Omnibus (U.S. TV series)

Omnibus (U.S. TV Series)

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Omnibus (U.S. TV series)

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Omnibus is an American, commercially sponsored, educational television series.


Broadcast live primarily on Sunday afternoons at 4:00pm Eastern time, from November 9, 1952 until 1961. Omnibus originally aired on CBS, and later on Sunday evenings on ABC. The program finally moved to NBC in 1957, where it was irregularly scheduled until 1961. ABC aired a brief revival of the series in 1981. Omnibus was created by television executive, Robert Saudek, to be both entertaining and uplifting.Robert Saudek, "Experiment in Video Programming", New York Times, 9 November 1952, 13(X).

With Ford Foundation funding, Omnibus, hosted by Alistair Cooke in his American television debut, featured diverse programming about science, the arts, and the humanities. The program featured original works by playwrights such as William Saroyan, interviews with public figures such as architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and performances by many of the most prominent entertainers of the day such as Jack Benny and Orson Welles. A heavily abridged version of Shakespeare's King Lear starring Orson Welles and directed by Peter Brook, was telecast on 18 October 1953 on CBS. Leonard Bernstein and Jonathan Winters made their first television appearances in the series. Bernstein gave his first televised music lectures on the program, and conducted one of the earliest telecasts of excerpts from Handel's Messiah on it. The best remembered episode featuring Bernstein was his first...
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