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Nostalgia TV's Takeover: Rewind The Clock, Rewatch The Classics

Actors Courteney Cox (left), Jennifer Aniston (center) and Matthew Perry are shown in a scene from the NBC series "Friends". (Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images)
Actors Courteney Cox (left), Jennifer Aniston (center) and Matthew Perry are shown in a scene from the NBC series "Friends". (Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images)

You can find a buildout from this hour, featuring a partial transcription, here.

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Nostalgia TV makes a comeback. We look at reboots, reunions, revivals and why, 25 years on, we want to hang with “Friends.”


Marta Kauffman, co-creator and executive producer of the NBC sitcom “Friends,” which first aired 25 years ago from this coming Sunday. (@MartaFKauffman)

Eric Deggans, NPR TV critic. (@Deggans)

Cristel Antonia Russell, professor of marketing at the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University. (@GraziadioSchool)

From The Reading List

Today: “Watching our favorite old TV shows has psychological benefits, experts say” — “Kimberly M. Wetherell loves watching television after a hard day at work. The 46-year-old audiobook narrator, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y, likes to binge on edgy shows like ‘Good Omens’ and ‘Fleabag.’

“But when it comes time to unwind, Wetherell, like many people, finds herself craving what she calls ‘comfort TV,’ favorite old sitcoms like ‘The Golden Girls,’ or ‘Seinfeld.’

“‘When I go to bed, my mind is still racing. My brain will be going over the anxiety of the day. I start overanalyzing things and my brain just won’t turn off,’ she told TODAY. Watching ‘The Golden Girls,’ she explained, is ‘like hanging out with old friends.’

“Not only does she have every one of Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia’s wisecracks memorized, she has a special place in her heart for the show’s canned laughter.

“‘Something about a laugh track brings me back to when I was a kid and I watched TV in the ‘70s and the ‘80s. There’s something familiar and soothing about it. It allows me to turn my brain off and drift off to sleep,’ she shared.”

The Detroit News: “The $400 million-plus reason your favorite TV shows are exiting Netflix, Hulu” — “The finale of the hit sitcom ‘Seinfeld’ aired on May 14, 1998 and has been ubiquitous in reruns on cable and local TV stations ever since.

“But more than 20 years later, its 180 episodes will soon become one of the hottest properties in television again. The streaming rights for ‘Seinfeld,’ which has been available for streaming on Hulu since 2015, will be back on the market soon just as media conglomerates Comcast, WarnerMedia and Walt Disney Co. look to shore up content for their new direct-to-consumer streaming services aimed at taking on Netflix.

“The demand for the 30-year-old series is the latest example of how streaming has altered not only viewing habits, but also unlocked the value of long-running TV shows that first became hits on the broadcast networks. With nearly 500 scripted TV shows currently in production, iconic shows from the pre-streaming era such as ‘Seinfeld,’ ‘Friends’ and ‘The Office’ have become the heavy artillery used on the next front of the streaming wars.”

New York Times: “TV’s Big Bet on Nostalgia” — “The television industry is facing an uncertain, uncharted future. But next season it’s placing a big bet on the past.

“MacGyver, the crafty secret agent, is returning to CBS three decades after his 1985 debut. ‘Tales From the Crypt,’ an HBO series that first aired in 1989, will be resurrected on TNT. ‘MTV Unplugged,’ whose Eric Clapton heyday was in the 1990s, is back — and so are ’24,’ ‘Prison Break’ and ‘Gilmore Girls.’

“‘We now live in a world where TV shows never die,’ said David Nevins, the chief executive of Showtime. He has his own revival on the way: Mr. Nevins helped persuade David Lynch to create a new chapter of ‘Twin Peaks,’ the cult series that went off the air a quarter-century ago.

“Call it a familiarity fetish. At the network upfront presentations, which began on Monday, executives are expected to unveil new adaptations of favored franchises that extend beyond TV shows, including films like ‘The Exorcist,’ ‘Training Day,’ ‘Taken’ and, potentially, ‘Cruel Intentions,’ with Sarah Michelle Gellar reprising her role in the 1999 original.

“Network nostalgia for a happier, Netflix-free age is not the only factor at play. With about 400 scripted shows airing last year alone, built-in name recognition can offer a crucial edge with audiences overwhelmed by new choices. And streaming services have revealed new interest in older titles thought to be past their profitable prime.”

Anna Bauman produced this hour for broadcast.

This article was originally published on

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