Film & TV

Fridays: A Look Back at L.A.'s Answer to Saturday Night Live

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Shout!Factory
The cast of Fridays
Whether you love it or hate it these days, it's still tough to compete against Saturday Night Live. Although the show certainly has seen much better and much funnier days, you still can't knock it off its perch after all these years.

The powers that be that created Fridays, an L.A.-filmed series that ran for three seasons on ABC in the early 1980s, swear up and down that they weren't out to challenge SNL, especially since it was bleeding to death on the side of the road at the time, after its acclaimed original cast had departed. The Fridays gang felt there was enough success out there for both shows.

Cast member Melanie Chartoff, whom you could consider the Tina Fey of Fridays, says, "A topical variety show about the news was not a new form. It was a very popular form. It was popular back on That Was the Week That Was [in the 1960s], and I think ABC just felt there was room for more of that on late-night television."

Now with The Best of Fridays, which is coming to DVD and Blu-ray on Aug. 6 through Shout! Factory, you can relive a transitional period in comedy when ABC tried to create its version of SNL, with a West Coast sensibility.

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David Konow