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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
The Eighties. Aired 9-11p ET
Aired March 31, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:02] ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 HOST: Thanks very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, any time, Anderson.
COPPER: Well "The Eighties" starts right now, enjoy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a time of enormous turmoil.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shut up and hear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sixties are over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's Michael at the foul line. He shot it all (inaudible). Good!
TED TURNER, FOUNDER CNN: We intend to cover all the news all the time. We won't be signing off until the world ends.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't that special.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any tool for human expression will bring out both the best and worst in us. And television has been that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't pay me enough to deal with animals like this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are no longer embarrassed to admit they watch television.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we have seen the news, and it is us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slowly but surely, the 1970s are disappearing. The 1980s will be upon us. And what a decade it is coming up. Happy New Year!
KEN AULETTA, AUTHOR, THREE BLIND MICE: As we began the '80s in the television world, the landscape was on any given evening, 9 out of 10 people watching only one of three networks.
SHARON LOVEJOY, MAGAZINE: More than 30 million people are addicted to it. Social critics are mystified by its success. What is it? It's television's prime-time prairie pot boilers "Dallas."
PATRICK DUFFY (As Bobby Ewing), ACTOR DALLAS: A move like that will destroy all of Ewing oil and they will ruin our family name. LARRY HAGMAN (As J.R. Ewing), ACTOR DALLAS: I assure you a thought like that never crossed my mind.
DUFFY: Brother or no brother, whatever it takes, I'll stop you from destroying Ewing oil.
"Dallas" really did established new ground in terms of a weekly hour- long show. That literally captivated America for 13 years.
GIL TROY, AUTHOR MORNING IN AMERICA: "Dallas" is a television show which someway is rooted in the 1970s and one of the crazy things that emerges is this character J.R. Ewing as a pop phenomenon.
BARBARA STOCK, (As Liz Adams), ACTOR DALLAS: Tell me, J.R., which slut are you going to stay with tonight.
HAGMAN: What difference does it make? Whoever it is, it's got to be more interesting than the slut I'm looking at right now.
KEN LEVINE, WRITER M*A*S*H: He was such a delicious villain. Everyone was completely enamored by this character.
DAVID BIANCULLI, TELEVISION CRITIC FRESH AIR: At this point, so many people were watching television that you could do something so unexpected that it would become news overnight.
HAGMAN: Who is there?
PAT MITCHELL, FMR PRESIDENT/CEO, PBS: The national obsessions in 1980 around, "Who Shot J.R.". It's hard to imagine how obsessed we all were with that question. But we were.
LEE RICH, PRES. LORIMAR: Who shot J.R. is about as ideal a cliffhanger as you possibly could get.
TOM BROKAW, ANCHOR AND MANAGING EDITOR OF NBC: Who did shoot J.R.? We may never get the answer to that question. I mean the people who produce that's program are going to keep us in suspense for as long as they possibly can.
DUFFY: We shot J.R. and then we broke for the summer. Then coincidentally the actors went on strike. It delayed the resolution, and it just started to percolate through the world.
LEVINE: I remember going on vacation to England that summer and that's all that people were talking about there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we know you don't die. I mean you couldn't die.
HAGMAN: We don't know that's.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well how could you die? You couldn't come back next season.
HAGMAN: That's why I'm in. I couldn't come back but the show could still go on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh but you wouldn't. What is that show without J.R.?
HAGMAN: Well, that's what I figure.
JESSICA SAVITH, NBC NEWS: Well, 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.
TROY: Who shot J.R. is a reflection of old-fashioned television. It's a moment they gathers everybody around the electronic fireplace, which is now the television set.
DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS: Now, about one special American television program. The critics said it trends in then popularity every other American statement about war and something special happened today to mobile army surgical hospital 4077. That will touch millions of Americans.
JERRY BROWEN, CBS NEWS: It was the kind of event that would grab the world's breath. Stage 9, 20th Century Fox studios the end of the Korean War. The television version "M*A*S*H".
[21:05:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been an honor and privilege to have worked with you. And I'm very, very proud to have known you.
MARY HART, FMR HOST, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll miss you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll miss you. A lot.
ANDREA NAVERSEN, CBS NEWS: All over the country, armies of fans crowded around television sets to watch the final episode and to bid "M*A*S*H" farewell.
LEVINE: The finale of "M*A*S*H" was unprecedented. 123 million people watched one television program at the same time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know I really should be allowed to go home. And there's nothing wrong with me.
MIKE FARRELL, ACTOR OF M*A*S*H.: 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.
CHRIS CONNELLY, REPORTER ESPN: 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. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. That's it. Let's roll. Hey. Let's be careful out there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dispatch, we have a 911. Armed robbery in progress.
DAVID MCQUEEN, BACKSTAGE PASS: 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."
