreme in what they did, whether they were dealing with aids or having one of their main doctor characters raped in a prison. >> they tackled lots of difficult subjects. >> "st. elsewhere" was run by people trying to stretch the medium. and in the '80s, television producers were encouraged to stretch the medium. >> clear.
as the ' 80s got serious, they were getting more adventurous with the types of shows that were getting a shot. >> what are you doing? >> what i should have done last night. stop that, david. i'm calling the police, david. hello, police? >> the networks realized there was an audience looking for something less predictable than traditional primetime fare. "moonlighting" was one of the shows that was, i see the formulas up to here. let's put together two different things. >> hello? >> hello. we're looking a little pale, aren't we? who have we here? >> i don't know. >> they had a shakespeare episode. >> "moonlighting" was a really experimental show. they had a shakespeare episode, a black and white episode and a
musical episode. they tried a lot of stuff. >> i don't give a flying fig about the lines on my face or the altitude of my caboose. >> well, i'm at a loss. >> i don't know what i flying feet is. >> that's okay. they do. >> there is no trouble on the set. >> we have a very volatile relationship. there is a hate/love element to it. >> the flirtations were great and bruce was great. glenn karen kept them apart for a long time and bravo to him. >> and they took the sam and diane dynamic from "cheers" and escalated it. "cheers" was will they or won't they? "moonlighting" was, do they even want to? >> stay away from me. >> here i come. >> but i don't want you. i never wanted you. >> yeah, right. >> does entertaining mean at some point stopping the tease of dave and mattie? do they get together at some point? >> that is going to be resolved this year. we like to think of it as two and a half years of foreplay.
there's a lot of people that used to say i was there. now, people say they watch it on television. >> just a lot of excitement connected to sports in the '80s. you used to have to depend on the five minutes at the end of your local newscast. there hasn't been enough. give us a whole network of sports. >> there's just one place you need to go for all the names and games making sports news. espn "sportscenter." >> what happened in the 1980s is sports becomes a tv show. and what are tv shows built around? characters. >> you can't be serious, man. you cannot be serious! you got the absolute -- >> mcenroe, the perfect villain. the new yorker that people loved to hate.
borg, the cool swede never giving any emotion away. >> what tennis really wants is to get its two best players playing over and over again in the final. whether they are john mcenroe and bjorn borg or chris everet and martina navratilova. that's what we want to turn in over and over. >> three match points to martina navratilova. >> this man has a smile that lights up a television screen from here to bangor, maine. >> and that there is magic johnson, this urban kid from michigan and larry bird, this guy who worked carrying trash. one plays for the los angeles lakers. the other plays for the boston celtics. it's a great story. >> lakers had several chances. here's larry bird. >> magic johnson leads the attack. >> look at that pass. oh, what's a show! oh, what a show! >> when the championship games are in primetime and people are paying attention to that, television feeds into those
rivalries and makes them bigger than they've ever been before. >> primitive skill. they're just as good as dead. >> every mike tyson fight was an event. every fight was like an ax murder. when he fought michael spinks. the electricity, you could just feel it on tv. tyson was made for tv because there was drama. >> it's all over. mike tyson has won it. >> not a lot of junior high school kids can dunk. especially at -- >> everybody tries. >> i think that he is starting to transcend his sport that he's becoming a public figure. >> michael jordan becomes the model every other athlete wants to shoot for. they want to be a brand. and that's what television does for these athletes. turns them into worldwide iconic brands. >> the inbounds pass comes in to jordan. michael at the foul line. good! the bulls win.
