Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Classic Reborn: Biography (1989)

After a failed revival on CBS 10 years earlier, the Arts & Entertainment Network (A&E) acquired the rights to Biography, and gave the series a new life.

Expanding from a half-hour weekly series to a hour-long, five (later six) nights a week entry, Biography expanded its scope to include other types of iconic figures, such as Santa Claus. Newscasters Jack Perkins & Harry Smith and actor Peter Graves were among the hosts. Voice actor Neil Ross served as narrator. Yeah, it took two people to do the work of the late Mike Wallace, the original host of Biography. Ya wonder why that was, don't ya?

A&E spun off an entire channel from the series, and dropped Biography from the schedule in 2006 after 17 years. The Biography Channel has been rechristened FYI, not to be confused with the former ABC interstital series with Hal Linden from the 80's, of course, but, nearly 10 years after the last original episode aired, it appears Biography may be in the vaults.

The following sample episode, from 1994, spotlights real estate mogul/media whore Donald Trump.



Because of the wider scope, episodes were often more hit or miss than before, and there were some subjects that might've been better off not covered.

Rating: B-.

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