http://www.sctvguide.ca
http://www.sctvguide.ca

18 Things You Might Not Know About SCTV

http://www.sctvguide.ca
http://www.sctvguide.ca

In their latest project, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara play a riches-to-rags couple forced to live in an unfortunately named small town in the new comedy series Schitt’s Creek, which will make its American debut on Wednesday. If you know who Levy and O’Hara are, then you definitely know the names John Candy, Harold Ramis, Martin Short, Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, Joe Flaherty, and Andrea Martin, their co-stars on the legendary and influential sketch comedy show SCTV.

But even the biggest comedy fans might not know everything there is to know about the show Conan O’Brien once said was “perfect out of whole cloth.”

1. SCTV HAD FIVE DIFFERENT OFFICIAL TITLES, NONE OF WHICH WERE SCTV

For the first two seasons, the half hour show was Second City Television. For season three it became SCTV Television Network. To acknowledge the now 90-minute runtime for seasons four and five, it was rechristened SCTV Network 90, then later SCTV 90. For its sixth and final season, and now with 45-minute episodes (with commercials), it was SCTV Channel. No matter the title, the premise of each episode was that the audience was being shown programming from the fictitious channel SCTV, airing out of the equally fictional Melonville. So, just calling it SCTV is fine.

2. THE TOTAL BUDGET FOR THE FIRST SEVEN EPISODES WAS $35,000

Working with the then-regional Canadian network Global, the show only had $5,000 to produce each of the first 30-minute episodes, which were aired one month at a time.

3. NOT EVERYBODY ON THE SHOW WAS CANADIAN

Even though all but one member of the original cast came from the Second City improvisational group in Toronto, there were some comedians from the States. Harold Ramis, season one’s head writer, was born and raised in Chicago, where he performed in that city’s theater. Joe Flaherty was born in Pittsburgh and performed at the Chicago Second City before working with the Toronto group. Andrea Martin was born in Portland, Maine. Season three cast member Tony Rosato was raised in Ottawa, but born in Naples, Italy.

4. ONE SEASON WAS TAPED IN EDMONTON, AND EUGENE LEVY WASN’T HAPPY ABOUT IT

After two seasons of shooting in Toronto, SCTV was off the air for one year and struggled to find funding or a willing network to keep it going. The city of Edmonton was willing to fund 26 episodes if they taped them at the CBC studios in Alberta. As the Hamilton, Ontario born Eugene Levy explained, “People didn’t want to move to Edmonton because it was Edmonton.” Fortunately for him, production would move back to Toronto after a year.

5. BILL MURRAY GUEST STARRED IN AN EPISODE

Murray appeared in three sketches on the season four episode “The Days of the Week/Street Beef,” including the fake commercial “DiMaggio’s on the Wharf,” as Joe DiMaggio himself.

6. THE CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN FROM 'THE X FILES' MADE HIS TV DEBUT ON SCTV

Toronto-born William B. Davis was an artistic director and acting teacher before making it as a television and movie thespian himself when he was in his mid-forties. Naturally, he appears in the sketch wearing a suit.

7. ABC THOUGHT THAT THE SHOW WAS TOO SMART FOR THEM

SCTV was almost on ABC. The network's late night decision maker “loved” what he saw of the pilot, but ABC President Fred Silverman overruled him, saying the show was “too intelligent.” Around the time that Silverman made that decision, Time proclaimed in a cover story that he was a man with a “golden gut” for knowing what American TV audiences wanted to see.

8. THREE (OR FOUR) SCTV CAST MEMBERS ENDED UP ON THE CAST OF SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

It’s four if you count Catherine O’Hara. O’Hara left SNL after one week in 1981 to go back to SCTV without appearing in an episode of the American show. Robin Duke, who replaced O’Hara for the Edmonton season of SCTV, then replaced O’Hara on SNL. Tony Rosato, who, like Duke, joined SCTV for season 3, followed Duke to New York. Martin Short joined SNL for the 1984-85 season and brought his SCTV characters Jackie Rogers Jr. and Ed Grimley down south with him. SCTV and SNL’s worlds would collide often.

