Becomes an Affiliate of NBC, Digital Years 2005-present
Channel 17, Decatur IL
4: WAND The ABC Years 1986-2005
Simpson was the morning anchor for the local news at 6:30am, then
6:00am and during the local news breaks during Good Morning America.
My Children" was one of the most popular daytime drams during
1980's and 90's. It aired at Noon weekdays on WAND.
1985 the success of "Dynasty"
brought a spin off series which ran from
1985 to 1987. "The Colbys"
had an all star cast including Charlton
Heston, Katherine Ross, Ricardo Montalban, Barbara Stanwyck, David
Hedison, Ken Howard and Kevin McCarthy.
former NBC prime time sitcom was entering it's final days on ABC.
shifted to ABC in September of 1985 where it ran
until August of 1986. The series starred Conrad Bain, Gary
Coleman, Todd Bridges, Dana Plato and Charlotte Rae.
During a good part of the late
1980's, the WAND anchor team consisted of (left to right): Tom Green,
Rick Zurak, Kim Sherwood and Loren Boatman.
photo courtesy of the
Bob Wilcott Collection)
WAND picked up this first run
syndicated rework of the original "Dating Game" to air after the late
news at 10:35pm. The show was hosted by Elaine Joyce.
This was from the fall of 1986.
ad from the Doug Quick collection)
1986 to 1990, ABC prime time included the following series: The Disney
Sunday Movie, MacGyver, Monday Night Football, Who's the Boss?, Growing
Pains, Moonlighting, Jack and Mike, Perfect Strangers, Head of the
Class, Dynasty, Hotel, Our World, The Colbys, 20/20, Webster, Mr.
Belvedere, Sidekicks, Sledge Hammer, Starman, Life With Lucy, Ellen
Burstyn Show, Heart of the City, Spencer for Hire, Dolly, Buck James,
Thirty Something, Hooperman, Slap Maxwell Story, The Charmings, Full
House, I Married Dora, Max Headroom, One a Hero, Ohara, Mission
Impossible, Roseanne, Wonder Years, China Beach, Knightwatch, Just the
Ten of Us, Murphy's Law, Police Story, Life Goes On, Free Spirit,
Homeroom, Chicken Soup, Doogie Houser MD, Anything But Love, Young
Riders, Primetime Live, Living Dolls, American's Funniest Home Videos,
Coach, Married People, Cop Rock, Father Dowling Mysteries, Gabriel's
Fire, Going Places, Twin Peaks.
"Head of the Class" premiered on ABC in 1986 where it had a home
through June of 1991. Howard Hesseman, right out of WKRP in
Cincinnati, starred as Charlie Moore from 1986 through 1990, before
being replaced by Billy Connolly as Billy MacGregor. This was a
class room sit com with advanced students who lacked some of the social
skills and maturity needed by young adults. Others in the cast
included Dan Frischman, Leslie Bega, Khrystyne Haje, Robin Givens, Tony
O'Dell and many, many more.
"Who's the Boss" was going strong
during the the late 1980's, having premiered in 1984 and ran
through 1992. The popular sitcom starred Judith Light, Tony
Danza, Alyssa Milano, Danny Pintauro, Katherine Helmond and others.
"The Love Boat" ended it's long run
by 1986. By the end Lauren Tewes was gone, and replaced by Pat
Klous, Ted McGinley was added in 1984 as a photographer, and Jill
Whealan was added as the Captain, Gavin MacLeod's niece. As a
point of trivia, the Love Boat employed a number of Love Boat
"Mermaids" who were seen lounging around the pool. One of those
mermaids was Terri Hatcher who would be a major part of the ABC prime
time schedule as one of the "Desparate Housewives."
"Growing Pains" began it's run on
ABC in 1985 where it continued through 1992. The family sitcom
starred Alan Thicke, Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy
Miller and others. Thicke played Dr. Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist
who moved his practice to his suburban New York home in order to keep
an eye on the kids, after his wife Maggie Seaver, played by Kerns, went
back to work. It did feature story lines which were relevant to
the day, but all in all the stories were all quite safe.
was one of ABC's most popular series of the late 1980's. The hour
long hit ran on ABBC from 1985 through 1989 and starred Cybill Shepherd
and made a star out of Bruce Willis. The cast included Allyce
Beasley and Curtis Armstrong. This "hip" romantic comedy-drama
took the sexual chemistry of the two stars about as far as it could,
before "jumping the shark" during it's final season when Shephard's
character, Maddie Hayes became pregnant. They were also prone to
addressing the audience from time to time. Production problems
and disputes among the stars finally finished the popular series,
long before it would have faded. Too bad.
"North and South"
aired in 1985 followed in 1986 with "North and South, Book II" was one
of the sprawling mini-series which were popular during the
1980's. This one with it's all TV star cast included Patrick
Swayze, Genie Francis, Terri Garber, Lewis Smith, Lesley Anne Down,
David Carridine, Parker Stevenson, Kirstie Alley, mary Crosby, Jonathan
Frakes, Lloyd Bridges, Olivia de Havilland, Linda Evans, Morgan
Fairchild, Hal Holbrook, Lee Horsley, Nancy Marchand, Wayne Newton,
Simmons, James Stewart, David Ogden Stiers and more. The
mini-series was based on the novel by John Jakes and included the story
of two families preceding the Civil War.
