Maya Rudolph's variety show premieres on NBC
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Variety was certainly the spice of life in the 1960s and '70s. Back then, everyone from Sonny and Cher to Donny and Marie had a TV variety hour. Now, "Saturday Night Live" vet Maya Rudolph is hoping to revive the format with her self-titled special Monday at 10 p.m. on NBC/4. If it gets picked up, let's hope her show is more successful than these long-forgotten variety outings.
THE JULIE ANDREWS HOUR (1972-73) The airwaves were alive with the sound of music performed by Andrews and guest stars in this critically acclaimed ABC show that got shot down by CBS' "Cannon."
THE BRADY BUNCH HOUR (1976) We always knew Jan was the smart one. Eve Plumb was the sole cast member who avoided this nine-week misfire that was more painful than a football smashing Marcia's nose.
THE CAPTAIN & TENNILLE (1976-77) There was no muskrat love for this show starring '70s husband and wife hit makers Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille. As a comedian, the Captain missed the boat.
THE STARLAND VOCAL BAND SHOW (1977) Skyrockets definitely weren't in flight with this summer variety show from the group that reached its climax with the song "Afternoon Delight." It did, however, give an up-and-comer named David Letterman a start.
MARY (1978) Mary Tyler Moore could turn the world on with her smile, but not with her singing and dancing in this "Carol Burnett Show" knockoff that ran three weeks. A revamped version in 1979 featuring a young Michael Keaton lasted 11 weeks.
PINK LADY AND JEFF (1980) If only this show had starred the singing twins from "Mothra" instead of the duo known as Pink Lady (Mitsuyo Nemoto and Kekio Masuda), it might have succeeded. "Laughs" were provided by comic Jeff Altman, whose main role was to make jokes about Pink Lady's terrible English, and a pre-"Ernest" Jim Varney.
ROSIE LIVE (2008) Rosie O'Donnell's attempt at a variety show really took the cake. In fact, it ended with a half-baked production number featuring dancers dressed as cake and cookies. "Rosie Live" was dead on arrival after one airing.
OSBOURNES RELOADED (2009) Ozzy and his clan also tried to bring back the variety format with this one-shot deal that had Oz in drag and kids Kelly and Jack working a fast-food drive-through window. The Washington Post called it "Must-Flee TV."--Daniel Bubbeo