Headlines of Yore

That time KYW Philadelphia booted Richard Pryor from primetime TV, one of just two major stations to do so

One of the skits execs felt was problematic involves Pryor playing the first Black president and talking about dating white women.

Richard Pryor (right) with fellow actors Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin in 1973

Richard Pryor (right) with fellow actors Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin in 1973

Wikimedia Commons

In 1977, Richard Pryor got his own primetime TV show on NBC. Now considered one of the best and most influential standup comics ever, he was known for pushing barriers — and some station execs were worried about the tone and subject matter of his material.

What kind of things did they object to? What you might expect.

Skits that mentioned sexual activity or made reference to racial tensions were too much for families to handle, the studio heads at KYW Philadelphia decided (back then, Channel 3 was NBC). So they bumped 2 of 4 episodes from 8 p.m. on a weeknight to 11:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Turned out Philly was just one of two markets in the nation — along with Boston — to push Pryor out of the spotlight. Scroll through the thread below to read how it all went down.

Want some more? Explore other Headlines of Yore stories.

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