Each installment was 12 hours total making the entire series a total of
24 hours of pure blockbuster 1980's TV mini-series entertainment.
During the years of 1986-87 one
bright spot on ABC was virtually unnoticed because it was up against
the NBC Thursday night line-up of Cosby, Family Ties, Cheers and Night
Court. "Our World: It's
About Time" was a relatively inexpensive way to air prime-time
programming against a virtually unbeatable NBC schedule. This was
one of my favorites. I still have several of them on VHS and will
dub to DVD as soon as I can. Hosted by Linda Ellerby and Ray
Gandolf, each installment would feature a time in history and by
using newsreel footage, historical pictures and interviews would
re-create what was happening at that time. The set was like the
inside of a TGIFriday's with objects, pictures, images of the era being
examined. I only wish this series was available on DVD now.
Some examples of the times featured: October of 1938, Summer of 1969
and many others. It was interesting to see what was happening
when you were born, because if you were a boomer, this series probably
featured at least a half dozen of very memorable eras in one's
life. This was documentary TV at it's best!
"Max Headroom" had it's fans, just
not very many of them. This short lived series, straight from
cable, ran on ABC during the spring of 1987 and again in August through
October of 1987. Matt Frewer stared as the computer generated
character who popped up on TV screens to make comments about the others
in the series. He was at Channel 23, and modeled about an ace
reporter. Unfortunately, or many on purpose, he would suffer from
jerky movements, digital skips and repetition.
Max Headroom was also used in a series of Coke commercials during the
era. How do possibly describe this one?
(TV Guide cover/ad
pictures courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection)
(above): WAND anchors Tom Green and Julie Moore
in 1987. (near above): The
introduction of the off network "Cosby Show" which was just picked up
for the prime time access slot at 6:30pm on WAND in the fall of 1988. Also
notice the new logo, was was the beginning of the elimination of the use of
channel 17 as an identifier. (left): WAND logo from
the fall of 1988
Guide ads from the Doug Quick collection)
(TV Guide Ad from the Doug
Urich was quickly becoming an ABC network star player. His
success on "Vegas" during the 1978-81 seasons led him to "Spensor for Hire" which ran from
1985 through 1988. The detective series also included Avery
Brooks, Barbara Stoke, Richard Jaeckel, Ron McLarty and Carolyn
McCormick. The series was filmed on location in Boston.
was during the 1970's that Pat Morita played Arnold on "Happy
Days." Then, there was the movie "The Karate Kid." His
popularity was capitalized on with ABC's "OHara." ABC worked hard to
make this one work. The time slot, format and background story
was changed several times. The supporting players were totally
changed during the fall of 1987 as Ohara went from a LA cop to a
member of a federal task force. Then, he quit the force and
became a private investigator. He just didn't seem to be able to
keep a job.
long running ABC sitcom, "Full House"
premiered in 1987 where it would continue through 1995. Bob Saget
starred with John Stamous, David Coulier, Candace Cameron, Jodie
Sweetin, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen along with Lori Laughlin.
This sit com would continue for many years in syndication on cable and
"MacGyver" was co-produced by Henry
Winkler(of "Happy Days") and starred Richard Dean Anderson and Dana
Elcar. MacGyver was a former Special Forces agent who found a job
with the Phoenix Foundation which was dedicated with righting wrongs
and helping the good guys win over the bad guys. He solved
situations by ingenuity and creating things out of other things.
ABC said that everything done in the show was scientifically possible.
1987 this was the Saturday night lineup, at least for awhile. The
first show was "Once a Hero"
which starred Jeff Lester and Milo O'Shea and had the honor of being
the first ABC cancellation of the fall 1987 season. It was
followed by "Ohara" and "Spensor for Hire."
ABC presented the Disney movie "Mary
Poppins" as part of it's Sunday night schedule in 1987.
The classic children's movie starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van
This still is from the promo which aired prior to the actual broadcast
and recorded from an actual WAND broadcast.
ABC sitcom ran from 1985 through 1990 and starred Christopher Hewett as
"Mr. Belvedere" Lynn
Belvedere as a butler for a career couple in Philadelphia. The
series was based on the movie which starred Clifton Webb.
"Live Goes On" was
a gentle family 60 minute drama which featured a
lead character who had Downs Syndrome. Corky was played by
Christopher Burke. The family was played by Bill Smitrovich,
Patti LuPone, Kellie Martin, Monique Lanier(and Tracey Needham).
The theme of the series was written by The Beatles, "Ob-La-Di,
Ob-La-Da." This ABC series was much loved and was a very popular
"Life Goes On" ran on ABC from 1989 through 1993.
series also included a theme written by Lennon-McCartney of The
Beatles. "With a Little Help from my Friends" introduced "The
Wonder Years." Fred Savage starred as Kevin Arnold, Jason
played his brother Wayne. Olivia d'Abo was sister Karen.
