ABC's Wide World of Entertainment

ABC's Wide World of Entertainment is a late night block of programs created by the American Broadcasting Company. It premiered on January 8, 1973, and ended three years later.[1] The title was based on the long-running broadcast ABC's Wide World of Sports; there was also an ABC's Wide World of Mystery broadcast from 1973 to 1978.

ABC's Wide World of Entertainment
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Camera setup89
Running time90 minutes
Original networkAmerican Broadcasting Company
Original releaseJanuary 8, 1973 –
January 10, 1976

Program schedule

Unable to find a single talk show to compete with NBC's highly successful Tonight Show, the network aired a collection of comedy specials, documentaries, mystery movies, music concerts and talk shows with a variety of hosts.[2] Included in the broadcasts were The Dick Cavett Show, Jack Paar Tonite, Good Night America (a newsmagazine hosted by Geraldo Rivera), the live concert series In Concert, the UK-originated anthology series Thriller, and Comedy News (a parody of local TV newscasts with an ensemble cast of comedians and satirists including Kenneth Mars, Marian Mercer, Robert Klein, Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory).[3] Initially, Paar, Cavett, comedy specials and mystery movies were each given one week per month.

Two nights of music concerts, broadcast every other Friday on weeks where specials or movies were broadcast, completed the monthly schedule.[4] The 1975 and 1976 editions of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve were also broadcast as "Wide World Specials".[5]

Monty Python broadcast

Monty Python's Flying Circus, the British comedy sketch television series, taped its last episode in December 1974 and was syndicated to American public television stations soon after. On October 3, 1975, ABC aired the first of two edited compilations of sketches from the series as one of its Wide World of Entertainment comedy specials. The Python group represented by Terry Gilliam, the group's only American-born member, sued ABC for copyright infringement.[6]

Zapruder film

On the March 6, 1975, edition of Good Night America, Rivera had as his guests JFK assassination researchers Robert Groden and Dick Gregory, who presented the first-ever network television showing of the Zapruder film. The public's response and outrage to that television showing quickly led to the forming of the Hart-Schweiker investigation, contributed to the Church Committee Investigation on Intelligence Activities by the United States, and resulted in the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation.[7]

ABC Late Night

The comedy and variety specials proved to be unpopular and, along with most of the talk shows, were dropped by the summer of 1974. They were replaced with reruns of television films and the programming block was retitled ABC Late Night on January 12, 1976. In addition to movies (which were seen under the Tuesday Movie of the Week banner), the network aired a variety of prime-time series reruns including Police Woman, Mannix, Starsky & Hutch, Soap, Barney Miller, Charlie's Angels and Fantasy Island. ABC Late Night ended on October 21, 1982.


  1. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1981). Television 1970-1980. San Diego: A.S. Barnes and Company. ISBN 0-498-02577-2.
  2. ^ Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  3. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1976). The Complete Encyclopedia of Television Programs 1947-1976 (Vol. 1). South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Company. ISBN 0-498-01561-0.
  4. ^ "Show Business: ABC's Potpourri." (February 26, 1973). Time Magazine. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
  5. ^ Television listings in Evening Independent, December 31, 1974 (via Google News)
  6. ^
  7. ^ Vincent Bugliosi (2007). Reclaiming history: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 371. ISBN 978-0-393-04525-3. Retrieved 5 March 2011.

External links

1972–73 United States network television schedule (late night)

These are the late night Monday-Friday schedules on all three networks for each calendar season beginning September 1972. All times are Eastern/Pacific.

Talk/Variety shows are highlighted in yellow, Local News & Programs are highlighted in white.

1973–74 United States network television schedule (late night)

These are the late night Monday-Friday schedules on all three networks for each calendar season beginning September 1973. All times are Eastern/Pacific.

Talk/Variety shows are highlighted in yellow, Local News & Programs are highlighted in white.

1974–75 United States network television schedule (late night)

These are the late night Monday-Friday schedules on all three networks for each calendar season beginning September 1974. All times are Eastern/Pacific.

Talk/Variety shows are highlighted in yellow, Local News & Programs are highlighted in white.

Belinda Balaski

Belinda Balaski (born December 8, 1947 in Inglewood, California) is an American actress. She is perhaps best known for her large supporting role as Terri Fisher in Joe Dante's The Howling (1981), and has continued to appear in most of Dante's films including an important role in Piranha and cameos in Gremlins, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Matinee, and Small Soldiers. She co-stars in Food of the Gods and Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw both featuring Marjoe Gortner, and in Roger Corman's Cannonball! (directed by Paul Bartel) she plays navigator to Robert Carradine in a cross-country car race.

David Steinberg

David Steinberg (born August 9, 1942) is a Canadian comedian, actor, writer, director, and author. At the height of his popularity, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was one of the best-known comics in the United States. He appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson more than 130 times (second only to Bob Hope in number of appearances) and served as guest host 12 times, the youngest person ever to guest-host. Steinberg directed several films and episodes of television situation comedies, including Seinfeld, Friends, Mad About You, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Golden Girls, and Designing Women.

Since 2012, Steinberg has hosted the interview program Inside Comedy on the Showtime network.

