I’ve spent countless hours watching TV over the course of twenty plus years. During that time, I not only got to watch some quality storylines but also learned a great deal of random facts about the TV shows, actors, and production process. I’ve collected the random TV Trivia like people collect cars or stamps. All of this knowledge is complete fluff and useless in real life conversations. Most people I know aren’t as into the TV trivia as I am, so it’s not as if I can randomly insert into the conversation.
However, last year, I was suddenly able to use all the random information for relevant a fun purpose. I attended the ATX TV Festival (see my post about the experience here), whose attendees were all TV nerds like myself. One of the events at the ATX TV Festival was a trivia night. The trivia night was run by Geeks Who Drink, a national organization that runs TV Trivia nights every week across the country. This trivia night finally allowed me to delve into my useless knowledge for good use. Though our team didn’t win, I enjoyed having to pick my brain to remember facts and make educated guesses.
If you plan on attending the ATX TV Festival or a Geeks who Drink event one night (check their site here for listings of where they host close to you), here is some TV Trivia worth knowing to prepare yourself. You also may never know when you will need it beyond those venues. You’d be surprised how TV talk can often help you bond with strangers and make new friends (my personal experience is a great example).
1) The Full House producers originally wanted Bob Saget for Danny Tanner. However, Bob Saget wasn’t available for the initial pilot. The first pilot, therefore, features another actor, John Posey, as Danny Tanner. When Saget was available, Posey was no longer Danny.
2) Courtney Cox was the only member of the Friends cast to never be nominated for An Emmy award.
3) When TV ratings was the only way to gauge how many people watched a show, MASH had the highest viewers watching the series finale, with 105 million tuning into the last show. Following MASH were Cheers at 84.4 million, and then Seinfeld.
4) The first US President to appear on TV was FDR. He spoke on April 30, 1939 at the World Fair in New York. Harry Truman was the first President to make the first televised presidential address in the White House.
5) After Golden Girls ended on NBC, CBS picked up its spin-off, The Golden Palace. In the spinoff, Dorothy was no longer in the show (she moved with the husband she married in series finale of The Golden Girls), and the remaining characters (Rose, Blanche, Sophia) move from their house into a hotel they bought. The show only lasted one season but featured the now well-known actor Don Cheadle.
6) Before playing the quirky and noise neighbor Babette on Gilmore Girls, Sally Struthers played Gloria, on the groundbreaking show All in the Family series. After the series ended, she guest starred in the spin off series, Archie Bunker’s Place, and the additional spinoff, Gloria.
7) All in the Family spawned the most spinoffs. In addition to Archie Bunker’s Place and Gloria, other shows that spun off from it included Maude (which spun off Good Times, though the character history from Maude to Good Times changed a bit), The Jeffersons, Checkin’ In, and 704 Houser Street
8) The longest running (non-animated) TV Character is Frasier Crane. Kelsey Grammer played the role for nine seasons on Cheers, and then subsequently 11 seasons on its spinoff Frasier. Frasier Crane also made a guest appearance on another hit TV show, Wings.
9) Viola Davis is the first African-American woman to win Emmy for best leading actress in a drama. The Emmys awarded her based on performance in How to get Away with Murder.
10) Before starring together on Saved by the Bell as Screech and Zach respectively, actors Dustin Diamond and Mark Paul Gosselaar- each made appearances on The Wonder Years
11) Today, Pat Sajak and Vanna White host Wheel of Fortune and the show airs in the evening. However, Chuck Woolery (later known as the Love Connection host) was the original host of Wheel of Fortune while Susan Stafford was the letter turner. The show premiered in 1975 and was originally a daytime series (like Price is Right is now). When Woolery left, Sajak/White took over the daytime series. The primetime version with Sajak and White first aired in 1983. The original daytime version was cancelled in 1991, leaving the primetime version we have today.
12) Every Seinfeld episode had a different opening song to match the episode’s opening monologue content.
13) The mini-series Roots, based off the novel written by Alex Haley, created several groundbreaking moments when it aired. It was the first mini-series to air seven days in a row (networks previously aired a mini-series episode once a week), the first to receive at least twenty major Emmy nominations, and the first show to get all nominations in acting.
14) TV shows often start off with one title but end up having another title by the time they hit the air. Some popular changes: Saturday Night Live started as NBC’s Saturday Night, Six of Us became Friends, Lost could have been Nowhere, and This is Us was 36.
15) Before he played Carlton on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Alfonso Ribiero played Rick Schroder’s best friend on Silver Spoons.