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Sock It to Me: A Brief History of Rock & Roll Variety Shows

10 September 2015 5:26 AM, PDT | | See recent Rolling Stone news »

When Neil Patrick Harris returns to TV next week, he won't be cracking jokes in another sitcom. Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris (debuting on September 15th on NBC) marks the return — overdue or not  — of the variety show, that long-dormant format in which kooky skits, musical guests, and frenzied production numbers are jammed into an hour of family-friendly entertainment. "When you think of the variety shows we all grew upon — Sonny and Cher and Donny and Marie — those [programs] all said, 'Sit on the couch, be entertained with a little song, »

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