Variety Shows: Plenty of Nothing

In the quick-shift, sudden-death world of television, only two things are constant: commercials and Ed Sullivan.

While the rest of the industry cele brates a three-year run as something akin to a three-minute mile, Sullivan is hosting his 20th season on the longest-running show in the history of TV.

Governments have fallen, wars have been won and lost, generations have passed into manhood, but the Mount Rushmore of TV endures. Each season the reappearance of his granite visage on Sunday evenings inevitably provokes the same old question: What exactly is Ed Sullivan's talent?...

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