The channel is creating a variety-show block to air weekly on Mondays from 8-11 p.m. “Judy Garland Show” episodes will open at 8 p.m., followed by various vintage musical and entertainment specials and at 10 p.m. by an episode of Merv Griffin’s talk show, which ran for more than 20 years starting in 1965.
“It has been a labor of love to bring back both Judy and Merv and our whole variety slate,” said Jeff Meier, senior VP of programming for getTV. “Much of our audience grew up on the musical variety genre, yet no one is airing these fantastic shows anymore. We’re very proud to put them back in circulation, so that our viewers can rediscover these great entertainers and a new generation can enjoy them for the first time.”
“Merv Griffin” guests over the years ranged from Hollywood legends including John Wayne, Lucille Ball and Joan Crawford to political and social leaders such as Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Richard Nixon. GetTV licensed the episodes from Reelin’ in the Years Prods. Most of the episodes have not been seen on TV since their original airings.
“Judy Garland” CBS series ran for only a short time, in 1963 and 1964, but featured performances from Barbra Streisand, Lena Horne, Ethel Merman, Tony Bennett and other notables. Among the show’s highlights was Garland’s emotional performance of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in late 1963 following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The episodes were licensed from World Live Nation Entertainment.
The variety and musical specials to air in the 9 p.m. slot are a range of titles licensed from Legacy Entertainment and vintage TV specialist Paul Brownstein Prods.
GetTV’s revival of “Merv Griffin” comes on the heels of Antenna TV’s announcement that Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” will return to late-night with full episodes airing seven nights a week starting Jan. 1.
(Pictured: Richard Pryor on “The Merv Griffin Show.”)