The cast also included Alley Mills, Dan Lauria, Josh Saviano and Danica
McKellar as Winnie Cooper. The Wonder Years" aired on ABC from
1988 to 1993.
First it was Roseanne Barr, then it was Roseanne Arnold and somewhere
along the line it was just "Roseanne."
This ground breaking sit com wasn't pretty....but it was one of the
biggest TV hits of the late 1980's. Its cast was superb with
Roseanne, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf and yes....even
George Clooney...?? Mr. Clooney played Booker Brooks during the
1988-89 season. The Conner family was a typical blue collar
family living in the Chicago area, where they struggled with money,
family issues and dynamics and common teenage issues as well.
Roseanne always had a "snappy comeback" to all members of the family
when ever there was a complaint. This hit sit com ran on ABC from
Ken Olin, Mel Harris, Brittany and Lacey Craven, Timothy Busfield,
Patricia Wettig and Luke Rossi were among the cast members of "Thirty Something." The
"yuppie" based series ran on ABC from 1987 to 1991 on Tuesday nights
from 9 to 10pm CT on ABC and WAND. The cast was dealing with the
problems in careers and families as well as relationships with their
"Just the Ten of Us" aired from 1988
to 1990 on ABC. This sit com included Bill Kirchenbauer, Deborah
Harmon, Heather Langenkamp Brooke Theiss and Jamie Luner as the
Lubbocks. This spin-off from "Growing Pains" took place at an all
boys school and featured a teacher at an all boys Catholic school who
Viet Nam war was the setting for "China
Beach." In this series, which featured the story of a
group of men and women of a Army hospital during the Viet Nam
war. This series featured many up and coming stars including Dana
Delany, Marg Helgenberger, Concetta Tomei, Megan Gallagher, and even
future talk show host Ricki Lake. Others included Chloe Webb,
Michael Boatman, Robert Picardo and Brian Wimmer. "China Beach" aired at many
different times on the prime time schedule from 1988 to 1991.
ABC mystery series was one for the old folks. "Father Dowling Mysteries" featured
long time "Happy Days" dad, this time as Father Dowling a crime solving
priest. His right hand man-sister was Sister Stephanie(Steve)
played by Rick Nelson's real life daughter Tracy Nelson. Even
though this series began it's life on NBC during the 1989 season, it
ended it in 1991 on ABC.
The ABC Logo from
1989. This animated logo included a number of "belts" which formed the
circular image around the classic abc fonts.
"America's Watching ABC" was the slogan used
during the 1990-91 season.
"Coach" is one of my personal favorites
having aired on ABC from 1989 to 1997. The series also included
one of my favorite "character" actors, Jerry Van Dyke. Coach
Hayden Fox was played by Craig T. Nelson with the beautiful Shelley
Fabares(see "The Donna Reed Show") as his girl friend and eventually
fiancé. His coaching staff were two of the most worst
ever, even though they were lovable. Assistant Coach Luther Van
Dam was played by Van Dyke and Dauber Dybinski was played by Bill
Fagerbakke. Coach Fox's daughter was played by Clare Carey.
Other supporting players came and went during the long running
series. They included Pam Stone, Ken Kimmins, Georgia Engel and
This series also
was a syndication favorite on local stations, including WICS/WICD
during the 1990's.
Neil Patrick Harris starred as "Doogie Houser,
M.D." from 1989 to 1993. This sit com was the story of
who was a 16 year old doctor who because of his incredible intelligence
was a resident at Eastman Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Supporting players included James B. Sikking, Belinda Montgomery, Max
Casella, Lawrence Pressman, Mitchell Anderson, Lisa Dean Ryan,
Lucy Boryer and Kathryn Layng.
This TV sitcom
family premiered in September of 1989 and continued on ABC until "Family Matters"
switched to CBS in
September of 1997, after the show pretty much wore out it's
welcome. How many times could Steve Urkel say "Did I do
that?" Stars included Jo Marie Payton-Noble, Reginald VelJohnson,
Kellie Shanygne Williams, Darious McCrary, Jamee Foxworth, Rosetta
LeNoire, Thelma Hopkins, Jaleel White(as Urkel) and many more.
It's about a black urban family living in Chicago. It lived on in
syndication as well.
"The Match Game" was resurrected for
ABC during the weekdays in July of 1990. This version was hosted
by Ross Shafer and ran for one year.
is a graphic from the "ABC Monday
Night Movie." Most of these were theatrical movies shown
during the early 1990's.
