It’s 1987 and “Something’s Happening on ABC”


The fall television season is approaching, which means lots of decisions to be made. What shows to watch live? Which to record? Which to pass on? It is still a pretty heated time for advertising, I see a lot of new show ads online and in public. What I am not seeing are advertisements that promote loyalty to a specific network. This was common practice for decades, but at some point these promos started drying up and now we are simply supposed to pick a network on the merit of its programming.

In 1987, ABC ran its “Something’s Happening on ABC” campaign and as you can see a lot was happening on ABC. Top of the chart? Max Headroom of course, but there are a bunch of other gems being featured in quick cuts. How many can you name?


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5 thoughts on “It’s 1987 and “Something’s Happening on ABC”

  1. It was mostly different people doing interviews with the stars of each show and then showing clips. It was done in a very light way, not too serious. It felt like fluff to push the shows more than anything.

  2. Loved old Network things like this! Cheesy, but I loved them.

    The one that just aired on ABC was basically just to promote the line up coming up. The cast of the daytime show The Chew were the ones who interviewed members of various shows. I am sure it was all scripted, but love the fact that they did it. Harkens back to these old days!

  3. Was looking at the Analytics today and wondering why this ad had gotten such a seemingly astronomic number of hits. Mystery solved.

    Network loyalty is an ideal of the past it seems. There aren’t but a handful of actual networks left, each now owning numerous subsidiary networks, or the networks themselves being the mere subsidiary of a much larger company.

    ABC being a good case in point. It’s now owned by Disney, which also owns about half of all the existing cable and satellite channels. CBS is owned by Sony, which is owned by Standard Oil New York, which is owned by the Rockefeller family. NBC Has some hideous mish-mash of ownership shared between General Electric, Vivendi Universal, and Microsoft. And about the only thing that leaves is Fox, and PBS. And PBS is a bit of an odd ball since its’ more successful studios are at least partly owned by the BBC. But to bring that all back to simplicity, there’s ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS, and virtually all other channels existing belong to one of those five “networks”.

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