BIANCULLI: "Hill Street" is one of the changing points of the entire industry in the history of TV.
STEVEN BOCHCO, CO-CREATOR HILL STREET BLUES: We had all watched a documentary about cops and had this real hand-held in the moment quality that we were very enamored of.
RENEE GRAHAM, COLUMNIST, THE BOSTON GLOBE: The minute you looked at it, it looked different. It had a mood to it. You could almost -- smell the stale coffee.
BOCHCO: 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.
VERONICA HAMEL (As Joyce Davenport), ACTOR HILL STREET BLUES: Why he would've asked? Is he here or is he elsewhere?
DANIEL TRAVANTI (As Francis Xavier Furillo), ACTOR HILL STREET BLUES: Don't get excited, because they were working on it.
HAMEL: How is this for logic Furillo? If he's not here, and if he's not elsewhere, he's lost.
TRAVANTI: We didn't say that.
HAMEL: You lost guys
Never in my entire life have I listened to so much incompetence covered up by so much unmitigated crap. Find my client Furillo, or, I swear, I'll have you up on charges.
GRAHAM YOST, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AND CREATOR, AGTFED: There would be these ongoing arcs for these characters that would play out over five, six episodes, sometimes in 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.
HAMEL: These past four months, I've missed you. I have to find that out. Come on. Give me in.
BOCHCO: I think in the past, people had watched television passively. And the one thing I think we did set out to be we're provocateurs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We fill it out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell is the matter with you, man?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't pay me enough to deal with animals like this. The first thing that sees a white face and all they want to do is told you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to me Drake (ph). It was a tight scene to pull the trigger, not a black one, is a white.
GRAHAM: It set a trend. The idea that the audience can accept is characters being deeply flawed, you know, even though they were in this uniform. And I thought that was important to finally get across.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't do it. No bang.
BOCHCO: We wanted to make a show that made you participate. Made you pay attention. And I think that worked pretty well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the winner is
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Hill Street Blues."
BOCHCO: There are 21 nominations. And we went on to win eight Emmys. And it put us on the map, literally. And that's when people finally checked us out.
BRANDON TARTIKOFF, PRESIDENT NBC: Programming chief of one of the networks used to say to me about shows like "Hill Street" and "St. Elsewhere". What the American people want is a cheeseburger. And when you're 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's doesn't taste bad. And maybe they'll even order it themselves when they go to the restaurant.
ED FLANDERS (As Dr. Donald Westphall), ACTOR ST. ELSEWHERE: Nice for you to join us Dr. Morrison.
CONNELLY: The success of Hill Street Blues is a critical phenomenon influenced everything that came after. And then of course you saw shows likes "St. Elsewhere."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what people call this place? Not St. Eligius, St. Elsewhere. A place you wouldn't want to send your mother-in-law.
[21:10:11] CONNELLY: When it first came on, it was actually promoted as "Hill Street Hospital."
DENZEL WASHINGTON, (As Phillip Chandlier), ACTOR ST. ELSEWHERE: You gave your patients the wrong antibiotics. You don't know what medications their own you write the worst progress notes. You're pathetic. Pathetic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Phil?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Martin needs you right away.
WASHINGTON: I'm sorry.
BIANCULLI: "St. Elsewhere" broke every rule there was and then built some new rules.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not of the, only that guy called a little while ago. They ran a routine panel that kind of blood t-cell count was off.
MARK HARMON, ACTOR: They would have tragic things happen to these characters. There was real heartache in these people's lives and you really felt them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got AIDS?
BOCHCO: Television at its best is a mirror of society in the moment.
HARMON: "St. Elsewhere" and challenged people, they 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.
BIANCULLI: "St. Elsewhere" was run by people trying to stretch the medium and in the '80s, television producers were encouraged to stretch the medium.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There a lot of people used to say, I was there. Now people say, they watch it on television.
CONNELLY: This is 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 just hadn't been enough, you know, give us a whole network of sports.
[21:15:09] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's just one place you need to go for all the names and games making sports news. ESPN SportsCenter.
MATTHEW FUTTERMAN, SPORTS WRITER WALL STREET JOURNAL: What happens in the 1980s is sports becomes a TV show. And where TV shows built around? They built around characters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't be serious, man. You cannot be serious! You got the absolute tips of the world, you know that.
CONNELLY: McEnroe, the perfect villain. The New Yorker that people loved to hate. Borg, the cool suede, never giving any emotion away. FUTTERMAN: 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 Evert and Martina Navratilova. That's what we want to turn into over and over and over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go home Chris (inaudible) and three match points to Martina Navratilova.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, that this man has a smile that lights up a television screen from here to Bangor, Maine.