"Step by Step" was part of the TGIF
Friday night series of sitcoms designed for the kids. This one
starred Patrick Duffy(of Dallas) and Suzanne Somers(Three's Company)
together with Brandon Call and Christine Lakin, Josh Byrne, Staci
Keanan, Angela Watson and more, including one season with Bronson
Pinchot(Perfect Strangers). It ran on ABC from 1991-1998 and
finished it's run on CBS in 1998.
police drama starred Michael Chiklis as "The Commish" Commissioner Tony
Scali of Eastbridge, just north of New York. Even though the
series ran from 1991 to 1995, the series also generated a couple of TV
movies after the series had ended.
it was an interesting title anyway, "Two
Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place. " The sitcom was set in
Boston and starred Ryan Reynolds, Richard R. Ruccolo, Tralor Howard,
Jennifer Westfeldt, Julius Carry and David Ogden Stiers among
others. This one aired from 1998 to 2001 all on ABC.
an odd sit com for you..."Hi Honey,
I'm Home" was a 1950's sit com family, placed in contemporary
times. While the family played by Charlotte Booker, Stephen
Bradbury, Builie Benz and Danny Gura were straight out of the
1950's the neighbors were all about today....divorce, sex,
technology, etc.. I'm sorry I missed this one, but, so did
everyone else, only running from mid July to late August of 1991 as
part of the TGIF set of Friday night shows on ABC. It also shows
up on Nickelodeon.
another sit com which lasted over three years and somehow I missed
it! "Anything But Love"
starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis who both ended up writing
for Chicago Weekly Magazine. Both facing each other across each
others desk. Two opposites, but strangely attracted to each
other. This sitcom ran from 1989 to 1992 on ABC and WAND.
didn't miss any of these episodes..."Twin
Peaks" was well ahead of it's time and unfortunately not many
people "got it"...but I'm not even sure I did...but I loved it.
This David Lynch and Mark Frost serial drama had lots of comedy in
it...but was incredibly visual...I would call it "eye candy." It
ran from April 1990 through June of 1991 and starred Kyle MacLachlan,
Michael Ontkean, Joan Chen, Piper Laurie, Jack Nance, Ray Wise Sheryl
Lee, Dana Ashbrook, Everett McGill, Russ Tamblyn, Richard Beymer and
many, many more. It's interesting to note that Russ Taymblyn and
Richard Beymer starred together in the 1961 movie "West Side
Story." The one armed man was a nod to the TV show "The
Fugitive." The music score, the photography was
incedible...and the show has surely influenced several shows on ABC
during the 2010 season....like "Happy Town" and "Flash Forward."
ABC series, "Cop Rock" ran a
total of 4 months during late 1990.
It was a tough, somewhat brutal and violent police drama which was....a
musical?? That's it! A musical! It starred Barbara
Bosson, Ronnie Cox, Larry Joshua, Peter Onorati and many more.
The title song was written and performed by Randy Newman.
The 1991 to 1995 ABC Prime Time
schedule included the following series: Life Goes On, America's
Funniest Videos, MacGyver, Monday Night Football, Full House, Home
Improvement, Roseanne, Coach, Homefront, Dinosaurs, Wonder Years,
Doogie Howser MD, Sibs, Anything But Love, Good and Evil, Pros and
FBI: The Untold Stories, American Detective, Primetime Live, Family
Matters, Step by Step, Perfect Strangers, Baby Talk, 20/20, Who's the
Boss, Growing Pains, Young Riders, The Commish, Young Indiana Jones
Chronicles, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, Going to Extremes, Laurie Hill,
Civil Wars, Delta, Room for Two, Camp Wilder, Covington Cross, Lois and
Clark, Day One, Phenom, NYPD Blue, Thea, Joe's Life, Home Improvement,
Grace Under Fire, Moon Over Miami, Missing Persons, Matlock, Boy Meets
World, George, Where I Live, Paula Poundstone Show, Blue Skies, Me and
the Boys, Thunder Alley, All American Girl, Ellen, Turning Point, My
So-Called Life, McKenna, The Marshall, Hudson Street, Drew Carey Show,
Naked Truth, Charlie Grace, The Monroes, Murder One, Jeff Foxworthy
Show and Maybe This Time.
Here's a classic, almost 1950's style of sitcom in which the
husband/father is less than perfect....but it seems the wife is, nearly
perfect. After all, she did marry him. Tim Allen stars as
Tim Taylor, "The Tool Man" on a cable TV show in Detroit. A real
klutz...but as lovable as his sons were cute. This one ran a
number of seasons, 1991 to 1999, so we got to watch the sons grow up,
but somehow, Tim didn't. Oh, well, it wouldn't be much of a show
if everyone was perfect. The stars besides Allen, was Patricia
Richardson, Zachery Ty Bryan, Jonathon Tyalor Thomas, Taran Noah Smith
and Richard Karn as his assistant Al Borland. The neighbor who
was only visible from the top of the nose upwards was played by Earl
The video is from an outside source and may eventually not be available.
This one ended up in syndication on WICS/WICD beginning during the Fall
of 1995 where it ran at 5PM before the implementation of a 5PM newscast.
"Dinosaurs" came from the creative
genius of Jim Henson, before his death. It was brought to life by
his son Brian and used an animated puppet process called "audio
animatronics." Voices were provided by Stuart Pankin, Jessica
Walter, Jason Willinger, Sally Struthers among others. It was
sitcom about a family of dinosaurs and ran on ABC from 1991 to 1994 as
part of the TGIF series of sitcoms.
