Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturtainment: America's Top 10 (1980)

One of the advantages of syndicated programming is that stations can plug a show in any time of day, be it morning, noon, or night. For much of its run, Soul Train was a Saturday staple, but in its later years, it was bounced around. In my area, it was banished to overnights on Sunday night/Monday morning in its final years.

Coincidentally, when America's Top 10 bowed in July of 1980, it had floating timeslots, depending on the market. The ABC affiliate in my area originally aired the show in back of ABC's Fridays, before passing the series around to other stations in the market. Thanks to cable, we know that AT10, a video spin-off of radio staple American Top 40, did air in the morning in some cities. Technically, that would be true in Albany, but let's not quibble.

AT40 co-creator and host (at that time) Casey Kasem, after making spot guest appearances on prime time series such as Hawaii Five-O and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, felt the time was right to give it a try with a weekly TV series of his own. Serving as both host and executive producer, Casey covered as many musical genres as possible.

Here's an excerpt from December 14, 1980:



While Casey turned over American Top 40 to ultra-busy Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) and retired from radio in recent years, America's Top 10 hasn't had the staying power of its parent series, ending sometime in the 90's. As with the radio series, Kasem would take some vacation time periodically and turned AT10 over to a number of guest hosts, including game show icon Bob Eubanks (Newlywed Game) and original MTV VJ Martha Quinn. Today, it's unlikely that a series like this could be revived. Or could it?

Rating: A-.

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