The Music Scene (TV series)

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The Music Scene
James Brown Music Scene 1969.jpg
James Brown performing on the program, 1969
GenreMusic chart
Variety show
Written byCarl Gottlieb
Tony Hendra
David Steinberg
Richard Schaal
Stan Jacobson
Directed byStan Harris
StarringDavid Steinberg
Chris Bokeno
Larry Hankin
Paul Reid Roman
Christopher Ross
Lily Tomlin
Theme music composerPatrick Williams
Composer(s)Patrick Williams
Country of originUSA
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes17
Producer(s)Ken Fritz
Stan Harris
Production location(s)ABC Television Center in Hollywood
Running time45 min.
Production company(s)Harris/Fritz Productions, in association with ABC
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 22, 1969 –
January 12, 1970

The Music Scene is a television series aired by ABC as part of its Fall 1969 lineup, in the Monday, 7:30 to 8:15 timeslot, primarily featuring rock and pop music.


The show had many hosts, with comedian David Steinberg the most frequently-appearing one (Lily Tomlin as well). Many huge names of the era, including James Brown, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Three Dog Night, Tom Jones on the initial program, and Janis Joplin, Bobby Sherman, The Miracles, Sly & the Family Stone, Isaac Hayes, Stevie Wonder, Bo Diddley and Mama Cass Elliot, (who co-hosted as well as performed) among many others, appearing on subsequent shows.

Existing promos initially used to sell this show to ABC affiliates featured the improvisational group The Committee, which featured actor Howard Hesseman (then using the name Don Sturdy), as well as the Rolling Stones. The promos implied that the Stones would be appearing with some regularity on the program. However, The Committee never actually appeared on the show, and neither did the Rolling Stones.

Surprisingly, despite the level of talent presented, this show did not fare well in Nielsen ratings. Advertisers of the era were more interested in shows achieving a mass audience rather than one of primarily younger people who were deemed as having less disposable income than the then-coveted middle aged, middle income viewers that most network programming then targeted. The program was cancelled mid-season. Two DVDs of highlights from the show have been released.

This program and the show that followed it, The New People, are extremely rare examples of U.S. network television programming designed to run for 45 minutes.

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