"Matlock" starring TV veteran Andy
Griffith is probably running somewhere right now....even though it
started on NBC in 1986, it moved to ABC in January of 1993 where it
would run through 1995 at various time slots. This legal drama
also starred during it's ABC run: Leanne McIntyre, Cliff Lewis, Jerri
Stone and Conrad McMaster.
though it didn't start out being a TGIF series, became one during it's
second season. "Hangin' With Mr.
Cooper" started in September of 1992 and ran through August of
1997. The sitcom starred Mark Curry, Holly Robinson, Roger
Mosley, Nell Carter and others during it's run. It was described
as a 90's version of "Three's Company."
"The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles"
was created for TV by George Lucas, who pioneered the movie series with
Harrison Ford. This time, Indiana Jones was played by three
different actors at different ages, including a 10 year old Indiana
played by Corey Carrier, a 16 year old played by Sean Patrick Flanery
and a 93 year old played by George Hall. This series bounced
around the ABC schedule during the 1992-93 season.
short lived sitcom aired on ABC from March to November of 1993. "Where I Live" took place in Harlem
and was the story of three black teenage friends. It was a
more realistic view of life and those characters featured, but it's
placement on Saturday night during it's last month of life, sent it to
was one of the best police-crime dramas on TV at the the time. "NYPD Blue" was a somewhat
controversial series, because of it's realism and occasional use of
brief nudity. Stars included: Dennis Franz, David Caruso, James
McDaniel, Sherry Stringfield, Amy Brenneman, Nicholas Turturro and many
many more during it's life on ABC from 1993 to 2005.
"The Critic" was an animated sitcom
which starred the voice talents of Jon Lovitz, Christine Cavanaugh and
others. It was a prime time series on ABC from January through
July of 1994, where it moved to FOX from March to July of 1995
"Grace Under Fire" was part of the
fall season 1993 and it remained on the ABC schedule through February
1998. Starring Brett Butler, Dave Thomas and even Tom Poston and
Julie Duffy from the Bob Newhart Show. It suffered more from
behind the scene problems rather than ratings issues and eventually ABC
"The City" was a daytime
serial which aired on ABC from November of 1995 through March of
1997. The show was created by Agnes Nixon and was a spin off of a
few of the characters from "Loving" which was cancelled right before
the premiere of "The City."
was yet another of the short lived ABC series during the 1990's. "My So Called Life" starred Bess
Armstrong, Tom Irwin, Claire Danes and Lisa Wilhoit and aired on ABC
and WAND from August of 1994 to January of 1995.
"On Our Own" starred a real life
bunch of siblings who whose parents were killed in a car crash.
Now, they were battling just to stay as a family unit, ending up in St.
Louis. The older brother, also played an aunt which kept the
social workers at bay, and enabled him to be care-taker for his
family. This one aired on ABC from 1994 to 1995.
"These Friends of Mine" was the
original title, a sort of "Seinfeld" formula show that evolved into " Ellen." The show also
evolved as Ellen came "out of the closet" on an episode which aired on
April 30, 1997, becoming the first openly gay lead TV character.
This popular series aired from 1994 to 1998 where it bounced many times
from Tuesday to Wednesday and then back again, in several time periods.
members of the WAND news team in 1995. At the top left are Diane
Harrigan and Steve Delaney who were weekend anchors. At below
left is WAND Chief
Weathercaster Bob Murray.
In my opinion, Bob
was one of the best on air weathercasters the market has ever
seen. He made a great connection with his audience and involved
himself and the station in remote weathercasts where people would join
him during the broadcast.
WAND along with
being on Channel 17, by this time had dropped all reference at being
"Channel 17." The feeling of management at the time was
that the cable systems didn't place WAND on Channel 17, so why call
ourselves by that channel number. The problem was they didn't
refer to themselves as "Wand" which would have been a
natural....instead keeping WAND as letters not as a word.
Consultants know everything....??
(thanks to David Burke former Herald and
Review Radio/TV columnist for
the names of Diane Harrigan and Steve Delaney)
The 1995 to 2000 ABC Prime Time
schedule included the following series: America's Funniest
Videos, Lois and Clark, The Marshall, Monday Night Football, Roseanne,
Hudson Street, Home Improvement, Coach, NYPD Blue, Ellen, Drew Carey
Show, Grace Under Fire, Naked Truth, Primetime Live, Charlie Grace, The
Monroes, Murder One, Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Step by Step,
Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, 20/20, Jeff Foxworthy Show, Maybe This Time,
ABC Saturday Movie, Dangerous Minds, Life's Work, Spin City, Townies,
High Incident, Murder One, Turning Point, Sabrina the Teenage Witch,
Clueless, Boy Meets World, Second Noah, Common Law, Relativity,
Wonderful World of Disney, Timecop, Soul Man, Over the Top, Hiller and
Diller, Dharma nd Greg, Nothing Sacred, Cracker, You Wish, Teen Angel,
C-16, Total Security, The Practice, The Hughleys, Sports Night, Two
Guys A Girl and a Pizza Place, Secret Lives of Men, Vengeance
Unlimited, ABC Thursday Movie, Two of Kind, Brothers Keeper,
Fantasy Island, Cupid, Snoops, It's Like You Know, Once and Again, The
Norm Show, Oh Grow Up, Whose Line is it Anyway?, Wasteland, Odd Man Out.
