The Nat King Cole Show (1956-1957)
On November 5, 1956, The Nat 'King' Cole Show debuted on NBC. The variety program was one of the first hosted by an African American, which created controversy at the time. Beginning as a 15-minute pops show on Monday night, the program was expanded to a half-hour in July 1957. The last episode of The Nat King Cole Show aired December 17, 1957. Cole had survived for over a year, and it was he, not NBC, who ultimately decided to end the program. Commenting on the lack of sponsorship his show received, Cole quipped shortly after its demise, "Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark."
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