Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Ed Sullivan’s ‘Rilly Big Shoo’ Is Back — on Sunday Nights, Naturally

The man who brought America Elvis and the Beatles returns thanks to over-the-air network MeTV.

The Ed Sullivan Show premieres Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET on MeTV.

I was five years old when CBS cancelled The Ed Sullivan Show, and eight when Sullivan died in 1974, but let me tell you: that man and his program cast a long shadow. For almost a quarter century, up-and-coming stars appeared on his stage at 1697 Broadway in New York because they knew it was the way to get their name out like nothing else. If someone made a reference to being on a “rilly big shoo,” everyone knew whose catchphrase that was.

Before Johnny Carson came along, comics would vie to get on the Ed Sullivan Show because it was a stamp of legitimacy. Of course, there was Elvis and the Beatles on the musical side. How fitting, then, that when CBS finally got into the late-night variety-show business in the 1990s, hiring David Letterman away from NBC, they put him in the theater named for Ed.