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Pioneering TV

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011


Join WTVP as Pioneers of Television, reveals intriguing stories and uncovers fascinating facts from the early days of television, including:

  • Gene Roddenberry’s first choice to play Spock in “Star Trek.”

  • William Shatner’s first TV role (hint: it’s not in the “Science Fiction” episode).

  • America’s biggest western movie star who turned down the starring role in “Gunsmoke,” but recommended Jim Arness for the part.

  • Albert Einstein’s favorite TV show (hint: its stars were puppets).

These and many other little-known facts about some of the most beloved series and stars in television history are revealed when Pioneers of Television returns for a second season Tuesdays, Jan. 18-Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. Narrated by Kelsey Grammer, this four-part series transports viewers behind the scenes for a revealing look at the inception of four of the most popular genres in television: science fiction, westerns, crime dramas and local kids’ TV.

Stars such as James Garner, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Angie Dickinson, Bill Cosby, Robert Culp, Stefanie Powers, Martin Landau, Peter Graves, Linda Evans, and writer Stephen J. Cannell are among those interviewed whose imprint on the iconic genres they helped create still impact the medium today.

And stay tuned Tuesdays, Feb. 15-Mar. 1 for encore presentations from season one, which explore the early years of sitcoms, late night and variety.








For further information contact Linda Miller, WTVP Vice President of Programming, at (309) 495-0591 or linda.miller@wtvp.org



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