This Week in Pop Culture History: Days of Our Lives, Arrested Development, and 24 Premiere
November 2, 2003: Arrested Development premieres on FOX.
In its three seasons on the air, the ground-breaking FOX show raised the bar for network comedies and paved the way for recent critical favourites such as 30 Rock and Community. Although it was not a ratings giant during its original run (that’s why it was cancelled), it developed a strong cult following. After it was dumped in 2005, there was talk of a feature film. This film never happened, and instead Netflix revived the series for a fifteen episode fourth season. Netflix’s chief content officer said in September that fans can expect more episodes and at this point it’s a matter of fitting the schedules of all the cast members.
November 3, 1975: Good Morning America’s first broadcast.
Good Morning America spent all of 2013 at number one among viewers of all ages, averaging 5.08 million viewers, thus besting rival NBC’s Today. When it premiered in 1975, GMA was co-hosted by David Hartman and Nancy Dussault (though she only lasted for two years and was replaced by Sandy Hill in 1977). GMA’s current anchors include: George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Josh Elliot, Sam Champion and Lara Spencer. In August 2012, anchor Robin Roberts took a leave of absence for a bone marrow transplant. Check out a clip from her first episode back in which she says she waited 174 days to say “Good morning America!”
November 3, 2001, and November 4, 2002: The First Two Harry Potter films hit theatres.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets will both celebrate anniversaries this week. The first film in the series grossed $974 million worldwide, the second-highest total in the series. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets came up short and made $879 million. Fun fact: Steven Spielberg was in line to direct the first film in the series, but he declined the offer because he and Warner Bros had competing visions: he wanted to make an animated film. Thank God that plan fell through.
November 6, 1947: Meet the Press debuts.
President John F. Kennedy once called Meet the Press America’s “fifty-first state.” The longest running television series in America, Meet the Press havs aired over 5,000 episodes since its debut in November 1947. Over its historic run, this Sunday morning talk show has had 11 different moderators. Martha Rountree, Meet the Press’ creator, was the first moderator. Former Postmaster General and Democratic National Committee Chairman James Farley was the first guest. David Gregory, the current moderator, took over in 2008 after Tom Brokaw stepped down. And every President since John F. Kennedy has sat down on the show. It’s the place to be. Here is a video from then President-elect Barack Obama in December 2008.
November 6, 2001: 24 premieres on FOX.
In September, Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly wrote a piece in which he said that 24 was the first series in the Serialized Thriller genre, as it required viewers to tune in each week because every episode ended on a cliff-hanger. This is not 24’s only legacy. It will also be remembered as a series that was uniquely in-tune with the zeitgeist, anticipating fear and anxiety over terrorism. Production on 24 was already well under way before the events of 9/11. While 24 ended its amazing run in 2010, thanks to the powers that be at FOX, the show will return in 2014 as a miniseries called 24: Live Another Day.
November 8, 1965: Days of Our Lives premieres on NBC.
Days of Our Lives has aired over 12,000 episodes. Set in the fictional Midwestern town of Salem, it follows the Horton and Brady families as they deal with typical soap opera drama. Episodes were originally only a half-hour long, but NBC expanded them to an hour in 1975 because of the soap’s popularity. In 2011, Days brought back several old characters and introduced some young ones in an attempt to revive the series and recapture the viewers it had lost. Today, Days is NBC’s only daytime drama.