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'The Ed Sullivan Show' (CBS)
Premiered: June 20, 1948
Summertime saw the launch of many variety hits, including "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour" and "Hee Haw." When it comes to TV institutions, however, there are few pieces of programming that can rival "The Ed Sullivan Show," which aired basically every Sunday night from June of 1948 to June of 1971, producing 1068 episodes. That first 1948 episode (when the show was still titled "Toast of the Town") featured Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis performing, as well as Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein previewing songs from "South Pacific." Over the years, comedy duo Wayne & Shuster made the most appearances, but Ed Sullivan helped introduce Americans to artists ranging from Ed Sullivan to The Beatles to The Doors to Topo Gigio. Some credit should be given to Sullivan's co-creator and producer Marlo Lewis.
- Daniel Fienberg
Photo Credit: CBS