1992: HBO Introduces 'The Larry Sanders Show'
On this day in 1992, HBO introduced the satirical comedy, The Larry Sanders Show. The series starred comedian Garry Shandling as host of a Tonight Show-style talk show, with a foucs on the behind-the-scenes drama of putting on a late-night show.
Rip Torn starred as as the show's producer, Artie, and Jeffrey Tambor portrayed Larry's sidekick, Hank. In addition to the show's regular stars — which included Penny Johnson Jerald, Janeane Garofalo, Jeremy Piven, Wallace Langham, Scott Thompson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Megan Gallagher, Bob Odenkirk and Sarah Silverman — the show welcomed a parade of celebrities portraying exaggerated (one hopes) versions of themselves.
The show itself was a blend of two different presentation styles: Footage of the fictional talk show was captured on videotape, while behind-the-scenes footage was shot on film.
The show, which ran six seasons, was a critical success and is still considered one of the greatest TV shows of all time. It was the first cable TV series to be nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series (but lost, during its run, to Seinfeld and Frasier). Writers included Shandling, Peter Tolan (creator of another critical TV hit, Rescue Me) and Judd Apatow, who went on to produce films such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin and HBO's current darling, Girls.