Geraldo Rivera

Geraldo Rivera (born Gerald Michael Riviera; July 4, 1943) is an American tabloid talk show host, reporter, attorney, and author. He was the host of the talk show Geraldo from 1987 to 1998. Rivera hosted the newsmagazine program Geraldo at Large, hosts the occasional broadcast of Geraldo Rivera Reports (in lieu of hosting At Large), and appears regularly on Fox News programs such as The Five.

Glenn Falkenstein

Glenn Jacob Falkenstein (February 3, 1932 – July 4, 2010) was a world-renowned magician and mentalist, and partner to Frances Willard from 1978 to 2010.

In Concert (TV series)

In Concert is a late-night television series created by Don Kirshner. Hosted by Don Branker, the series was a showcase for bands of the era to be taped "in concert" and then broadcast on ABC on Friday nights.

Jack Haley Jr.

John Joseph Haley Jr. (October 25, 1933 – April 21, 2001) was an American film director, producer and writer, twice winner of the Emmy Award.

Jack Paar

Jack Harold Paar (May 1, 1918 – January 27, 2004) was an American author, movie actor, radio and television comedian, and talk show host. He is best known for his stint as the second host of The Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962. Time magazine's obituary of him notes, "His fans would remember him as the fellow who split talk show history into two eras: Before Paar and Below Paar."

Kathleen Widdoes

Kathleen Effie Widdoes (born March 21, 1939) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Emma Snyder in the television soap opera As the World Turns, which earned her four Daytime Emmy Award nominations.

Widdoes was also nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award, as well as winning two Obie Awards and a Lucille Lortel Award.

Lauren Shuler Donner

Lauren Diane Shuler Donner (born June 23, 1949) is an American film producer, who specializes in mainstream youth and family-oriented entertainment. She owns The Donners' Company with her husband, director Richard Donner. Her films have grossed about $4.5 billion worldwide, mostly due to the X-Men film series.

List of programming blocks by name

The following is a list of television programming blocks.

Lorraine Gary

Lorraine Gary (born August 16, 1937) is a retired American actress, best known for her role as Ellen Brody in Jaws, Jaws 2, and Jaws: The Revenge. She also appeared in 1941 and Car Wash.

My Mom's Having a Baby

My Mom's Having a Baby is an American television teen comedy/documentary that aired as an ABC Afterschool Special on February 16, 1977. The program would be historic as it was the first television program of its kind in the United States to showcase the pregnancy process and conception to young people, using a combination of animation and live action. The program was a co-production between Dick Clark Productions and DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.

Pamela Payton-Wright

Pamela Payton-Wright (born November 1, 1941) is an American actress.

Professional Karate Association

The Professional Karate Association (PKA), later Professional Karate & Kickboxing Association, was originally a martial arts sanctioning organization, now transformed into a martial arts promotion company.

Through the 1970s, the PKA was the major professional kickboxing organization in the United States and in Europe, featuring such fighters as Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, Joe Lewis, Benny "the Jet" Urquidez, The Iceman Jean-Yves Thériault, Dennis "the Terminator" Alexio, Rick "the Jet" Roufus, Scott "The Hammer" Bennington, Jerry Trimble and Jeff Smith.The Professional Karate Association was formed in 1974 by Don and Judy Quine in association with Mike Anderson. It was launched with the initial world championships in 1974 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, and was telecast on ABC's Wide World of Entertainment. The winners of the initial championship were Joe Lewis (heavyweight), Jeff Smith (light heavyweight), Bill "Superfoot" Wallace (middleweight), and Isiasis Duenas (lightweight). Additionally, Vernon Mason (also called Vernon "Thunder Kick Mason") would become US PKA's first bantamweight champion after knocking out Sonny Onowa.

Joe Corley joined the PKA in 1977 and together with Jerry Piddington organized the committees that would control the sport of full contact karate for the next 9 years. The PKA went on to have a long term relationship with ESPN that lasted until 1986, while also airing a series of fights on CBS under the watch of CBS Sports VP Barry Frank and on NBC via Sean McManus. The PKA was by far the most visible sanctioning body for what became better known as kickboxing in the United States, in 1982 sanctioning 43% of events worldwide. and producing more than 1,000 hours of television content.

The PKA signed many fighters to exclusive contracts in order to build its brand in the sport, just as most other sports organizations sign athletes to exclusive contracts. Some fighters chose to go to other competing organizations, but the PKA was by far the most well known, as were its fighters. The PKA sanctioned fights exclusively with what has become known as "full contact rules" which permit kicks only above the waist as opposed to the "international rules" advocated by other organizations. In 1989 Joe Corley gained the rights to PKA in an out of court settlement ending a 3-year dispute with his PKA partners. The PKA has since operated as a promotion company.

The PKA hosted fights with SHOWTIME through the 90s and held its first pay per view event with SHOWTIME featuring Jean Yves Theriault vs Rick Roufus, Dennis Alexio vs Dick Kimber and Paul Vizzio vs Juan Torres, but folded shortly thereafter.

Salome Jens

Salome Jens (born May 8, 1935) is an American stage, film and television actress. She is perhaps best known for portraying the Female Changeling on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the 1990s.

Movie umbrella titles

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