Bill Cosby appeared in early episodes of Sesame Street, filmed at a studio on Broadway and 81st Street. He would bring a much-needed hit to New York’s television production scene over a decade later with The Cosby Show. (Pic courtesy Sesame Workshop)
PODCAST In the third part of the Bowery Boys Summer TV Mini-Series, I give you a grand tour of the New York City television production world from the 1970s to today, from the debut of Sesame Street in the Upper West Side to the new productions which flourished in the 1990s.
Along the way, hear about the debuts of public access, HBO, MTV, NY1 and, of course, the TV show that employed thousands of New Yorkers during its two-decade run — Law and Order.
PLUS: A few locations used on Seinfeld, Sex and the City and The Cosby Show!
To get this week’s episode, simply download it for FREE from iTunes or other podcasting services.
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A COUPLE CORRECTIONS: I gleefully went off my notes on a few occasions this show, accounting for some mis-statements. For instance, The Cosby Show is obviously a ‘family comedy’, not a ‘family drama’. And New York cable viewers could get MTV within a month of its debut, not a couple months.
OMISSIONS: To make this a 20-minute show, I did have to lose mentions of a few shows that featured New York City, such as NYPD Blue. But there was no excuse to breeze past the 1975 debut of Saturday Night Live, although it was briefly mentioned in part two in our discussion of 30 Rockefeller Center. Also: while not as iconic show as the others mentions, many in the industry look to the moment in 2008 when Ugly Betty left Los Angeles for New York as another significant turning point.
The first episode of Rapid T Rabbit and Friends from 1983, which debuted in February 1983.
When actor Will Lee died in 1982, Sesame Street producers decided to have his character, Mr. Hooper, die on the show.
How Home Box Office looked in the 1970s:
A scene from Seinfeld featuring Keith Hernandez:
The original opening for Law & Order from its debut in 1990:
Carrie Bradshaw’s first encounter with that bus and water puddle from the first season opener of Sex And The City:
Kaufman Astoria Studios opened in the 1920s as a silent film studio; today it hosts both TV and film productions. It’s also the home of Sesame Street! (Photo courtesy Kaufman Astoria Studios)