Saturday Night TV

The TV networks have completed their upfronts, the annual presentation of their fall schedules to advertisers.

Looking at the Fall 2012 programming grid, the thing that really jumps out is how lame Saturday night network programming is these days. It’s all repeats or sports, plus a news magazine show.

When I was a kid in the 1980s, there was lots to watch on Saturday nights, especially on NBC. For years, NBC had a two-hour sitcom block on Saturdays, including such shows as Diff’rent Strokes, Silver Spoons, The Facts of Life, Gimme a Break, Mama’s Family, and The Golden Girls. We usually had a sitter on Saturday nights, so it was great TV fare.

As I got a little older I would also watch The Love Boat on ABC; it was followed by Fantasy Island, but that was at the very adult hour of 10 pm, which was too late for me. And anyway I was never really into that show like I was into The Love Boat. I had a TV in my bedroom, and I have this memory of watching the closing credits of The Love Boat and being sad because it meant Saturday night was over and I had to go to bed so I could get up the next morning and go to Hebrew school:

If you’re curious, here’s the 1983-84 network TV schedule. (Ah, Jennifer Slept Here. Mr. Smith. We Got it Made.)

At the bottom of that page you can see links for other years.