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Quiz show scandal helps move TV production out of NY

Television production, once centered in New York, headed west in the late 1950s and the early 1960s.  With the development of film broadcasts, live shows were no longer the mainstay of television programming.  Hollywood’s ability to produce high-quality telefilms for series gave the studios an edge over New York production centers.

Another phenomenon in the late 1950s that drove most of the entertainment programming out of New York: the quiz show scandals.  Shows like The $64,000 Question, Twenty-One, and The $64,000 Challenge had been “fixed.”  Selected contestants were given questions and answers in advance to make the programs “more interesting. “ This was done, supposedly, at the behest of sponsors who were involved with the programming of these shows.

A congressional investigation followed these revelations, with the result that the networks rejected the game show format, turning instead to more television films and series.

The 1959 fall TV schedule contained more than 30 new Hollywood series.