This Was Television On July 29

1983: Friday Night Videos debuts

NBC, attempting to replicate the burgeoning success of MTV, began airing the 90-minute bloc of music videos and variety programming Fridays at 12:30 a.m. EST. Although Friday Night Videos never attained the cultural cachet of its cable counterpart, it did prove a more accessible option for millions of viewers who in the early 1980s still relied on the Big Three networks for their entire TV diet.

Through a variety of time slots and format changes, the series lasted on the air into the 21st century. It variously became Friday Night and then Late Friday, before undergoing its most dramatic shift into a show about high school football in small-town Texas. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: “Captain” Lou Albano, wrestler/plumber (d. 2009); Ken Burns, detailed documentarian (59); Robert Fuller, Laramie cowpoke (79); Tim Gunn, runway guru (59); Robert Horton, in like Flint (88); Allison Mack, Smallvillian (30); Josh Radnor, has never actually met anyone’s mother (38); Tony Sirico, Soprano sidekick (60); Wil Wheaton, Trek teen (40).

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