FUTTERMAN: And that there is Magic Johnson, this urban kid from Michigan and Larry Bird, this guy who work is carrying trash. One plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. The other plays for the Boston Celtics. It's a great story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lakers had several chances. Here's Larry Bird, dropping down the score.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Magic Johnson leads the attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just look at that pass. Oh, what a show! Oh, no!
FUTTERMAN: When those championship games are in prime-time and people are paying attention to that, television feeds into those rivalries and makes them bigger than they've ever been before.
MIKE TYSON, PROFFESSIONAL BOXER: I dare them to challenge me with their somewhat primitive skills. They're just as good as dead.
CONNELLY: And every Mike Tyson fight was an event, because every fight is like an acts murder. When he fought Michael Spinks, the electricity, you can just feel rushing it on TV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They came on spaces, he lose in the right hand. There he goes.
CONNELLY: Tyson was made for TV because there was drama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all over. Mike Tyson has won it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a lot of junior high school kids can dunk, especially at five.
MICHAEL JORDAN, AMERICAN FORMER PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: But everybody tries it now. And everybody tries now.
CRAIG RIESS, ADVERTISING AGE MAGAZINE: I think that he is starting to transcend just his sport that he is becoming something of a public figure.
FUTTERMAN: Michael Jordan becomes the model that 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The inbound is pass comes in to Jordan. Here's Michael at the foul line, a shot on it all. Good! The Bulls win!
CONNELLY: Athletes in the '80s became part of an ongoing group of people that we cared about. We just had an enormous pent-up demand for sports and the '80s began to provide. Thank goodness.
CONNIE CHUNG, CBS NEWS: Cable television is continuing to grow. It's estimated that it will grow into 1 million more U.S. households this year.
AULETTA: With cable television, suddenly offering an array of different channel choices, but audience bifurcated. That's an earthquake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want my MTV!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my MTV!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want my MTV!
MARK GOODMAN, MTV VJ: 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.
DOWNTOWN JULIE BROWN, FMR MTV VJ: Music television, what a concept. MTV was pow, in your face. You were not going to turn us off.
TOM HANKS, ACTOR: 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?
MARTHA QUINN, MTV VJ: I'm Martha Quinn. And music will continue nonstop on MTV music television, the newest components 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."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo.
CONNELLY: 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.
BIANCULLI: MTV had a giant impact visually and musically on every part of the TV culture that came next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freeze.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miami Vice.
JANE PAULEY, THE TODAY SHOW: Friday nights on NBC are different this season. Thanks to "Miami Vice."
It's a show with an old theme, but lot of new twists, described by one critic as containing flashes of brilliance, nonetheless, shot entirely on location in South Miami, the story centers around two undercover vice cops.
DON JOHNSON, (As James Crockett), ACTOR MIAMI VICE: I don't know how this is going to work, Tubbs. I mean, not exactly up my alley style and persona ways. Heaven knows I'm no box of candy.
MICHAEL MANN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, MIAMI VICE: Television very much was the small screen.
[21:20:01] It was interesting about Tony Yerkovich's pilot screen play for "Miami Vice." is that it was objective not that. Very much the approach was, OK, they call this a television series, but we're going to make one hour movies every single week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Here we go. Stand by.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Action.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police! Police!
JANE PAULEY, NBC NEWS: They were just describing the show was sort of a new wave cop show.
JOHNSON: Yeah, it's a cop show for the '80s. I mean, we use a lot of MTV images and rock music to help describe the mood and feeling of our show.
GRAHAM: 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.
MANN: 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.
BIANCULLI: And not only wasn't 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, you know. And it was.
MANN: Being able to take a television series like "Miami Vice" and let's really, kind of rock n' roll with this until somebody says stop or are you guys crazy, you can't do that? And nobody ever did.
JOHNSON: Freeze! Police!
[21:25:14] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thomas Magnum?
TOM SELLECK (As Thomas Magnum), ACTOR MAGNUM PI: Marion Hammond?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Private investigator?
SELLECK: Oh, you are probably wondering about the goat. Just let me drop off my friend, and then we'll talk.
LEVINE: When we entered the '80s, a lot of one hour dramas that were light hearted like "Magnum P.I." were very popular.
BIANCULLI: After "M*A*S*H." went off the air, the next season there wasn't a single sitcom in the top 10. First time that had ever happened in TV history.
LEVINE: The prevailing feeling was that the sitcom was dead.
JEFF GREENFIELD, MEDIA ANALYST: Brandon Tartikoff, NBC programming chief, says reports of the sitcom's death were greatly exaggerated.
BRANDON TARTIKOFF, PRESIDENT NBC: Time and time again, if you study television history, just when someone is counting a forum out, that is exactly the form of programming that's leads to the next big hit.
GRAHAM: So 1984 "The Cosby Show" comes on. Now, Bill Cosby is not new to TV he's have the TV shows but "The Cosby Show" is very different, it stands apart from everything else he's done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom, I wanted my scrambled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming right up.
