In Late 1975 – There Were Two Shows And A Hit Pop Single Called, “Saturday Night”
We Loved Our Saturday Nights Back In 1975
NBC-TV’s “Saturday Night Live” debuted in October of 1975. Originally, it was suppose to air Saturdays (after) the first week of each month. The original title of the show was simply, “Saturday Night” because – ABC-TV had just debuted “Saturday Night Live” with Howard Cosell – a week prior.
The Cosell show ran earlier in prime time and was the sports announcer’s shot at becoming a mainstream talkshow host. He’d been associated with ABC Sports and Monday Night Football – and somehow, convinced ABC – he should get a shot. He did. The debut “Saturday Night Live” with Howard Cosell featured hot pop artists, “The Bay City Rollers” who, interestingly, were about to have a hit titled, “Saturday Night.” The ratings for Cosell’s show were OK at first – then trailed off quickly.
In November, 1975, Cosell was quoted as saying, “The Saturday night time slot that ABC placed my variety show in has a deathly history. I inherited a cemetery.” By, the end of the 1975-1976 season, the show would be canceled.
First ads for NBC’s “Saturday Night” were few and far in-between. They usually came from record artists/record labels – who promoted upcoming appearances on the program. The first such ad for “Saturday Night” was from Art Garfunkel – who was making an appearance on the program – its second airing – on October 18, 1975. Also on that program, Paul Simon. “Saturday Night” made an immediate star out of sketch cast member Chevy Chase – the first to bolt for bigger and better things such as TV specials and movies. It quickly became a breeding ground for future movie stars such as Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy, among many others. Bolting actors almost became the bane of producer Lorne Michaels – although he wished them well, he really wasn’t happy when one of his stars left for other pastures.
So, in 1975, you have not one, but two, “Saturday Night” TV shows – but wait… The Bay City Rollers just released, “Saturday Night” – a top-10 record later in the year: