As the feminist movement was making its mark on American society, The Mary Tyler Moore Show gave American TV one of its most enduring female heroes. The eponymous star, a sitcom veteran, created an indelible lead in Mary Richards, associate producer of the evening news at Minneapolis’s WJM. The CBS sitcom ran for seven seasons and spawned MTM Productions, which would become one of the driving aesthetic forces of network television in the 1970s.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show won 29 Emmy Awards, a total which stood as the record for Emmy wins until surpassed by Frasier in 2002. The series also inspired three successful spinoffs—Rhoda, Phyllis, and Lou Grant—and one unsuccessful spinoff, Chuckles the Clown: The Early Years. -A.D.
Also on September 19:
1952: Look! On the air! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No—it’s The Adventures of Superman, the pulpy syndicated series starring George Reeves as the Man of Steel, which ran for six seasons starting on this date.
1965: The first live interview over satellite is conducted when British Prime Minister Harold Wilson appears on NBC’s Meet The Press.
1983: For the first time in the history of the English language, vowels cost money… at least to the contestants on Wheel of Fortune, the syndicated game show hosted by Pat Sajak and Vanna White which kicked off its run on this date.
1994: With what’s considered one of the most memorable pilots ever aired, NBC’s hospital drama ER debuts. The ratings juggernaut powered on for 15 seasons and, during its 1990s heyday, was a cornerstone of the Peacock’s Must See TV line-up.
2005: Haaaaave you met Ted? You have if you were watching CBS on this date, when How I Met Your Mother premiered. The ensemble comedy steadily climbed in the ratings over its first few years, on its way to becoming one of today’s most popular network sitcoms.
Today’s Birthdays: Jimmy Fallon, emcee (38); Frances Farmer, presenter (d. 1970); Rosemary Harris, Masterpiece player (85); William Hickey, Wrigley grandpa (d. 1997); Caroline John, companion (d. 2012); Randolph Mantooth, paramedic (67); Cheri Oteri, Spartan (50); Ernie Sabella, resort owner (63); Alison Sweeney, Days player (36); Adam West, Caped Crusader (84).