CARYN MANDABACH, PRODUCER, THE COSBY SHOW: They talked about parenting. Previous to that on television, the kids were cool and the parents were idiots and then Cosby says, "The parents are in charge and that was something new."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.
BILL COSBY (As Chet Kincaid), ACTOR THE BILL COSBY SHOW: That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life!
TOM SHALES, TELEVISION CRITIC: You know, it helps the casting of anything else a lot in television, and the kids were just great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were the last person on this earth, I still wouldn't tell you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't have to tell me what you did. Just tell me what's they're going to do to you.
GRAHAM: Unlike every other show on TV, it's showing an upper middle class black family. This wasn't "all in the family." They were tackling, you know, deep issues but that was OK. The mere fact that they existed was a deep issue.
MANDABACH: 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, you get to the mind. And if you can hit the hearts and minds, you've got yourself a hit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How was school?
COSBY: School? Dear, I brought home two children that may or may not be ours.
SHELLEY LONG, ACTOR CHEERS: Cosby Show brought this tremendous audience to NBC. And that was a bridge to us. Our ratings went way up.
BIANCULLI: Even the theme song to "Cheers" puts you in a good mood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Norman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's shaking, norm?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All four chicks and a couple of gin folks.
LEVINE: 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.
BIANCULLI: It's like all you have to do is watch it once. You're going to love these people. These are universal charters, and the humor worked on so many levels.
LONG: I was up until 2:00 in the morning finishing off kierkegaard.
SAM MALONE (As Ted Danson), ACTOR CHEERS: I hope he thanked you for it.
DAVID STAINBERG, COMEDIAN: You have to create a community that people are identifying with. And "Cheers" gives you that community.
MALONE: Oh. I'm here. I've always wanted to skydive. I've just never had the guts. What does it feel like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well imagine is not like 16. 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, OK?
LONG: In the first episode, there was a rather passionate annoyance. And was saying "huh", something is going on here.
A really intelligent woman would see your line of BS a mile away.
MALONE: I never met an intelligent woman that I would want to date.
LONG: On behalf of the intelligent women around the world. May I just say ...
JAMES BURROWS, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: And when we saw what Ted and Shelly had together. We said, oh, no. We've got to do this relationship.
LONG: 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.
MALONE: Oh, I am carrying a little torch for you.
LONG: 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 audience.
[21:30:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just an incredible chemistry between the two of them ignited the show. That's what's drove the show for the first five years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the matter?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I'm devastated. I need something expeditious and brutal to know my sense a couple these blast me into sweet oblivion. How about a pour in me. Make it a mimosa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had the luck to be able to rotate cast and every time we put somebody in, they were explosions.
LEVINE: There was something very special about that setting, those characters that I never got tired of writing that show.
BRYANT GUMBELL, AMERICA TALKS BACK: Sophisticated surveys, telephonic samplings, test audiences. All of those help to separate winners from losers and make midcourse corrections. But you can't cut all comedies from the same cookie cutters. All you can hope is that every night turns out like Thursday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yow Angela!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How rude.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quick, I'll give him that.
BIANCULLI: All television and, oh well, maybe sitcoms are alive again. And that's all that it took. It took one success.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A few years from now, something new may tempt to people that picks what we see. But it's a very safe case that whatever gets hot for a season or two a man or woman who create good television comedy will be laughing all the way to the bank.
[21:35:15] WALTER GRONKITE, CBC NEWS: This is my last broadcast as the anchorman of the CBS evening news. For me it's a moment for which I long, I have planned but which nevertheless comes with some sadness. For almost two decades, after all, we've been meeting like this in the evenings, and I'll miss that. And that's the way it is, Friday, March 6th, 1981. I'll be away on assignment Dan rather will be sitting in here for next few years. Good night.
LESHLEY STAHL, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT CBS NEWS: Uncle Walter had dominated, certainly CBS, but in a way, the country. People used to say he was the most trusted man in the country.
BIANCULLI: And once Walter Cronkite retires, all three network news anchors within a period of couple of years switch over to a new generation.
The 80's may have been the last gasp where people watching the media liked and trusted the media.
DAN RATHER, CBS EVENING NEWS: Nuclear arms and how to prevent global destruction are expected to be the major topic of President Reagan's news conference tonight. That conference will be nationally televised within the hour. Leslie Stahl is at the White House.
STAHL: The White House is hoping that tomorrow ...
In the 80s, women came into the newsroom. When I first joined it was '72. Now, we're very few. By the 80s, there were more and more.
JUDY WOODRUFF, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT NBC NEWS: The decade of the '80s was still time of sink or swim. You had to be resilient in your own way to survive in a period when you were going up against a lot of people who still didn't think women had what it took.