>> athletes in the '80s became part of an ongoing group of people we cared about. we had an enormous pent-up demand for sports and the '80s began to provide. thank goodness. >> cable television is continuing to grow. it's estimate tuesday will grow into 1 million more u.s. households this year. >> with cable television suddenly offering an array of different channel choices, the audience bifurcated. that's an earthquake. >> i want my mtv! >> i want my mtv! >> i want my mtv! ♪ >> a new concept is born. the best of tv combined with the best of radio. this is it. welcome to mtv music television. the world's first 24-hour stereo video music channel. >> music television, what a concept. mtv was, pow, in your face. you were not going to turn us off. >> mtv did nothing but play
current music videos all day long. so let me get this straight. you turn on the tv, and it's like the radio? >> i'm martha quinn. music will continue nonstop on mtv music television's newest component of your stereo system. >> when mtv launched a generation was launched. 18 to 24-year-olds were saying, i want my mtv. i want my mtv videos. i want my mtv fashion. >> yo. >> mtv was the first network really focused on the youth market. and becomes hugely influential because they understand each other. the audience and the network. >> mtv had a giant impact. visually and musically on every part of the tv culture that came next. >> freeze, miami vice. ♪ >> friday nights on nbc are different this season thanks to "miami vice." it's a show with an old theme but a lot of new twists. described by one critic as containing flashes of brilliance, shot entirely on
location in south miami, the story centers around two undercover vice cops. >> i don't know how this is going to work, tubbs. i mean, not exactly up my alley style and persona-wise. heaven knows i'm no box of candy. >> television very much was the small screen. it was interesting about tony's pilot screen play for "miami vice." it was not that. very much the approach was, okay, they call this a television series. but we're going to make one-hour movies every single week. >> here we go. stand by. >> action. >> police. >> just describing the show as a new wave cop show. >> it's a cop show for the '80s. we use a lot of mtv images and rock music to help describe the mood and feeling of our show. >> in a lot of ways you don't get "miami vice" without mtv because in a lot of ways "miami vice" was a long video. the music was such a big part of that show. >> there was an allure to using great music that everybody was
listening to as opposed to the routine kind of tv scoring of that period. ♪ i can feel it coming in the air tonight ♪ >> it was only not afraid to let long scenes play out. it would drag -- a car going from point "a" to point "b" could be a four-minute phil collins song. and it was. ♪ >> being able to take a television series like "miami vice" and let's rock 'n' roll with this until somebody says stop or are you guys crazy? you can't do that. and nobody ever did. >> freeze! police. that's a good thing, but it doesn't cover everything. only about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. so consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan,
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in recent years, it seems that television has become a kind of electronic confessional, where guests are willing to expose painful and sometimes embarrassing aspects of their lives quite readily to audiences. >> at the beginning of the decade, we get the dominance of phil donahue, and that is a maturation of women's issues and he seemed to talk to them in the audience and through the tv screen. >> i'm glad you called. kiss the kids. we'll be back in just a moment. >> if you look at the body of work we've had, you're going to see the '80s there. >> i'm not here to say you're wrong, but let's understand this. when you bring a moral judgment without knowing them, against them for the way that they look, they feel that confirms the reason for their rebellion, if that is what you want to call it. >> he really believed that
daytime television needed to talk about the ideas we were thinking about, the issues we were concerned about. >> i don't want to characterize his question, but why don't you get this fixed instead of doing this screwy stuff? >> there is not a single recorded case in history of any transsexual that ever, through psychological treatment, changed. it has never happened yet. >> and we were putting very important people on the program. all kinds of people. gay people. people going to jail. people running for office. sometimes the same people. it was a magic carpet ride. >> you really do paint a very, very grim picture of the sitting president of the united states. >> let me just say this, i think he's probably the laziest president i've ever seen. >> the audience, for phil donahue, built and built and built and led the way to oprah.
[ cheers and applause ] >> hello, everybody. hello. >> oprah has a particularly magical combination of her own background, her own experience, her own incisive mind, and empathetic spirit. >> thank you. i'm oprah winfrey, and welcome to the very first national "oprah winfrey show." >> i was surprised at the rocket pace that oprah took off. because it took us a lot longer. the donahue show rearranged the furniture, but the oprah show remodeled the whole house. >> people out there who are watching who don't understand when you say we're in love. i remember questioning my gay friend, you mean you feel about him the way i feel about -- it is a strange concept for a lot of people to accept. >> oprah was connecting with people in a way that no one had on tv before.
