- ABC Movie of the Week
The series was the brainchild of young executive
Barry Diller, then head of prime timeprogramming at ABC (and later a cofounder of the Fox network). Operating on a small budget but featuring the work of talented producers like Aaron Spellingand David Wolper(both of whom later developed hit series of their own), the "Movie of the Week" helped energize the made-for-TV movie format with fresh story concepts, veteran TV actors and potent production values. The attention-grabbing opening titles were animated with a groundbreaking slit-scanprocess.
The "Movie of the Week" provided ABC (long a distant third in the ratings) with a bona fide hit and, along with "
Monday Night Football", helped establish the network as a legitimate competitor to rivals CBSand NBC. The films themselves varied in quality and were often escapist or sensationalistic in nature (suspense, horror and melodramawere staples), but some were critically well-received. "Duel" (1971), based on a Richard Mathesonshort story from " Playboy", was director Steven Spielberg's first feature film, catapulting his career and enabling him to move from television to theatrical films.
The "alphabet network" earned five
Emmys, a prestigious Peabody Awardand citations from the NAACPand American Cancer Societyfor an airing of " Brian's Song" in 1972. The 1971-1972 season of the series finished as the fifth highest rated series of the year.
The "Movie of the Week" originally aired on Tuesday nights at 8:30 pm ET. Beginning with the 1971 season, ABC added a second "Movie of the Week" on Saturday night and adjusted the titles of the shows to the "Movie of the Week" and "Movie of the Weekend". The following season, the Saturday installment was moved to Wednesday night, and the titles were adjusted to "Tuesday Movie of the Week" and "Wednesday Movie of the Week".
The opening for the Saturday "Movie of the Weekend" featured footage of a
silhouetted "rotating cameraman" operating a 35 mm movie camera( [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cckf1FHG-c] ). This footage would later be incorporated into the opening of ABC's New York City television station WABC-TV's various movie umbrellas beginning around 1972- 73, including and especially their weekday afternoon movie showcase "".
The "Movie of the Week" theme music was an instrumental version of "Nikki", a song composed by
Burt Bacharachand named for his daughter.
TV series pilots
The series was often used as a platform to show pilots for possible series for the network. Shows such as "
The Six Million Dollar Man", " Starsky and Hutch", "Longstreet" and " Marcus Welby, M.D." premiered here.
The series proper ended in 1976. After that, ABC's made-for-TV movies were either aired as stand-alone specials or shown in series that included both original and theatrical movie presentations. The series was documented by Michael Karol in his 2005 book, "The ABC Movie of the Week Companion" (ISBN 0-595-35836-5).
* [http://www.tvparty.com/g2c/movieweek.ram Opening of "ABC Movie of the Week"]
* [http://www.tvparty.com/vaultmov.html ABC Movie of The Week]
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