PHIL DONAHUE, THE PHIL DONAHUE SHOW: These are some of the most famous faces in broadcasting. All of them happen to be women.
STAHL: And the best producers, I'm going to get fired -- the best producers at CBS News are women. And they're at the level of taking hold and making decisions about individual pieces. They are not yet executive producers of all the news shows. But they will be.
CASSANDRA CLAYTON, ABC NEWS: The past 24 hours, Christine Craft has taken her cause and many of the nation's news and talk programs.
CHRISTINE CRAFT, REPORTER: I didn't set out to be Joan of Ark, but I think that what happens to me deserves some attention.
WOODRUFF: Christine Craft had a very successful career but there she was in her late 30s and the TV station said to her, we're taking you off the air because you've gotten older and you're not as attractive as you once were, which was outrageous and she decided to make an issue of it. She filed a lawsuit and it became a huge national topic of discussion.
CHUNG: A jury said she got a raw deal because she is a woman.
WOODRUFF: And so women in television news everywhere were asked, what do you think about Christine Craft? I think unfortunately in recent years the emphasis has been increasingly on physical appearance and to the extent this decision helped swing the emphasis back to substance and the good journalism. I think we've got something to be happy about.
It was important to make the point that what mattered was, what kind of reporter are you? But it took the Christine Craft incidence, and I think to bring that conversation out into the open.
TED KOPEL, ABC NEWS: This coming Sunday a new television network opens for business. CNN, Cable News Network.
You are throwing all the dice on this one.
TURNER: Why not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained think hard near one fairly.
KOPEL: Well, on that original point, Mr. Turner, thank you very much, indeed.
TURNER: I wanted to see what was going on in the world and it was no way that you could do it watching on a regular television stations. The news only comes on at 6:00 and 10:00. But if there was news on 24 hours, people could watch it any time.
We decided on June 1 and more in satellite problems in the future, we won't be signing off until the world ends.
JEFF GREENFIELD, JOURNALIST: It was wide stream (ph), this was a full learned. How could this possibly find an audience?
Well, he did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the camera, through the one center up.
DAVID WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening I am David Walker.
LOIS HART, CNN ANCHOR: And I am Lois Hart. Now, here's the news.
President Carter has arrived.
H.W. BRANDS, AUTHOR, MASTERS OF ENTERPRISE: Television news before this was stuff that had already happened. For the first time, CNN, brought the world to people in realtime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN, the world's most important network.
TURNER: I didn't do Cable News Network because somebody told me it couldn't be done. I figured it was a very viable concept, and I went ahead and did it. It was after we announced that we were going to do it that the detractors showed up.
BRYANT GUMBEL, THE TODAY SHOW: Is Cable News Network just going to be a new means of delivering the same kind of fair?
TURNER: No. It already does provide different fair in Cable News Network is a perfect and maybe the best example of that.
People love news. And we had lots of it. And the other guys had not very much. So choice and quantity won out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New York, City, Hello.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The major catastrophe in America's space program.
LOU DOBBS, ANCHOR: I'm Lou Dobbs along with financial editor Myron Kandel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jessica McClure trapped for almost three days now and in a dry artisan well.
[21:40:01] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The iron curtain between East Germany and West Berlin has come tumbling down.
PAT BUCHANAN, CO-HOST, CROSSFIRE: Good evening I'm Pat Buchanan, the conservative in "Crossfire."
The American people appreciated the new television. They certainly came to CNN in droves.
RONALD REAGAN, FMR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Gorbachev and I both agree on the desirability of freer and more extensive personal contact between the peoples of the Soviet Union and the United States.
JAMES BAKER, FMR WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We began to realize that the best way to get a message to a foreign leader was to have the President go in the Rose Garden and make a statement because everybody was watching CNN.
TURNER: CNN was a breakthrough. It changed the whole world.
STAHL: It changed quickly than network news business, that business that we weren't the only ones. And it was hard, you know, it's hard to be on the top little perch and have to come down off it.
TOM BROKAW, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS ANCHOR: On special segment tonight, the network news. The first in a two-part series on the profound changes taking place in television news, changes being brought about by business, competition and technology.
JOHN HEILEMANN, BLOOMERG POLITICS MANAGING EDITOR: There were variety of reasons why people who worked at the broadcast networks were freaked out in 1980s. One of them was CNN and the rise of cable. Another was being taken over by foreign entities in corporate America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New owners spend billions buying the networks recently, and all of them want their money's worth.
JULIAN GOODMAN, NBC'S FORMER CHAIRMAN: People began to find out that news could be a profit-centered. And that focused a lot of attention on us, a lot from people in Wall Street, for instance.
HEILEMANN: If you think about the news divisions of CBS, NBC and ABC, they were part of a really proud tradition, a journalistic tradition that really matters. We serve the public. This is not about profit and loss. And the people who worked at those news divisions were totally freaked out by what it meant that they were now owned by these larger corporate entities.
