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1992: 'Roc' Goes Live
August 16, 2019  | By TV WW
 
On this day in 1992, the Fox sitcom Roc debuted its second season — with a twist: It (and the rest of the season's 21 episodes) was broadcast live.

The series starred Charles S. Dutton as Roc Emerson, a Baltimore garbage man, and Ella Joyce as his wife, a registered nurse. Carl Gordon and Rocky Carroll rounded out the core cast as Roc's father and brother, respectively.

A successful live-episode experiment in the middle of the show's first season set the groundwork for the all-live second season. The principal cast members were all veteran stage actors (In fact, prior to Roc, Dutton, Gordon, and Carroll starred together in the Broadway production of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson) and producers felt the audience would enjoy the energy of a live show. The immediacy also allowed the show to address current events, sometimes referencing things that had happened just hours before the show aired or were about to happen — such as the 1992 presidential election.

In a Los Angeles Times interview published just after the first live show, star Charles S. Dutton said the live shows were "the ultimate challenge" for the cast, and denied it was a ploy to bolster ratings.

"It's not a gimmick. This is the first time in 40 years that this has been done. This is one of the only casts that is capable of pulling it off. It's a history-making event — four actors who are willing to go out on a line in front of a national audience. … To put an Urkel character on Roc — now that would be a gimmick."

Episodes aired Sundays at 8:30 p.m. ET; the shows were taped delayed for West Coast viewers.

The show was cancelled after three seasons, with the third consisting of traditional taped episodes.

 
 
 
 
 
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