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The History of WAND, Decatur, IL
  Page 1
The First 10 Years of Channel 17 as WTVP 1953-64
  Page 2
LIN Broadcasting and WTVP becomes WAND 1965-77
  Page 3
The Years of Rebuilding 1978-1985
  Page 4
The ABC Years 1986-2005
  Page 5
WAND Becomes an Affiliate of NBC, Digital Years 2005-present


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WAND-TV, Channel 17, Decatur IL





Page 4: WAND    The ABC Years 1986-2005


WAND ID 1987








Gayle Simpson
Gayle 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.

"All My Children" was one of the most popular daytime drams during the 1980's and 90's.  It aired at Noon weekdays on WAND.
In 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.
A former NBC prime time sitcom was entering it's final days on ABC.  "Diff'rent Strokes" 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.

(Publicity 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.

(TV Guide ad from the Doug Quick collection)



From 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.



"Moonlighting" 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, Jean 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

(TV Guide ads from the Doug Quick collection)


(TV Guide Ad from the Doug Quick Collection)




Robert 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.
It 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.
This 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 local channels.
"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.
In 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 Dyke. 

This still is from the promo which aired prior to the actual broadcast and recorded from an actual WAND broadcast.
This 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 family series.

"Life Goes On" ran on ABC from 1989 through 1993.




This 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 Hervey 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 1988-1997.


 
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 friends.

 


"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 had daughters.





The 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.
This 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 coaches 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 Katherine Helmond.

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 Doogie, 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.
This 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.
This 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.
Well, 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.
Here's 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.
It's 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.














I 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."

This 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 Cons, 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 Hindman.
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.
Even 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.

This 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 cancellation-ville.
This 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 cancelled it.
"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."

This 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.








Pictured are 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 when "The 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.
Was 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.
"Sportsnight" 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. 
Many 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 covered 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 stations.





"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.

This 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 law firm.
"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.
Arthur 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 1999-2000.
This 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.
This 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.






"According to Jim" 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.

This 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."










"Jeopardy!" 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 ever since.


Alex Trebeck has been host of the syndicated version of "Jeopardy!" since 1984.






"The Wayne Brady Show" from Drew Carey's "Whose Line is it Anyway" starred 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.


Kelly 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.
This 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 Melvin Burgess.
"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.



ABC News was well represented by Peter Jennings.  "ABC's World News Tonight"

By 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.
The 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 affiliate..






The 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 markets.

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 Blumenthal.


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 look.”

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.

Part 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

The History of WAND, Decatur, IL
  Page 1
The First 10 Years of Channel 17 as WTVP 1953-64
  Page 2
LIN Broadcasting and WTVP becomes WAND 1965-77
  Page 3
The Years of Rebuilding 1978-1985
  Page 4
The ABC Years 1986-2005
  Page 5
WAND Becomes an Affiliate of NBC, Digital Years 2005-present


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updated  12/29/2012
web master:  Doug Quick
copyright © 2001-2012  Doug Quick