STANLEY HUBBARD, HUBBARD BROADCASTING FOUNDER: The television news isn't profitable at some point. There won't be any more television news on the networks.
SHALES: I worry about people are interested only in money and power getting a hold of television. It has higher purposes than that.
JENNINGS: And we have seen the news, and it is us.
[21:46:05] JOAN COLLINS, ACTOR DYNASTY: Sometimes ambition in a woman is considered to be a dirty word unfortunately.
LINDA BLOODWOODWORTH-THOMASON, CREATOR, DESIGNING WOMEN: I don't hear the female voices reverberating in the halls of Tarren as business.
TYNE DALY, ACTOR CAGNEY & STACEY: Pass by that more shows about women. Are you talking about who they are?
BARBARA CORDAY, PRES. COLUMBIA PICTURES TV: Directing it seems to be an area that is almost impossible to break through.
I think the '80s were the era when women were being looked at. With a little skepticism, but definitely with more acceptability. You could see the door opening. But it wasn't wide open.
STAHL: Cagney and Lacey was huge. That there would be two women and they had a serious job and they solved crimes and they were out on the streets, they were tough. That was emblematic or maybe out in front to liberal of what was actually happening in the country.
LORETTA SWIT (As Christine Cagney), ACTOR CAGNEY & LACEY: So we're a terrific team.
TYNE DALY (As Mary Beth Lacey), ACTOR CAGNEY & LACEY: That is true.
SWIT: Will see you again till (inaudible) on.
BIANCULLI: Within by that point, hundreds of buddy cop shows. But these buddies were women. It had never been done before.
SWIT: I didn't go after this job cause I couldn't find anything else. All right. I did not come here because I need some kind of work to help pay the orthodontist.
DALY: This means something to me.
SWIT: What the hell are we talking about here?
CORDAY: We didn't even realize this was going to be such a big deal. And strangely, all these guys would say to us, well, yeah. I mean, it's a good script, but who is going to save them in the end?
SWIT: Come on. We're getting out of here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You take my wife.
SWIT: You don't take one more step. Do you understand me?
Captain Nelson, you have until 8:00 tomorrow morning to turn yourself in to IAD.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it.
SWIT: If you don't, I will.
HART: It was the time where you really saw an emergence of women on television who were not necessarily just 20 and blond and had a small role. But women who had substantial roles.
LONG: It was unpredictable that an audience, a young audience, a not so young audience and lots in between, could relate to those older ladies.
BEATRICE ARTHUR (As Dorothy Zbornak), ACTOR THE GOLDEN GIRLS: Ma, if you couldn't see, why didn't you call me to come get you.
BETTY WHITE (As Rose Nylund), ACTOR THE GOLDEN GIRLS: I tried to. But every time I put in a dime and dialed, a condom popped out. I got five in my pocket. Here, Dorothy. A lifetime supply.
PAT MICHELLE, THE TODAY SHOW: She was recently named along with Norman Lear and James Brooks as one of television's most gifted creative writers. And, when you look back at the past women's role models on television, well it's easy to see Susan Harris' impact.
CARYN MANDABACH, PRODUCER, THE COSCRY SHOW: Susan Harris was the greatest writer on my opinion of her generation at that time, singularly. So, you know all credit to her for coming up with so many iterations of something so amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think there is a woman's voice as a writer?
SUSAN HARRIS, CREATOR, THE GOLDEN GIRLS: Woman's voice? They speak higher, softer?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I should know not to ask that of a writer.
HARRIS: Yes, of course, there's a woman's voice. Women have a different perspective. Women laugh at different things. So, yes, there very definitely is a woman's voice.
ARTHUR: Oh, do you know how many problems we have solved over a cheesecake at this kitchen table?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, Dorothy. Exactly how many.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 147, blanches.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Brian. Its cut-throat prime-time time this fall as some 23 new shows compete and one of the hottest ratings races in years.
Here's one just about everybody predicts will be a big hit, "Designing Women" on CBS. Four famous forming an interior decorating business and dealing each other the business.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Suzanne, if sex were fast food, there'd be an arch over your bed.
[21:50:00] CORDAY: Linda Bloodworth-Thomason created one of the funniest most unusual shows in "Designing Women." They were a different group of women than you really saw on television.
They were feisty, they were sexy and Linda's voice came through shining.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean can get away with anything I mean look at Reagan's neck. It sucks down to here. Everybody rags that have gravy looks. Imagine if Nancy had that neck? They'd be putting her in a nursing home for turkeys.
LINDA BLOODWORTH THOMASON: They'd given me these 23 minutes to address whatever topic I want and it such a privilege to more than the President of the United States gets and it's kind of thrilling to have that every week. I'd be lying if I said that os my opinion from the show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me but you ladies look like you're in need of a little male companionship here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trust me when I tell you that you have completely misassessed the situation at this team.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And moving on this team B, OK.
