DON KIRSHNER’S ROCK CONCERT…11/09/2010
the weekly broadcast (’73-’82) that brought rock and roll to television…
“Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert” is a television music variety show that ran during the 1970s and early 1980s, created and produced by Don Kirshner and syndicated to television stations. Kirshner had been executive producer and creative consultant on ABC’s “In Concert” series which debuted with two shows in November and December 1972 in the 11:30 p.m. time slot usually held by The Dick Cavett Show. The programs, taped at the Hofstra Playhouse at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Their rating more than doubled the average rating of The Cavett Show and even topped NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in some markets.
“In Concert” became a bi-weekly series in January 1973. “Right now, we have more artists than we know what to do with,” Kirshner’s music director Wally Gold told the Washington Post late in 1972. “We pay them scale to appear, which is way below what they usually get for a concert, but they know that the publicity is well worth it. So everyone wants to be on. We’re getting hundreds of calls. At first, we had to beg the artists to appear. Now they’re begging us.” In September 1973, Kirshner left In Concert — he received producing credits for three more shows—to launch his own syndicated “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.” The premier, on September 27, 1973, featured The Rolling Stones, taped in London, in their first appearance on American TV in more than four years. The show was hosted by Kirshner up till the last season. His on-air delivery was described as flat by viewers; Paul Shaffer would often lampoon him in a convincing impersonation on Saturday Night Live. In its final season, the show was hosted by Kirshner’s son and daughter. The show was noted for featuring musical acts performing live, which was unique since most television appearances during the era showed performers lip-synching to prerecorded music.