Friday Night Videos
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|Friday Night Videos|
Graphic from first Friday Night Videos intro, used on July 29, 1983
|Also known as||Friday Night
|Narrated by||Nick Michaels
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||90 mins. (1983-1987)
60 mins. (1987-2002)
|Original run||July 29, 1983– May 24, 2002|
Friday Night Videos (later becoming Friday Night and then Late Friday) is an American music video show broadcast on the NBC television network from July 29, 1983 to May 24, 2002, and was the network's attempt to capitalize on the emerging popularity of music videos as seen on MTV. Belinda Carlisle was the guest host for the first episode.
Friday Night Videos actually had its roots in a show called The Midnight Special, which dated back to 1973 and, like FNV, was produced by Dick Ebersol (in conjunction with creator Burt Sugarman) and aired late Friday nights, until 1981. Ebersol chose to abandon Midnight Special when he took over an ailing Saturday Night Live, which had experienced serious ratings declines and cast problems under the leadership of Jean Doumanian. However, after two more years of struggle on SNL, Ebersol decided to try his hand yet again at a Friday night music show. FNV replaced U.S. broadcasts of the Canadian SCTV Network, which had run for two years on Friday overnights after Midnight Special's demise and would move to Cinemax to make room for Friday Night Videos.
In its early years, MTV was still a phenomenon that only a minority of Americans actually could see in their homes, as there were many areas not yet serviced by cable television, and not all cable television providers offered MTV at first. Friday Night Videos took advantage of that fact and proved to be the next best thing for many viewers. While it primarily showcased music videos by popular top 40 acts of the day, unlike its cable rival, Friday Night Videos tended to offer more variety; featuring artists from the genres of pop, rock, R&B, and rap.
In the beginning, the show ran 90 minutes long, and consisted of music videos introduced by an off-camera announcer. In addition to this, classic artists of the 1960s and 1970s occasionally appeared in "Hall of Fame Videos", major stars were profiled in "Private Reels", and new clips made their network debuts as "World Premiere Videos".
The most popular feature was "Video Vote". Two videos were played back-to-back, and viewers across the country, with the exception of the West Coast, could call in and vote for one of them, using nationwide 900 numbers for a small per-call fee. The winning video faced a new challenger the following week. When a video won four consecutive video votes, it was deemed a "retired champion" and two new videos were introduced the week after to start over. To increase the number of voters, they started to offer free T-shirts every fifteen seconds during the time of the voting when they called to register their votes.
For the show's first few years on the air, the audio portion of the show was presented as a stereo simulcast over FM radio. This arrangement continued until NBC officially switched over to the BTSC standard for broadcast stereo audio. From that point on, the show was broadcast in stereo.
In 1985, FNV began featuring celebrity guests as weekly hosts. As a result of the host banter, the show often would have to slightly shave off bits of the end of the videos to conserve time.
Notable hosts have included:
Timeslot change, added sister show: Saturday Morning Videos
In 1987, the show was cut from 90 minutes to an hour, and its starting time was moved back from 12:30 a.m./ET to 1:30 a.m., as a result of Late Night with David Letterman, which had become a major ratings hit by that point, adding an additional Friday broadcast at 12:30.
In early 1990, NBC sporadically ran a Saturday morning edition of FNV for viewers who missed the show hours earlier because of its late night timeslot (these episodes, however, were usually not repeats of the new episode that just aired earlier in the AM, and instead tended to be a compilation of past guest hosts.) That fall, the network premiered a clone show on the Saturday morning line up named Saturday Morning Videos, which followed Saved by the Bell and was basically a campier version of FNV that targeted the lead-in teenage audience. It was cancelled in 1992.
In late 1990, much like what was occurring gradually on MTV, FNV began to move away from an all-video format. Regular bumper segments were added, featuring various comedians.
In 1991, live in-studio musical performances were added. Tom Kenny, meanwhile, became the regular on-screen host, while Frankie Crocker hosted his own feature, "Frankie Crocker's Journal", which highlighted important dates in music history. Crocker later became the host along with Darryl M. Bell (who was later replaced by Tonight Show Bandleader Branford Marsalis in 1993).
In January 1994, after years of falling ratings and seemingly becoming more and more insignificant in the wake of the cable television boom that allowed more households to have access to MTV, the show was retooled in an attempt to stay relevant. Moving to NBC Studios in Burbank from New York, the name was shortened to Friday Night, and became less of a music video show and more of a general entertainment and variety program, featuring celebrity interviews, stand-up comedy, movie reviews, live performances, viewer polls, and comedy sketches. Subsequently, the show now only made room to air approximately two music videos per episode. The new format also brought two new hosts: comedians Henry Cho and Rita Sever. Brian Copeland delivered humorous commentary on the news of the week in his segment, "THE WORLD ACCORDING TO COPELAND". In 1996, Sever took over as sole host. The old Video Vote segment, meanwhile, was brought back and renamed "Friday Night Jukebox."
For the host segments after 1998, Sever would be seated or standing in front of the giant videoscreen on the right side of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno set, near the guest's entrance.
The twilight years
In 2000, despite having its highest ratings in years, the show was once again reformatted by NBC for budgetary reasons. Under that title, Friday Night's last telecast was December 29. On January 5, 2001, the show returned under the name Late Friday. Discontinuing the music and feature segments, the show now solely revolved around stand-up comedians doing their stage routines. After 65 episodes, it was replaced by Last Call with Carson Daly, which was extended to five nights a week. The cancellation marked the end of 19 years of NBC programming weekly-only shows in the overnights on Fridays.
- Friday Night Videos at the Internet Movie Database
- Friday Night Videos at TV.com
- Videos out, comics in on NBC