DIANE ENGLISH CREATOR MURPHY BROWN: I am a woman and I am a writer but I don't enjoy being called a woman's writer. I think labels are harmful to us.
MITCHELL: With "Murphy Brown," just everything about that program felt new. To simple rights move and then the woman's movement had just begun to sort of be reflected in the programming that you saw in television in the '80s.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Murphy, you know the dumphy club is for men only.
CANDICE BERGEN, (As Murphy Brown), ACTOR MURPHY BROWN: And they have great dinners with great guess and I don't get to go for one reason and one reason only and it has to do with one thing you have and I don't. Like tiny, pathetic, little Y chromosome.
STAHL: Murphy Brown was she change because she was so popular and such a strong independent tough woman. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter what you think other guest or their views you are obligated to ask a questions and a dignify manner. Jim she was on professional am I right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I ...
BERGEN: Can you believed this Jim, he think he thinks it's neat that his office chair swivels and he's calling me unprofessional.
[21:55:54] JOHNNY CARSON, THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON: You are in a good mood tonight. And I tell you, we have put a great show together. It will be on a week from Thursday.
CONNELLY: Johnny Carson in the '80s is making the transition from being the king of late night to being a national treasure. He was a throw back to that old showbiz stuff.
CARSON: I haven't been on with you for some time ...
DON RICKLES, ACTOR: It's been a long time.
CARSON: Yeah, well, you've been busy with other things.
RICKLES: That's ...
CONNELLY: And the tide is starting to turn in terms of where light night television is going to go, but Johnny is kind of holding out. He was not necessarily of his time in the '80s, but he did sustain in a certain timelessness. He's the king.
CARSON: I got on your check (ph).
He's all right. He's just playing.
LETTERMAN: No way! I (inaudible).
MARIETTE HARTLEY, THE TODAY SHOW: My next guest not only has a college degree, but he also has a high school degree.
DAVID LETTERMAN, LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: That's right, I do.
HARTLEY: As well.
HARTLEY: He hosted "The Tonight Show" apparently as often as Johnny Carson and now he has his very own show weekday mornings at 10:00 on NBC.
Ladies and gentlemen, what you're witnessing here is a good idea is gone awry. It's a fun-filled surprise turning into an incredible screw up, right.
LEVINE: David Letterman originally had a one-hour daytime show in NBC after like 13 weeks decided to cancel it.
LETTERMAN: Today is our last show on the air. Monday, Las Vegas -- have these people been frisked before they ...
BIANCULLI: It was a dismal failure in terms of the ratings, but not in terms of introducing us to Letterman.
TOM SNYDER, TELEVISION PERSONALITY: David, thank you for being with us tonight.
LETTERMAN: Thank you for having us. I appreciate it.
SNYDER: And in spite of all this nonsense that goes around in the background, stay with us. Don't give up and stay with us here in New York. We like to.
LETTERMAN: I love stay in. Thank you (inaudible).
JANE PAULEY, THE TODAY SHOW: Dave is back in New York. You're going to host a late night television program that premieres Monday night. What are critics likely to say Tuesday Morning?
LETTERMAN: I don't much care, because I find a way to deal with that, pills and whiskey.
PAULEY: You're on.
LETTERMAN: Oh, I'm on. I'm sorry.
LETTERMAN: ... enjoying listening to your snort.
LEVINE: They gave him, "The Late Night Show" after the "Tonight Show" at the time. People thought, who's going to watch television at 12:30 at night? Who's up? I tell you who's up, young people, college people.
BILL MURRAY, ACTOR: Is it going well? I know this is the first show and I think this guy needs a little support. Dave Letterman.
MANDABACH: He was anti-establishment at its core. He was thumbing of his nose to any existing social structures.
LETTERMAN: Who is looking out there by the way?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Neighbors.
LETTERMAN: I'll get that on OK. Hey, excuse me.
Keep it moving. Just come on, get on.
LEVINE: He kind of spoofed the whole notion of talk shows.
LETTERMAN: It's the late night guest cam. Please say hello to Tom Hanks. There he is. HANKS: No one could go on the David Letterman show and try to steer it towards a point of view or push something in particular. It just wouldn't stand for it. You're on to do one thing and one thing only, be as funny as to the rest of the show.
HANKS: You, we can get in a two shot here Dave.
LETTERMAN: We can actually send the crew home, couldn't we?
DAVID STEINBERG, COMEDIAN: You know, as a comedian, you want the biggest audience that you could get. For Dave, he knew a lot of things that he would do we're going to alienate people and he didn't care. He wanted his some print out there and that's the most important thing.
LETTERMAN: It's time for a small town news. Paul, excuse me, Paul, do you have any accompany of music here for small town news?
Paul stayed for latest as villain (ph).
SHALES: The show making fun of itself and turning itself inside out that way was something kind of new.
LETTERMAN: I mean, don't we look like guys that you'd see hanging around together?
LETTERMAN: Would you like to hang around with me?
LETTERMAN: How's you doing?
[22:00:00] JOHN CLEESE, ACTOR: And I'll say it again. This is the stupidest show like.
CHER, SINGER: I thought I would never want to do this show with you.
LETTERMAN: Now why? Because you thought I was (muted)
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LETTERMAN: There's one rule I keep trying to abide by. And unfortunately I only get to it about 12 percent of the time, and that is it's only television. We're not doing cancer research. It's the 40- year-old history of commercial broadcasting. It taught us one thing, there's nothing sacred about television.
All right, Steve is upstairs.
STEVE MARTIN, COMEDIAN: Hey, Dave, I was just curious. Is there any way can I get MTV on this?
LETTERMAN: Actually, Steve, that's just a monitor and all you get on that is our show.
MARTIN: Oh. That's OK.
TOM HANKS, ACTOR: There was a degree of cynicism that was needed in the art form at that time. And it's a cynicism that just became common be sense after a while because it never got old.
PAUL SHAFFER, MUSICAL DIRECTOR: I've watched Johnny Carson and you are no Johnny Carson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, welcome to the great White North Canadian corner. And Bob McKenzie is my brother Doug. And today, we got a real big show because we got...
DAVID BIANCULLI, TELEVISION CRITIC: There was a second city Chicago company, there was a second city Toronto company. The Toronto one is the one that fueled the S.C. TV series which originally was syndicated and got to the States that way.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hail, hail. Thank you very much for that marvelous reception. I particularly want to thank my supporters over there in the caesarean section.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's healthy to be an outsider as a comedian and Canadians are always outsiders but they're looking at the other culture, which is right next door to them.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, Steve Bob! I want to bare your children!
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HANKS: It was the type of comedy that had only been accessible if u could have gotten into the improve clubs in Chicago and Toronto. I have never seen anything like second city TV.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: James Bridgeman (ph). I'm sorry, no. Never mind. I'm sorry.
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GRAHAM YOST, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: It was far more conceptual in its humor because it didn't have to be performed in front of an audience. And there was also just the idea that it was this sort of low-rent thing, it was his sort by the seat of their pants kind of operation that gave it an authenticity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now that our programming day has been extended,
I'm going to be spending...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do you want me to put the Cabeza, Mrs. Brinkley?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put it in the fridge, George.
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YOST: You are rooting for the show and the characters that they created. There was just something that you got behind, whereas, you know, SNL right from the gate. And through the 80s was this big enterprise.
AL FRANKEN, COMEDIAN: After five golden years, Lojn (ph) decided to leave and so did those close to him, including me, Al Franken. So, NBC had to pick a new producer. Now most knowledgeable people, as you might imagine, hoped it would be me, Al Franken.
TOM SHALES, TELEVISION CRITIC: Well, there was a real question of whether Saturday Night Live would continue at all or would it just die.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The press hasn't been overly kind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I read that stuff. Saturday Night Live to Saturday night dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. But you have to get.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My favorite though, is Vile from New York. It's funny. It's funny.
SHALES: They were having a hard time. And then came the man who saved the show, Eddie Murphy. There was a buzz about him. So, you tuned in and there was this kind of explosion of talent in front of your eyes.
KEN LEVINE: It really kind of rejuvenated the show.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am Gandhi, damn it, you don't talk to me that way!
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SHALES: After a while, the show regained its status and clout and became even more of an institution than it had been.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Bob. he looks great today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, Harry. If you join and happy with my work, tell me now! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're through! Do you hear me? Through. You'll
never work in this town again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't let me hanging by a threat, let me know where I stand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were little worried because we had a new cat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But everyone loves us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You guys have been so nice to us during our stay.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't that special?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm hard and by (Inaudible) who we just want to pump you up.
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LEVINE: A lot of things that they could do on Saturday Night Live they couldn't do on a sitcom. The humor was more daring and more satirical and it was political.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You still have 50 seconds left to answer that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me just sum up on track, stay the course, a thousand points of light, stay the course.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Dukakis, rebuttal?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't believe I'm losing to this guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll get it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's Gary Shandling show.
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[22:05:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People were taking all the old principles of comedy and try to turn them into something new. We spent years and years watching sitcoms and dramas. We knew them by heart, that if somebody played on that and parodied it we got if instantly.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I appreciate you coming in under these conditions, Lewis. I really do. You want to hold the credits? OK. I'll see where we're going to show the credits and you screwed that up, OK, because you're late.
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