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YouTube / Thirteen

PBS Station Lampoons Reality TV

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YouTube / Thirteen

New York's PBS station, WNET (aka "Thirteen"), is famous for its series like American Masters and Live from Lincoln Center. These are serious programs, and I like them. Lately, WNET has been on a campaign to civilize TV -- it started with a series of subway posters advertising fake reality TV shows like Married to a Mime, Knitting Wars, and Bad Bad Bag Boys. Now they've stepped it up, releasing three fake trailers for faux-reality TV shows, then asking for donations for their station. Have a look:

The Tanners

"Your Vitamin D levels are spiking, just sit down."

Long Island Landscapers

"The boys are going over the hedge."

Clam Kings

"What business you got, talkin' about my family's clams?"

...Something Rather Different

Okay, so that's all the fake reality TV we've got (so far). Let's go back to September 16, 1962, when Edward R. Murrow hosted the channel's first broadcast as the 68th PBS station in the US. (It was then known as WNDT.) Although the tone is wildly different from the wacky bits above, this is well worth watching.

"Educational television comes into existence not because commercial television has failed, but because commercial television is confined in what it can do," says Murrow. Still true, more than 50 years later.

See Also

2012's pledge drive featuring Patrick Stewart. Here's one example:

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Happy Birthday, Alex Trebek!
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Today, everyone's favorite game show host turns 76 years old. Let's celebrate!

ON SESAME STREET

In 2006, Trebek played “Special of the Day” with Telly.

ON CARD SHARKS

In 1980, the tables were turned, and Trebek found himself the contestant on this episode of Card Sharks. The “tell me about yourself” portion of the program doesn’t go so smoothly, but he’s pretty good at the game itself.

THROWING PEOPLE IN THE POOL

In this sketch for the 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Trebek throws a waiter in a pool. The takeaway is clear: Don’t phrase things in the form of a question when you’re talking to the Jeopardy! host.

TREBEK ON NASA

And how the agency’s work with other companies helps all of us, not just astronauts.

HOSTING WHEEL OF FORTUNE

Happy April Fool's Day 1997! (Pat Sajak hosted Jeopardy that night.)

ALEX, AUTOTUNED

MC TREBEK IN THE HIZZOUSE

That was the actual name of the category.

AND JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT COULDN'T GET ANY WEIRDER...

Behold “Sexiest Potpourri Ever.”

LAST BUT NOT LEAST...

You didn’t think we’d leave without posting one of these, did you?

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Covers of "Me and Bobby McGee"
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On this day in 1970, Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. The singer-songwriter was known as "The Queen of Psychedelic Soul." Here, we remember Joplin with covers of her only number-one hit, "Me and Bobby McGee." Joplin's version of the song, originally written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, topped the charts after her death, making the song the second posthumous number-one single in U.S. chart history.

Johnny Cash

Pink

Willie Nelson

Dolly Parton

James Last

Jerry Lee Lewis

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