Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fernwood 2 Night

Fernwood 2 Night is a comedic television program that ran from July 1977 – September 1977. It was created by Norman Lear as a spin-off/summer replacement from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. It was a parody talk show, hosted by Barth Gimble (Martin Mull) and sidekick/announcer Jerry Hubbard (Fred Willard), complete with a stage band, Happy Kyne and His Mirthmakers (featuring Frank De Vol as the ironically dour "Happy" Kyne, and Tommy Tedesco as one of the guitarists). Barth was the twin brother of Garth Gimble from Mary Hartman.
Like Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Fernwood 2Nite was set in the fictional town of Fernwood, Ohio. The show satirized real talk shows as well as the sort of fare one might expect from locally-produced, small-town, midwestern American television programming. Well-known actors usually appeared playing characters or a contrivance had to be written for the celebrity to appear as themselves. (In one episode, Tom Waits' tour bus happened to break down in Fernwood.)
After one season of Fernwood, the producers revamped the show the following year as America 2-Night. In this second version, Barth and Jerry's show moved to Los Angeles (actually, they claimed to be broadcasting from "Alta Coma, the unfinished furniture capitol of the world!") and was broadcast nationally on the fictional UBS network, whose slogan was "We put U before the BS". This change allowed the show to now have well-known actors on the show as themselves.
Reruns aired on Nick at Nite from 1990 to 1993, on TV Land in 1996, and again on TV Land sporadically between 2001 and 2003, as part of the TV Land "Kitschen", a weekend block of campy programming hosted by Mull and Willard that aired at midnight.

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