9. THE SEASON TWO WRITING SESSIONS WERE VERY ROWDY

In the summer of 1977, Second City CEO and SCTV executive producer Andrew Alexander rented a five-bedroom house near Bel-Air where Candy, O’Hara, and Levy took up residence. The cast and writing staff wrote season two of the show during the day and partied at night. At one shindig, John Candy kept Chevy Chase in a headlock for 90 minutes, or the length of an SNL episode. Coincidence?

10. SCTV AND SNL ALMOST ALTERNATED TIME SLOTS

While unthinkable now, Saturday Night Live was consistently on the cancellation bubble in the early to mid 1980s, with middling ratings and little support from critics. Meanwhile, NBC picked up critical darling SCTV as a 90 minute show (as SCTV Network 90) in 1981, airing it on Fridays from 12:30-2 in the morning. An NBC Vice President went as far as to publicly say that SCTV was the “best comedy show on television” and deserved a better time slot, and floated the idea of it sharing the Saturday night 11:30 p.m.-1 a.m. block. That network executive soon lost his job, and the idea was never brought up again.

11. JOHN CANDY WAS UPSET AT NBC’S TREATMENT OF THE SHOW

Because SCTV couldn’t make new, 90-minute episodes (with commercials, like SNL) fast enough, NBC would occasionally put together “Best Of” installments from the first three years without input from the cast and producers. This annoyed Candy, because every episode had a well-considered theme, but the compilations were put together out of order without any consideration for even the thinnest of narrative threads. When NBC’s final offer to change time slots was the Sunday hour opposite the popular 60 Minutes, the show and the network mutually agreed to part ways, and the sixth and final season aired in the U.S. on Cinemax.

12. RICK MORANIS WAS THE ONLY CAST MEMBER TO NOT COME FROM THE SECOND CITY IMPROV GROUP

Moranis didn’t go to McMaster University with Dave Thomas like Martin Short and Eugene Levy did, but he earned his job as a stand-up, a DJ, and a writer for the CBC who hit it off with Thomas at a party. Thomas brought him on beginning in the third season.

13. THE MCKENZIE BROTHERS WERE CREATED TO ANNOY THE CANADIAN BROADCASTING COMPANY

Bob (Moranis) and Doug McKenzie (Thomas), the knit cap-wearing, beer-loving Canadian stereotypes that hosted the extremely popular The Great White North segments, were borne from CBC executives’ insistence that two minutes of each episode be dedicated exclusively to its Canadian audience. Thomas claimed in 2000 that it was “a mean-spirited joke to mock the incessant demands for Canadian content programming.

14. THERE WAS A MCKENZIE BROTHERS ALBUM, A MOVIE BASED ON HAMLET, AND A PARADE

The 1981 comedy album Bob & Doug McKenzie: The Great White North was #1 on the Canadian music charts for five weeks and was nominated for a Best Comedy Album Grammy. That album’s success led to the 1983 movie Strange Brew. It only made $8.5 million, but that was a little more than double its budget. Bob and Doug were meant to be the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, with the character Pam, the daughter of the owner of the brewery factory who died under mysterious circumstances, as Hamlet. Bob and Doug were so popular that Toronto’s Yonge Street hosted a parade in their honor.

15. TONY BENNETT’S CAREER COMEBACK WAS PARTIALLY THANKS TO HIS ‘THE GREAT WHITE NORTH’ APPEARANCE

After his son Danny took over as his manager in 1979, Tony was booked on SCTV, Late Night with David Letterman, The Simpsons, and on Howard Stern’s radio show to successfully introduce himself to a new generation.

16. BEN STILLER HAS BEEN A FAN FOR HIS WHOLE LIFE

Stiller recalled to Dave Thomas that he had attended a McKenzie Brothers record signing as a kid at Rockefeller Center. As an adult almost two decades later from that cold day, he admitted that his short-lived but Emmy-winning sketch comedy show The Ben Stiller Show was an attempt to “rip off” SCTV.

17. ALICE COOPER THANKED COUNT FLOYD ON ONE OF HIS ALBUMS

Joe Flaherty’s Count Floyd character was an over-the-top horror film host dressed like a vampire that was himself an alter-ego of Floyd Robertson, an anchor for the fictional SCTV Network’s news division. Alice Cooper gave him a “special thanks” on his 1981 album Special Forces.

18. MILTON BERLE AND SCTV HAD A FEUD (SCTV WON)

When Flaherty accepted SCTV’s 1982 Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program, the famed comedian kept interrupting him. After Berle said that a joke of Flaherty’s wasn’t funny, Flaherty jerked his head sideways and told the then 74-year-old Berle to “go to sleep,” which put an end to the heckling. Not fully satisfied, a future SCTV sketch had Eugene Levy as Berle getting a punch in the face from Joe Flaherty, as Kris Kristofferson.

tv
nextArticle.image_alt|e
Telepictures
arrow
entertainment
10 Things You Might Not Know About Love Connection
Telepictures
Telepictures

Between September 19, 1983 and July 1, 1994, Chuck Woolery—who had been the original host of Wheel of Fortune back in 1975—hosted the syndicated, technologically advanced dating show Love Connection. (The show was briefly revived in 1998-1999, with Pat Bullard as host.) The premise featured either a single man or single woman who would watch audition tapes of three potential mates discussing what they look for in a significant other, and then pick one for a date. The producers would foot the bill, shelling out $75 for the blind date, which wasn’t taped. The one rule was that between the end of the date and when the couple appeared on the show together, they were not allowed to communicate—so as not to spoil the next phase.

A couple of weeks after the date, the guest would sit with Woolery in front of a studio audience and tell everybody about the date. The audience would vote on the three contestants, and if the audience agreed with the guest’s choice, Love Connection would offer to pay for a second date.

The show became known for its candor: Couples would sometimes go into explicit detail about their dates or even insult one another’s looks. Sometimes the dates were successful enough to lead to marriage and babies, and the show was so popular that by 1992, the video library had accrued more than 30,000 tapes “of people spilling their guts in five-minutes snippets.”

In 2017, Fox rebooted Love Connection with Andy Cohen at the helm; the second season started airing in May. But here are a few things you might not have known about the dating series that started it all.

1. AN AD FOR A VIDEO DATING SERVICE INSPIRED THE SHOW.

According to a 1986 People Magazine article, the idea for Love Connection came about when creator Eric Lieber spied an ad for a video dating service and wanted to cash in on the “countless desperate singles out there,” as the article states. “Everyone thinks of himself as a great judge of character and likes to put in two cents,” Lieber said. “There’s a little yenta in all of us.”

2. CONTESTANTS WERE GIVEN SOMETHING CALLED A PALIO SCORE.

Staff members would interview potential contestants and rate them on a PALIO score, which stands for personality, appearance, lifestyle, intelligence, and occupation. Depending on the results, the staff would rank the potential guests as either selectors or selectees.

3. IN 1987, THE FIRST OF MANY LOVE CONNECTION BABIES WAS BORN.

John Schultz and Kathleen Van Diggelen met on a Love Connection date, which didn’t end up airing. “They said, ‘John, she’s so flat, if you can’t rip her up on the set, we can’t use you,’” he told People in 1988. “I said, ‘I can’t do that.’” However, they got married on an episode of Hollywood Squares. As the article stated, “Their son, Zachary, became the first baby born to a Love Connection-mated couple.”

4. IT LED TO OTHER DATING SHOWS, LIKE THE BACHELOR.

Mike Fleiss not only created The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but he’s also responsible for reviving Love Connection. “I always had a soft spot for that show,” Fleiss told the Los Angeles Times in 2017. He said he was friends with Lieber and that the show inspired him to “venture into the romance TV space.” “I remember it being simple and effective,” he said about the original Love Connection. “And I remember wanting to find out what happened on those dates, the he said-she said of it all. It was intriguing.”

5. A FUTURE ACTOR FROM THE SOPRANOS WAS A CONTESTANT.

Lou Martini Jr., then known as Louis Azzara, became a contestant on the show during the late 1980s. He and his date, Angela, hit it off so well that they couldn’t keep their hands off one another during the show. Martini famously talked about her “private parts,” and she referred to him as “the man of my dreams.” The relationship didn’t last long, though. “I had just moved to LA and was not ready to commit to anything long-term," Martini commented under the YouTube clip. "The show was pushing me to ask her to marry me on the show!" If Martini looks familiar it’s because he went on to play Anthony Infante, Johnny Sack’s brother-in-law, on four episodes of season six of The Sopranos.

