SCTV: Second City Television
A group of then relatively unknown comics satirized the running of a television station in the fictional town of Melonville in this comedic series first known as SCTV: Second City Television, then as SCTV, SCTV Network 90 and SCTV Network. The first few seasons ran on Global Television and were co-produced by Second City (Bernie Salins and Andrew Alexander of Second City who also executive produced the television show) and Global Television, in Toronto.
Bernie Sahlins had started the theatrical improv group Second City in Chicago, from which sprang SCTV and Saturday Night Live. Andrew Alexander was the owner of the Second City franchise in Toronto that performed at the Old Firehall in downtown Toronto. The show was produced and directed in its first year by Milad Bessada, a Global staff producer. Bessada continued to produce the show while at Global, with George Bloomfield becoming director after the first year.
The comics played a number of ongoing character roles: Joe Flaherty as station manager Guy Cabellero, news anchor Floyd Robertson, horror-movie host Count Floyd and talk-show host Sammy Maudlin; Eugene Levy as comic Bobby Bittman and broadcast Earl Cannonbear, played opposite Flaherty's Floyd Robertson; John Candy as the egotistical Johnny La Rue; Andrea Martin as program director Edith Prickley, known for her leopard outfits, and as English as a second language student, Perrini Sclerozo; Catherine O'Hara as singer Lola Heatherton, and Dave Thomas as drama critic Bill Needles, Asian actor Lin Y Tang, and with an uncanny imitation of Bob Hope. Harold Ramis, a Chicago alumnus, played the original station manager as well as a game show host, Moe Green, but left after the first season. However, his photo was featured periodically in future seasons as the kidnapped Moe Green.
Second City went off the air in 1978, only to be revitalized in 1980 with CBC as SCTV, produced at CITV in Edmonton. After a one year run on CBC, the show was again reformed as SCTV Network 90 and ran on both CBC and NBC in the U.S., from 1981 to 1983. A final run was as SCTV Network, which ran for one year on First Choice, a Canadian specialty cable station, and on Cinemax in the U.S.
Broadcast as Second City on Global: 1976 - 1978
Running time: 30 minutes
Co-produced by Second City (Bernie Salins, Andrew Alexander) and Global Television.
The show was later reformed and broadcast as SCTV in 1980 by CBC (running time 30 minutes), then as SCTV Network 90 for CBC and NBC (60 min and 90 min shows), then on First Choice (45 minutes)
Producer: Milad Bessada (1976-1978)
Director: Milad Bessada (1976), George Bloomfield (1977, 1978)
Exec producers: Bernie Sahlins, Andrew Alexander
Written by Joanne Ingrassia - May, 2002