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Midnight Special, The

1 9 7 3 – 1 9 8 1 (USA)

Debuting on 2 February 1973, this Pop/Rock variety show aired on NBC from 12:30 AM to 2:00 AM EST on Friday night for nine years. The 90-minute programme followed the Friday night edition of the Johnny Carson Tonight Show.


The show was taped in front of a live studio audience at the NBC studios in Burbank, California, although recorded concert footage was occasionally included.

The show tended to favour more mainstream commercial artists, with David Bowie and Van Morrison being the limit of its adventurousness.

Three-hour compilation specials also showed from time to time in re-runs on Saturday nights, broadcast as The Midnight Express.

Wolfman Jack served as announcer and main host with a different guest host each week, except for a period from July 1975 through to March 1976 when singer Helen Reddy served as the regular host.

With the advent of the MTV-generation the live concerts came to an end and the show’s timeslot was filled by Friday Night Videos (1983).