To try to tell you
Drew Carey Show" appeared on the ABC schedule would take an
entire page, as it was bounced all over the prime time schedule between
1995 and 2004. If fact was there ever a time it didn't appear? This show about 4
working stiffs in Cleveland starred Drew Carey along with Diedrich
Bader, Ryan Stiles, Kathy Kinney and many more. This was one
series in which the star, at the completion of it's run actually
thanked the audience for "nine great years."
"Second Noah" was a family drama
about living next door to Busch Gardens in Florida. The husband
of the family was a vet at the animal park. The family took in
not only stray animals but also kids. They had eight adopted
children. The stars of this short lived series(1996-97) included
Daniel Hugh Kelly and Betsy Brantley.
it "Bewitched" or just an updated version? "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" starred
Melissa Joan Hart as Sabrina the Teenage Witch. What else do you
need to know? This sit com ran on ABC from 1996-2000, when
someone wiggled their nose and it moved to the WB stations, where it
ran through 2003.
was a sit com which was a behind the scenes look at a sportscast of the
fictional Continental Sports Channel. It ran on ABC from
1998-2000 and starred Peter Krause, Josh Charles, Felicity Huffman,
Robert Guillaume and others.
of the episodes dealt with trying to get interviews and stories and
with the competition from other sports media.
Michael J. Fox was
a hot property. Just coming off many years on "Family Ties" and a
popular movie several years before, "Back to the Future" here he
stars on "Spin
City" as Deputy Mayor, Michael Flaherty. He constantly
for his boss, the Mayor of New York City, who was prone to political
gaffes. The Mayor was played by Barry Bostwick(top right).
The rest of the cast included Alan Ruck, Richard Kind, Alexander
Chaplin, Connie Britton, Michael Boatman, Heather Locklear and Charlie
Sheen, who replaced Fox during the 2000-02 seasons. This ABC
series ran from 1996 to 2002.
Another of the ABC teen sit coms, "Clueless"
starred Rachel Blanchard, Stacey Dash, Donald Adeosun Faison and Elisa
Donovan. This series was based on the movie of the same name
which starred Alicia Silverstone. Beverly Hills was the setting
and the kids lived the great life in the wealthy LA area city.
This series ran on ABC in 1996-97, then moved to the UPN group of
"Dharma and Greg" was
a popular romantic sit com on ABC from 1997 to
2002. This one starred Jenna Elfman, Thomas Gibson as an
"opposites attract" comedy. She was a free spirit, while he was
the conservative attorney. Others in the cast included Alan
Rachins, Mimi Kennedy, Mitch Ryan and Susan Sullivan.
is not the Danny Thomas sit com of the 1970's....far from it.
This "The Practice"
aired on ABC from 1997 to 2004. Stars included Dylan McDermott,
Steve Harris, Camryn Manheim, Kelli Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton and
Lara Flynn Boyle. This award winning drama was set in a Boston
"Whose Line is it Anyway?" was a
unique variety-comedy-game show which was originally a summer series,
which lasted a little longer into the regular season. It was
hosted by then, ABC golden boy, Drew Carey and starred Ryan Stiles,
Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady. It was a part of the ABC schedule
from 1998 to 2004.
was a New York writer, who was transplanted in LA where he tended to
look at things a bit differently than what was the norm in Los
Angeles. This sit com, called "It's
Like You Know" starred Chris Eigeman, Steven Eckholdt and Evan
Handler and Jennifer Grey. This off beat sit com ran on ABC from
hit prime time game show, with the dumb question as it's title was the
hit of the 2000 season with multiple airings each week and hosted by
Regis Philbin. "Who Wants to Be
a Millionaire" quickly ran out of steam, with too much
exposure. It later went to syndication.
version of "Snoops" ran on ABC
and is not the same as the one which ran on CBS in the late
1980's. The stars of this version were Gina Gershon, Paula
Marshall, Paula Jai Parker, Danny Nucci and Edward Kerr. Glenn
Hall, Inc was a detective agency with three female PI's and one
guy. It ran on ABC from September 1999 to December 1999.
was one of those ABC series which bounced around the prime time
schedule and was used to fill holes when there appeared to be nothing
else to air. This family sit com was actually quite funny thanks
to the talents of Jim Belushi and Courtney Thorne Smith, Kimberly
Williams and Larry Joe Campbell. It's interesting to note that
the family never used a last name, in fact the neighbors didn't have
one either. Ummm.... The "no names" were part of the ABC
schedule from 2001 to 2009 but only ran on WAND through Sept 5, 2005.
is the series which made Jennifer Garner everybody's sweetheart. "Alias" was a spy drama running on
ABC from 2001 to 2006. Others in the cast included Victor Garber,
Ron Rifkin, Kevin Weisman, Carl Lumbly and Lena Olin. It
was part espionage and part serial.
