Tag Archives: David Sarnoff

2 January: Jumpin’ Jack’s splash

CBS couldn't wait to put Jack Benny at the head of its Sunday night class. (Photo: CBS.)

CBS couldn’t wait to put Jack Benny at the head of its Sunday night class. (Photo: CBS.)

Now comes the time for Jack Benny and CBS to put Bill Paley’s money where the comedian’s mouth is. The question before the houses of Paley and NBC emperor David Sarnoff is whether the jump proves bonanza or bust.

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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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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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