and it was really special to see. >> did you know that for the longest time i wanted to be a fourth grade teacher because of you. >> i was not aware of inspiring anyone. >> i think you did exactly what teachers are supposed to do, they create a spark for learning. it is the reason i have a talk show today. >> oprah winfrey now dominates the talk show circuit, both in the ratings and popularity. >> i want to use my life as a source of lifting people up. that is what i want to do. that is what i do every day on my show. we get accused of being tabloid television and sensational and so forth, but what we do more than anything else is we serve as a voice to a lot of people that felt perhaps up until my show or perhaps others, that they were alone. >> this is what 67 pounds of fat looks like. i can't lift it. it is amazing that i can't lift it but i used to carry it around every day. >> there is nothing more endearing to an audience than to have that kind of honesty and
humility and courage on the part of a host. and that, i think, has a lot to do with her power. >> it feels like i could do some good here, and i really do think that show does a lot of good. >> american television is drowning in talk shows, but it has never seen anything like morton downey jr. >> sit down and shut up. >> other competitors come and take the television talk show in two different directions. so you see the phenomenon of daytime television shows becoming less tame and more wild. >> the '80s brought a lot of belligerence to television. whether it was morton downey jr. being the offensive person that he was or geraldo. he did his own outlandish things. >> stay with us, we're going to get into the mind of an american boy who came under the influence of satanism. took part in a crime without
passion or motive. >> he takes the power of the talk show to a whole different level to put people on stage who hate each other and who will fight. >> in the case of the temple and the church of satan, we have not had problems with criminal behavior. >> but when you hear story after story of people committing these wretched and violent crimes in the devil's name. >> the more tension there is, the more conflict and violence there is, the more the ratings go up, and the american people love to complain about it, but they also love to watch. >> rivera drew sharp criticism with his recent television special on devil worship, but today he's in a real free-for-all. >> i get sick and tired of seeing an uncle tom here trying to be a -- >> go ahead. >> sit down. >> hey, hold it. hold it. >> rivera suffered a broken nose
but said the show will be broadcast later this month in its entirety. >> well, that is not something i would have done, but there was a lot of hypocrisy. one of the major magazines put the picture of geraldo getting hit with the chair on the front of the cover. and they said this is awful, look at what happened to television and yet they couldn't wait to use it to sell their own magazine. >> over the years, broadcasting has deteriorated and in this area of deregulation, it is deteriorating further. >> give people light, and they will find their own way. relax, america will survive the talk shows.
1968, the summer before junior high school. and i don't mind saying i was a pretty fair little athlete. >> "the wonder years" was a child story. but "the wonder years" did it with the wit and the music. it was a brilliantly written show and a great performance by that cast. >> hey, steve -- looks like his baby brother and
girlfriend have found each other. >> she's not my girlfriend. >> kevin arnold has to cope with all the timeless problems of growing up during one of the most turbulent times that we've known. >> kevin arnold is just like a regular kid except in the 1960s, and he's not really aware of many of the events. like in one of the episodes, the whole family is watching the apollo 8 take off, but i'm sitting there trying to call a girl. >> the first episode of "the wonder years," anybody who saw it remembers the ending where the first kiss with winnie and kevin arnold. the song they play is "when a man loves a woman." that moment seems to pure and so real. ♪ when a man loves a woman can't keep his mind on nothing else ♪ >> it is about rebellion and being students. by the 1980s, it is time to grow up. and so they shave their beards and put on power suits, a whole
new notion. >> oh, the yuppies. last year the politicians were talking about winning their votes, and now the rest of the baby boom generation are being wooed by advertisers and their agencies. >> by the '80s, it was pretty clear that after the generation of the '60s, was going to be embodied by alex keaton on "family ties" were more interested in the corner office than the new jerusalem. >> you are a young man. you shouldn't be worried about success. you should be thinking about hopping on a steamer and going around the world. >> the '60s are over, dad. >> thanks for the tip. >> you weren't laughing at michael j. fox's character for being too conservative. you were laughing at the parents for being too hopelessly liberal. >> what is this? i found it in the shower. >> that is generic brand shampoo. >> this is him. this is the guy i've been telling you about. this is everything you want in
a president. >> the genius of "family ties," it allows a youth to recognize that is focused on the future and the critique of the '60s. >> michael j. fox as alex keaton really became the center of the show. and writers were smart enough to see that they had something special, and they wrote to that. >> it's not fair, alex. >> yeah, there is nothing you can do about it, jen. my advice to you is that you just enjoy being a child for as long as you can. i know, i did. it was the best two weeks of my life. >> alex is a little bill buckley. the "wall street journal" is his bible. he has a tie to go with his pajamas. he is very conservative and very intense 17-year-old. >> the first thing the teacher will ask is what you did over the summer. a lot of kids will say i went to the zoo or i went to the beach or to a baseball game. what are you going to say? >> i watched the iran/contra hearings.
