With the Parkersburg-Marietta area about to get a new CBS station, this blog is dedicated to what people once called "The Tiffany Network", and what the more cynical still refer to as "The Eyeball Network".
(For historical purposes, the research I did ten years ago for WTAP's 50th anniversary revealed something I did not know before: that while WTAP has been known for decades as an NBC station, it was a CBS affiliate early in its existence.)
Living in northern New York State during my growing up years, the closest local station to our area in the pre-cable days was a CBS station in Watertown, New York. Therefore, we watched a lot of CBS programming.
As most people of baby boom age and older remember, that was the era of Lucy (you don't have to say Lucille Ball for people to understand who you're talking about), Jack Benny, Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, Ed Sullivan and Carol Burnett. And those were just the variety shows.
There was The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show (always known to me as the show which made Mary Tyler Moore famous), Gomer Pyle USMC, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and a few lesser (but no less funny) off-shoots.
When there was news (and there was plenty in those days), we watched Walter Cronkite at 6:30. 60 Minutes premiered during that era. And while CBS's one news failure has been its morning show, The CBS Morning News in the early 1960's introduced much of America to a hot-shot reporter named Mike Wallace.
In spite of its morning show foibles, CBS dominated daytime. I still remember running to the TV to watch Password after my mother had just seen another installment of As The World Turns. The original Price Is Right once aired on other networks, but even people of my generation mainly remember contestants being called to "come on down" to face Bob Barker (and now Ohioan Drew Carey) on stage.
NCIS may or may not be Perry Mason. But one thing CBS has in common today with its past is that, projected over an entire season, it is the number one network in prime time. And while founder William Paley might not "get" Survivor, no doubt, somewhere, he is smiling.
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