"Primetime" was the blanket title of
the ABC news magazine which ran from 1989 to the present. Virtual
all of the ABC anchors, reporters had a part in the long running
series. Part real news, part entertainment news, part topical
subjects, it was a little bit of everything.
Damon Wayans was a stay at home dad(even though he was the owner of a
delivery service, he stayed at home like Ozzie Nelson) with a nearly
perfect family in a nearly perfect house in a nearly perfect
neighborhood. It almosts sounds boring, but not so....Damon
Wayans was the star of "My Wife and
Kids" which ran on ABC
from 2001 to 2005, right before the network switch of WAND from ABC to
NBC. The sit com starred Tisha Campbell-Martin as his wife, a
stock broker "Jay."
in syndication became a staple of WAND's late afternoon
lineup. "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" moved to WAND
from being on WICS/WICD during the 1980's, and has stayed at Channel 17
Alex Trebeck has
been host of the syndicated version of "Jeopardy!" since 1984.
Wayne Brady Show" from Drew Carey's "Whose Line is it Anyway"
in his own comedy/variety show from August to September 2001 and again
during March of 2002.
The 2000 to 2005 ABC Prime Time
schedule included the following series: Wonderful World of Disney, Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire?, The Practice, 20/20 Downtown, Monday Night
Football, Dharma and Greg, Geena Davis Show, Once and Again, Drew Carey
Show, Spin City, Gideon's Crossing, Primetime Thursday, Two Guys and a
Girl, Trouble with Normal, Norm, Madigan Men, 20/20, ABC Saturday
Movie, Alias, What About Joan?, Bob Patterson, Philly, My Wife and
Kids, According to Jim, Mile II: The Next Betrayal, Thieves, Once and
Again, Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, Life With
Bonnie, Less Than Perfect, George Lopez, The Bachelor, MDs, Monk,
Push Nevada, That Was Then, 10-8, I'm With Her, It's all Relative,
Karen Cisco, Threat Matrix, Extreme Makeover, Married to the Kellys,
Hope and Faith, L.A. Dragnet. Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal, The
Benefactor, Rodney, Lost, Wife Swap, Complete Savages.
"Port Charles" was part of the
daytime schedule of ABC from 1997 to 2003. It was a spinoff of
"General Hospital" which began in 1963. The daytime serial stared
several from the cast of "General Hospital." The show took place
in a hospital but took on a rather gothic theme of vampires and life
after death. Each 13 weeks, a different story line was begun,
allowing the cast to only work six months out the year.
"Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage
Daughter" ran on ABC from 2002-05
and starred former "Three's
Company" star John Ritter. It was during the production of this
series, on September 11, 2003 John Ritter died suddenly. His
death was written into the story of the series, when it returned for
production some six weeks later. The sit com's title was
shortened to "8 Simple Rules" in November of 2002. Other cast
members included Katey Sagal, Kaley Cuoco, Amy Davidson, Martin
Spajers, Larry Miller and even David Spade during it's last season.
Ripa and Faith Ford played sisters in this ABC sitcom which ran from
2003 to 2006(only 2003 to 2005) on WAND. "Hope and Faith" were two suburban
sisters, one with a family, Faith Ford's charager-Hope, while Ripa's
character Faith was a former soap star whose character was killed off,
therefore she was out of a job. Others in the cast were Ten
McGinley, Megan Fox.
"Life with Bonnie"
starred Bonnie Hunt as a talk show host and mom in this family/work sit
com. Her doctor husband was played by Mark Derwin. Real
life guests were featured in unscripted interviews, such as Tom Hanks,
Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters. "Life With Bonnie" ran on
ABC from 2002-2004.
"I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!"
was an ABC reality series which starred a celebrity placed in a strange
environment where they had to compete to survive and won cash prizes
for charity. This ran on ABC in 2003 and John Lehr was the
host. Celebrities included Bruce Jenner and Robin Leach.
teen sit com, "Life as We Know It"
ran on ABC from October of 2004 to January of 2005. The cast
included Sean Faris, Jon Foster, Chris Lowell among others. The
show was based on the British teen-sex novel "Doing It" written by
"America's Funniest Videos" was
shorted from "America's Funniest Home
Videos" which premiered in 1990 starring Bob Saget. It
was later hosted by Daisy Fuentes and John Fugelsang and was taken over
by Tom Bergeron in 2001. This became one of ABC's staple series
seemingly filling holes in the prime time schedule when ever necessary.
Dick Clark's "American Bandstand,"
a long time regular on ABC, first on
weekday afternoons, then later on Saturday mid days celebrated it's
50th Anniversary right before being canceled. The anniversary
show included many kinescope and video tape highlights from 50
years including it's WFIL days in Philadelphia.