6. BEFORE THE SHOW WENT OFF THE AIR, A LOT OF CONTESTANTS GOT MARRIED.

During the same Entertainment Weekly interview, the magazine asked Woolery what the show’s “love stats” were, and he responded with 29 marriages, eight engagements, and 15 children, which wasn’t bad considering 2120 episodes had aired during its entire run. “When you think that it’s someone in our office putting people together through questionnaires and tapes, it’s incredible that one couple got married, much less 29,” he said.

7. CHUCK WOOLERY WAS AGAINST FEATURING SAME SEX COUPLES.

In a 1993 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the interviewer asked him “Would you ever have gay couples on Love Connection?” Woolery said no. “You think it would work if a guy sat down and I said, ‘Well, so where did you meet and so and so?’ then I get to the end of the date and say, ‘Did you kiss?’ Give me a break,” he said. “Do you think America by and large is gonna identify with that? I don’t think that works at all.” What a difference a quarter-century makes. Andy Cohen, who is openly gay, asked Fox if it would be okay to feature gay singles on the new edition of Love Connection. Fox immediately agreed.

8. ERIC LIEBER LIKED THE SHOW’S “HONEST EMOTIONS.”

When asked about the show's winning formula, Lieber once said: “The show succeeds because we believe in honest emotions. And, admit it—we’re all a little voyeuristic and enjoy peeking into someone else’s life.”

9. IN LIVING COLOR DID A HILARIOUS PARODY OF THE SHOW.

In the first sketch during In Living Color's pilot—which aired April 15, 1990—Jim Carrey played Woolery in a Love Connection parody. Robin Givens (played by Kim Coles) went on a date with Mike Tyson (Keenan Ivory Wayans) and ended up marrying him during the date. (As we know from history, the real-life marriage didn’t go so well.) The audience had to vote for three men: Tyson, John Kennedy Jr., and, um, Donald Trump. Tyson won with 41 percent of the vote and Trump came in second with 34 percent.

10. A PSYCHOLOGIST THOUGHT THE SHOW HAD A “MAGICAL HOPEFULNESS” QUALITY.

In 1986, People Magazine interviewed psychologist and teacher Dr. Richard Buck about why people were attracted to Love Connection. “Combine the fantasy of finding the perfect person with the instant gratification of being on TV, and the two are a powerful lure,” he said. “There’s a magical hopefulness to the show.”

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Steve Schofield, BBC Worldwide
arrow
entertainment
New Doctor Who Cast and Crew Are Coming to San Diego Comic-Con
Steve Schofield, BBC Worldwide
Steve Schofield, BBC Worldwide

Though Doctor Who fans got a glimpse of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor in “Twice Upon a Time,” the iconic sci-fi series’s 2017 Christmas special, it will be a few more months until the first female Time Lord officially commandeers the TARDIS. While the new cast and crew have kept relatively mum on what to expect from the new season, which premieres in the fall, BBC America just announced that they’ll be gathering together in July to take part in their first-ever group panel at San Diego Comic-Con.

While Whittaker will be front and center on the panel, which will be hosted by Chris Hardwick, she’ll be joined by two of her three confirmed companions—Tosin Cole (who’ll play Ryan) and Mandip Gill (who’ll play Yasmin). Bradley Walsh, who is not confirmed to be in attendance, will play Whittaker’s main companion, Graham. Also joining the panel are executive producer Matt Strevens and writer-turned-showrunner Chris Chibnall, who has a long history with the series and with Whittaker (he’s the creator of Broadchurch, which saw former Doctor David Tennant star alongside new Doctor Whittaker).

“With this year’s highly-anticipated season packed full of action, adventure, humor and emotion, the panel will be the cast’s first-ever panel appearance ahead of Doctor Who premiering this fall on BBC AMERICA,” the network noted in a press release.

New faces both in front of and behind the cameras won’t be the only changes coming to the eleventh season of Doctor Who. Instead of 12 episodes, there will only be 10, though they will run slightly longer. While it’s not confirmed, it’s expected that the TARDIS will get a slight upgrade, too. But the most noticeable difference will be in the theme music: In February, the show’s longtime composer Murray Gold confirmed that he would not be returning for the new season. Which means that Whovians should prepare for a whole new look and sound.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios