Tag Archives: CBS

26 December: Jumpin’ Jack’s flash

 

Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone reherse, March 1948. The year would prove to be a turning point in Benny's long radio career. (Photo: NBC.)

Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone reherse, March 1948. The year would prove to be a turning point in Benny’s long radio career. (Photo: NBC.)

Saying farewell to the network that’s been his radio home since 1932 isn’t exactly easy for Jack Benny, no matter how gracious he is about it publicly. But considering how frequently shows changed networks previously, and often as not at their sponsors’ behest, Benny’s pending jump is a very big deal, indeed.

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4 March: Miss Brooks’s measured climb

Eve Arden (center) rehearses with Richard Crenna (left) and Gale Gordon (right). (Photo: CBS.)

Eve Arden (center) rehearses with Richard Crenna (left) and Gale Gordon (right). (Photo: CBS.)

It’s not that anyone is going to complain, mind you. But maybe, just maybe, network radio’s most beloved high school English teacher might be even more of a hit—even allowing that television is now cutting radio ratings severely—with a slightly more advantageous scheduling.

Since luring Amos ‘n’ Andy and Jack Benny from NBC, CBS has built a formidable Sunday night lineup. Putting Eve Arden’s cheerfully sardonic but hopelessly romantic English teacher on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. after Our Miss Brooks spent 1948 rounding into shape didn’t exactly get her suspended from school—she finished 1949-50 with an 11.0 Hooper, enough to secure her seventh place on Sunday night—but CBS could have provided her a powerful choice of lead-ins.

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2 January: Betting big on Benny . . .

Benny proved worth Paley's big gamble. (Photo: CBS.)

Jack Benny proved better than merely being worth Bill Paley’s big gamble. (Photo: CBS.)

So Jack Benny has made the jump—and caused quite a stir in the bargain—from NBC to CBS, after contract negotiations with the senior network turned grotesque, in Benny’s view, when a former prosecutor who’d humiliated him needlessly in an unlikely court case turned up on the NBC negotiating team.

The question before the house is whether the jump will prove a bonanza or a bust.

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A mismatch made short of heaven: Old-time radio listening, 28 June

The Martin & Lewis Show: Guest—John Carradine (NBC, 1949)

Martin & Lewis, who really didn't belong on radio. (Photo: NBC.)

Martin & Lewis, who really didn’t belong on radio. (Photo: NBC.)

The CBS talent raids of 1948-49 have lured NBC bellwethers Amos ‘n’ Andy and Jack Benny (with a small host of performers following Benny) over the bridge. NBC’s retaliation has been, thus far, to launch its own talent hunt. Barely was NBC in Benny’s rear view mirror when the network announced to one and all that it sought fresh, younger comers to bring to its radio and television networks.

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The end of an era for Jack Benny: Old-time radio listening, 26 December

The Jack Benny Program: The Last Show for NBC (NBC, 1949)

An NBC fixture since 1932, Jack Benny says goodbye to his longtime radio home following the network’s hubris—and personal humiliation—negotiating a new deal with its most popular comedian . . . (Photo: NBC)

Jack Benny says farewell to the network that’s been his radio home since 1932, preparing to move in a week to CBS. What’s the big deal, considering how frequently shows changed networks—usually, when they changed sponsors—prior to tonight? Easy: NBC has been Benny’s radio home since 1932, and his loyalty inside the industry is the proverbial stuff of legend.

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