‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ Marks a Very Impressive Milestone in History
There’s no debate that The Ed Sullivan Show led the way for other variety and talk shows to thrive. The show ran from 1948 until 1971 and featured host Ed Sullivan interacting with entertainment of all kinds including opera singers, comedians, singers, actors, and even circus acts. Sullivan himself was truly a one-of-a-kind entertainer, host, and reporter, who sadly passed away a few years after the show ended in 1974. Despite being off the air for decades, it remains one of the most beloved shows in history and is now celebrating a very special milestone.
The Ed Sullivan Show has now surpassed over two billion total views across channels including YouTube, Facebook, Apple Music, and more, just one year after hitting one billion views. The show, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary in June, was acquired by UMe (Universal Music Enterprises) and SOFA Entertainment Inc. in 2020, helping its continued reach. Some rare performances were made available to the public in digital form, including some of the interviews that Sullivan was famous for.
Sullivan was one of the first to invite people of all backgrounds to his show despite backlash from the network and its sponsors. This was back when television and music were still segregated but Sullivan was not afraid to push back. He brought on incredible artists such as The Supremes, The Temptations, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye, and so many more, often due to his friendship with Berry Gordy. He was also the first to bring Country artists such as Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn on to a national stage and prominent Jazz artists Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole.
Not only that but The Ed Sullivan Show often featured one of the first televised performances by iconic musicians such as Stevie Wonder and Elvis Presley. The show was also the first in the U.S. to book The Beatles, just after their music came over the America. Their appearance caused such mania that Sullivan himself joked, “Coincidentally if anyone has a ticket for The Beatles on our show next Sunday, could I please borrow it? We need it very badly.” Over 60% of Americans tuned in to see the U.K. band perform. Now, some of the most viewed clips include performances of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog.” Historians say that many artists wouldn’t have seen stardom if it wasn’t for Sullivan’s show and his ability to notice talent.
UMe President & CEO Bruce Resnikoff shared about the milestone, “Ed Sullivan’s impact on American culture and music cannot be understated. He had the ability to spot raw talent and give them the opportunity to reach almost every household in America. The subsequent superstar trajectory of many of these artists’ careers can all be traced back to Sullivan. We are honored to be able to continue his legacy by introducing new audiences to talent he discovered, across all platforms.” Andrew Solt, Founder of SOFA Entertainment added, “Ed could never have dreamed his life’s work would one day be available for billions around the globe to see. He gave us a cultural encyclopedia of entertainment that showcased the world’s finest talent. Sunday nights on his stage could make or break a career. ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ had it all. There’s never been another like it.” We have to wholeheartedly agree.