The show originally aired without a sponsor, but NBC agreed to pay for initial production costs; it was assumed that once the show actually aired and advertisers were able to see its sophistication, a national sponsor would emerge. None did; many national companies did not want to upset their customers in the South, who did not want to see a black man on TV shown in anything other than a subservient position. Although NBC agreed to continue footing the bill for the show until a sponsor could be found, star Nat 'King' Cole pulled the plug on it himself in its second season. In the 1956 season, the show had a 15-minute running time. It was expanded to a 30-minute segment in 1957. Said Cole of the doomed series, "Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark." See more »
I recently came across this show on BET Jazz the other day. It amazes me that nobody wanted to sponsor this show for fear of reprisals from their racist southern(and northern) customers. Alas, things have not changed in this country. We are still ruled but the sick and disgusting disease called racism.
Nuff said about that.
The NKC show featured guests such as Sammy Davis Jr, Louie Bellson, Pearl Bailey and others. You were also greeted by Nat throughout his show by his stellar singing voice. There will never be a show of this caliber ever again.
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