News was well
represented by Peter Jennings. "ABC's World News Tonight"
1997 ABC was owned by Disney, so it's a rather natural idea of using
some network time to offer a lineup of Disney features, documentaries,
and other family friendly fare. "The
Wonderful of World of Disney" was the blanket title of the
series which ran on Sunday nights.
first season of "Boston Legal"
was aired on WAND before the network switch. The legal
drama/comedy began on Sunday nights at 9pm on WAND before moving in
August of 2005 to Tuesday nights, where it ran for one month.
"My Kind of Town" was an entry by
ABC into a variety/game show which brought 200 people from one town to
compete for prizes. It was hosted by British MC Johnny Vaughan
and produced by the team who brought us "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."
It ran during August of 2005.
"America This Morning" was the
pre-"Good Morning America" news half hour which aired on WAND from
5:30-6am during the early 00's.
"Nightline" continued to air on WAND
late night up until the network switch in September of 2005.
"Threat Matrix" was a secret agent
show starring James Denton, Will Lyman and Kelly Rutherford as
government agents fighting terrorists. It as part of the ABC
primetime schedule from 2003 to 2004.
"George Lopez" was a popular sit
com which aired from 2002 to 2007 on ABC, but only through August 2005
on WAND. It starred Constance Marie, Masiela Lusha, Luis Armand
Garcia, Belita Moreno and Valente Rodriguez.
"The View" was a panel
discussion/interview show with Meredith Vieira, Joy Behar, Star Jones,
Debbie Matenopoulos and Barbara Walters in 1997. The show ran
with various replacements including Lisa Ling and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
"Desperate Housewives" began it's
run in 2004, but didn't hit it's stride until after the network switch
in 2005. It was one of the very popular break out series in 2005
which led ABC to ratings success, after the network switch of WAND.
WAND anchor Sean Streaty from the
set of WAND right before the network switch which took place on
September 5th, 2005.
WAND anchor team Sean Streaty and
Dawn Sterling during one of the last newscasts of the soon to be ex-ABC
Story Behind "The Switch"
During 2004 the beginning of a network
affiliation shake up began. In April of 2004, the NBC affiliation
agreement with WICS/WICD(NBC) in the Springfield, Decatur,
Champaign-Urbana market expired, along that of WKEF(NBC) in Dayton
Ohio. NBC was involved in other business arrangements with LIN
Television Corporation which owned OTHER stations in both of these
After April of 2004, the affiliation agreements of
all of the stations were extended on a short term basis, but would
terminate the WKEF agreement in September of 2004 and the WICS/WICD
agreement in September of 2005.
The Decatur Herald and
Review's Tim Cain speculated, “...NBC has reached it's limit with
Sinclair, dissatisfied with the corporation's cavalier attitude
toward its programming, including not running some of it.” In
reality it was most likely a business decision between NBC and LIN
Broadcasting which would link the two companies who were already
partnered with other ventures. It was obvious that the
affiliatiion switch was simply done as an "add on" to a much larger
aggreement of an affiliation switch in Dayton and perhaps Dallas,
Texas, two bigger markets and has some consequence for NBC.
WICS/WICD had a record of outperforming other NBC affilaites when it
came to local news and ratings. NBC was set to lose in the switch
here in central Illinois, but gain in other larger markets.
It would seem logical that if WAND was
to be an NBC affiliate that WICS/WICD would end up being with ABC.
There was some speculation that FOX was a joker in the deck and could
be teamed up with WICS/WICD at least among some people involved, but
fortunately for WICS/WICD that was not to be.
It was also during this time, in March
of 2005, that long time former Director and eventually General
Manager T.J. Vaughn retired to be replaced by Mike Johnston. Johnston
was the former G.M. at WLFI-TV(CBS) in Lafayette, Indiana. Johnston was
named to the post by LIN Television Corporations Scott
By May of 2005, the time table was
announced which would make WAND an ABC affiliate on Monday, September
5th, 2005(Labor Day).
Unfortunately, NBC was ending their run
of good fortune. “Seinfeld” had already passed, “Friends”
and “Frasier” were soon to end their runs and “E.R.” wasn't
what it used to be. WAND was left to air a shell of the former NBC
success and the former “Must See TV” became “Well Maybe.”
There was one plus for WAND and that
was with the Olympic coverage. Johnston also told a local civic
group that WAND would offer a “brighter, more colorful
Based on local press coverage with the Herald and
Review, local viewers weren't happy about the change. Johnston
addressed many questions at local functions including one for the
local Chamber of Commerce. Columnist Tim Cain wrote, “Johnston
will answer any complaints on September 5th 'the scheduled
date for the switch' with a combination of patience, common sense and
humor. While Johnston gives the impression of being slightly harried
by the impending change, his station has produced a brochure(to
explain the change.”
Among Johnston's comments about the
future of TV he stated that, “The future of television is in
localism. It's something no one else can offer. Eventually, I
think, stations will break away from the networks.”
It was also at the network switch that
WAND returned to brand itself as Channel 17 with the NBC Peacock on
September 5th, 2005.
5 coming soon....
thanks to David Burke(former Radio/TV
Columnist for the Decatur Herald and Review)
TV Guide, copyright Triangle Publications
Bob Lee for most of the network and syndicated screen grabs