Clerow "Flip" Wilson became the first African-American to headline a variety show with The Flip Wilson Show in 1970 on NBC. You know, I'm sure, Wilson's two best known characters, Geraldine Jones (Wilson in drag) and Reverend Leroy, the pastor of the Church of What's Happening Now!, which some folks might've taken for an elaborate con. Amazingly, Geraldine was used more often, resulting in lines like "The Devil made me do it" or "What you see is what you get" becoming iconic phrases.
In all, Wilson was part of a television revolution in the early 70's, as more shows spotlighting African-Americans were hitting the airwaves. By 1970, Room 222 was a hit for ABC, and Julia had wrapped its run on NBC. In the wake of Wilson's success, impressionist George Kirby headlined a half-hour syndicated series, but managed only a season by my reckoning, and the similarly mega-hot All in the Family would boast not one, but two series in its family tree that would be just as successful in The Jeffersons, a direct spinoff, and Good Times, which was spun-off from Maude. Checking In, spun from The Jeffersons as a solo vehicle for Marla Gibbs, bombed.
Wilson also produced a pair of animated specials that chronicled his upbringing, but those specials haven't seen the light of day in over 40 years.
Right now, let's scope an episode from 1973 with guests Richard Pryor & Tim Conway. Conway introduces the episode from a DVD release:
Reruns have been aired in half-hour increments, likely due to how it was distributed in syndication after cancellation. Today, TV One & Aspire share cable rights (check listings). Unfortunately, it's still in the half-hour format.