Nostalgia waxing strong for TV show creators
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From Correspondent Ron Tank
HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- There were laughs of mirth, and tears of agony. But most of all, there was a strong thread of nostalgia running through television's new offerings for 1998.
ABC tried to resurrect "Fantasy Island," with Malcolm McDowell as Mr. Roarke. Unfortunately for the network, viewers apparently still remembered Ricardo Montalban in that role, and preferred the late Herve Villechaize as the plane-heralding Tattoo. The new version lasted just a few months.
Another former ABC hit, "The Love Boat," made another run with a new crew, a new captain -- Robert Urich -- and a new network, UPN, under the new title "Love Boat: The Second Wave."
Urich says of his role at the series' helm, "I don't think I could ever replace Capt. Stubing, though. He wore those Bermuda shorts on several episodes, I just don't have the legs for it."
'70s kids grow up
Donny Osmond made a guest appearance on the old "Love Boat" back in the '70s when he and sister Marie had their own variety show. Now, 20-something years later, these now 40-something siblings again have a show.
Although the new show is, like their old one, intended to appeal to the whole family, "It's a completely different show than what we did in the '70s," Donny Osmond says. "All you have to do is watch and you'll find out."
Theirs isn't the only show that's grown up. Kids still said the darndest things in 1998 -- on, obviously, "Kids Say the Darndest Things" -- but they said them to Bill Cosby, not Art Linkletter, in the new version.
In the late 1970s, "CHiPS" was one of the hottest shows on TV. Producers brought it back in 1998 in the form of a two-hour movie for the cable network TNT, with Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox in uniform once again.
"Well yeah, it fits," Estrada said of his resurrected uniform. Then he laughs. "I let it out a little, hey I was a spring chicken then."
Back to the game board
"The Dating Game" was dusted off for another decade, as was its companion, "The Newlywed Game."
1998 also brought us the latest edition of "Hollywood Squares." Helmed by Academy Award-winner Whoopi Goldberg, the show is glitzier than before, but basically the same show that ruled daytime TV throughout the '70s.
Wrapping itself in the style of the '70s, "Buddy Faro" was forced off the air in an all-too-familiar '90s reality -- low ratings. But a sitcom appropriately called "That '70s Show" did succeed, in spite of complaints that its pilot episode suggested marijuana use.
Lest this look back at the TV year's nostalgic tone makes you long for more, don't be sad -- the end of 1998 isn't the end of television's nostalgic trip. Keep your eyes peeled for a TV movie being made for 1999 about Sonny and Cher.
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