>> if mom and dad thought this generation was going to the dogs, think again. this is the generation that has discovered hard work and success. >> american culture is changing in the '80s. and in terms of television, there is demographic segmentation. >> networks were beginning to not be afraid to appeal to a very specific demographic. >> hey, handsome. look at that shirt. is that a power shirt or what? >> nice shirt, alan. good shoulder pads. you looking to get drafted by the eagles? >> "30 something" said we're not going to have cops, lawyers or doctors. we're just going to be people. >> why did we start this business? >> to do our thing. but right now we have two wives, three kids, four cars, two mortgages a payroll. that is the life now. you be the breadwinner now. >> is that what i am? >> "30 something" is a very
important show as you are going into the era of television being more introspective and emotional. and some people weren't buying it. but for other people when they were talking about having kids and going back to work and some of the issues that hadn't been talked about a whole lot, it was important to people. >> i was so looking forward -- i was so looking forward to doing this. to be a grown-up for just an hour. >> in the beginning, there was talk of this being the yuppie show. and you mentioned it tonight. you said if there were a category for the most annoying show, this might win as well. >> what some people perceive as annoying has nothing to do with yuppie. it is a word that is made up by demographers and advertisers. it doesn't have anything to do with what the show. >> "30 something" was not a giant hit, but it was a niche hit. it attracted an enormously upscale group of advertisers. >> the network cared who was watching and not how many were watching, and that was more and
more catching on in the '80s. >> the prosecution will ask you to look to the law, and this you must do, but i ask you to look to your hearts as well. thank you. >> "l.a. law" was partly a classic lawyer show. but it was intertwined with their personal lives and different lawyers who were sleeping together and trying to get ahead. >> the reality level on that show was like a foot or two off the ground. and you're willing to go with that because it was a whole new spin on a law show. >> tell the truth. if you had to do it all over again and she walked into your office and said take my case, would you? of course, you would. because it is juicy, newsy, exciting stuff. >> it is really fun to take the "hill street blues" format and use it to frame an entirely different social and cultural strata with vastly different results.
>> i wonder if i might engage with my client privately. >> certainly. >> will you join me for dinner tonight? >> i was planning on having you. >> okay, skip lunch. >> the formula had gotten established of how you can do a dramatic show, and yet still have an awful lot of fun. >> we didn't used to be able to >> we didn't used to be able to accept that very easily in a tv hour. and even before the '80s were out, it is like, okay, i get it. so it is like, all right, what are the rules now? >> what are you doing? >> it has to do with the networks putting creative control in the producers with strong viewpoints and letting them do what they want to do. >> i think what "hill street blues" was it distinguished
itself by its voice. >> the one thing people can trust. if you go out there like a bunch of knight riders, what the hell are you but a street gang? >> there was a core group of brilliant people. >> the audience demands were changing. >> it is just television was changed since the first emmy was awarded 25 years ago. >> it is if the contemporary audience was yearning about television about themselves. >> as the '80s came to an end, everything changed. >> when we look back at the '80s, we will be disgusted. the super violent programs. one of the things that will happen increasingly is the replacement of rotten entertainment programs by news and talk by all three networks very slowsly. >> will it be rotten if.
>> most of the news and talk shows on the networks have been surprisingly, to me, surprisingly good. and then there were eight. new details emerge about the june 2016 meeting in trump tower attended by trump jr. and kushner and paul manafort. we know a russian-american lobbyist. welcome to "newsroom." it's 10:00 a.m. in paris. >> and let's get started. it's 4:00 a.m. on the east coast. >> welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. the u.s. president donald trump returned to