“Pioneers of Television” returns for Season 4 on PBS

PBS’ wonderful series Pioneers of Television returns tonight for a run of four new episodes looking back at groundbreaking people, shows and themes that have helped turn television into the medium that it is today. This season’s episodes are: “Standup to Sitcom,” featuring new interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr, Tim Allen, Ray Romano and Bob Newhart; “Doctors and Nurses,” which examines TV’s love affair with the medical profession, from Dr. Kildare to ER and beyond; “Breaking Barriers,” which traces the story of people of color in television; and “Acting Funny,” a look at the backstage techniques of America’s favorite comedic actors, including Robin Williams and Tina Fey.


At a press event for the series earlier this year, a number of notable names from TV’s past were on hand to discuss their particular episodes. Romano and Newhart, who appear in the season premiere episode “Standup to Sitcom,” had some insights into how television has continued to change since the heydays of their classic sitcoms Everybody Loves Raymond and The Bob Newhart Show.

“I watched Ray’s show,” said Newhart. “The show went on in [1996]. We went off in ’78. I would say 90 percent of the storylines [on Everybody Loves Raymond] we could never have done in ’78. … That’s how much television had changed.”

“Right,” agreed Romano, “and the stuff they are doing now, we couldn’t do.”

Pioneers of Television Season 4 begins April 15 at 8pm ET on PBS with the “Standup to Sitcom” episode (check local listings). The series airs Tuesdays through May 6.


Courtesy of BT Media