Tony Orlando and Dawn
In 1974 Sonny
and Cher cancelled their own show with CBS while they where going
through a divorce. Programming chief Fred Silverman saw Tony
Orlando and Dawn perform on the Grammys
and thought they would be a good replacement for Sonny and Cher. Turned
out he was right.
Starting July 3, 1974,
Tony, Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent would start taking bows every
Wednesday night at 8 pm. The four summer shows did well in the ratings and
it was placed on the fall schedule where it ran through December 1976.
Tony and Dawn continued to
place hits on the charts during the series run with songs but by the third
season the show was moved to Tuesdays at 8 to compete with Happy
Days and, although the show still had some strong numbers, the
show's new Saturday Night
Live-like format did not really set well with the host and his two
partners. The show was cancelled mid season. Shortly thereafter, tragedy
struck when Tony's sister died and his best friend, Freddie Prinze of Chico
and the Man, committed suicide.
To make matters worse, the
affair between Tony and his Dawn partner Telma Hopkins ended. For a while
even though they would perform together, they where not on speaking terms.
Tony's continued drug use caused Telma and Joyce to call management for
help. They where told it would be okay. However several months into a
disastrous tour with bad reviews Tony collapsed on stage and was taken
home for treatment. One year later Tony called a meeting with Dawn and
told them he was going solo.
They didn't speak to each
other for almost two years. Tony finally called them and they have
remained friends since. In 1988 Tony and dawn performed a reunion tour to
great reviews. The tour was so successful that the tour was originally
booked for five weeks and was extended for one year.
In the end Telma left the
tour to be in the ABC sitcom Family
Matters. Today she stars in Half and Half. Telma was
replaced on the tour by Joyce's sister Pam, who had always recorded with
the group but never performed with them. The tour lasted four more years.
Joyce Vincent lost her
daughter to illness at the age of 21 and is now divorced. The TV show was
on in reruns but now is off but is being considered for a DVD release in
the summer of 2004. In addition Tony and Dawn reunited for a PBS special
to be aired in the Spring and are considering a reunion tour for summer