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Dick Clark was a TV personality known for the shows American Bandstand, $25,000 Pyramid and TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes, among others.
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His business interests grew to include record companies, song publishing houses, and artist management groups. When the record industry's "payola" scandal (involving payment in return for airplay) broke in 1959, Clark told a congressional committee he was unaware performers in whom he had interests had received disproportionate play on his programs. He sold his shares back to the corporation,
upon ABC's suggestion that his participation might be considered a conflict of interest.
Clark emerged from the investigation largely unscathed, as did American Bandstand. The program grew to be a major success, running daily Monday through Friday until 1963. It was then moved to Saturdays, and was broadcast from Hollywood until 1989.
The move to Los Angeles, the center of the entertainment industry, allowed Clark to diversify his involvement in television production. Dick Clark Productions began presenting variety programs and game shows, most successfully The $25,000 Pyramid and TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes.
Among the many awards programs the company produced was the American Music Awards, which Clark created as a rival to the Grammy Awards. The special has often surpassed viewership of the Grammys, presumably because it presents performers more closely attuned to younger audiences' tastes. Dick Clark's production company also produced a number of movies and made-for-TV movies including Elvis (1979), Birth of the Beatles (1979), Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story (1993), Copacabana (1985) and The Savage Seven (1968).
In 1972, Dick Clark produced and hosted Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, the long-running special that has been broadcast on December 31 of each year. The program consists of live segments which feature Clark, his co-hosts, and different entertainment acts in and around New York City's Times Square. The performances continue until the clock counts down to midnight, at which time New York's traditional New Year's Eve ball drops, signaling the new year.
The program is aired live in the Eastern Time Zone, and then tape-delayed for the other time zones so that viewers can bring in the New Year with Clark when midnight strikes in their area. For more than three decades, the show has become an annual cultural tradition in the United States for the New Year's Eve and New Year's Day holiday. In 2004, Clark was unable to appear in program due to a stroke, which left him partially paralyzed and caused difficulty of speech. That year, talk-show presenter Regis Philbin substituted as host. The following year, Clark returned to the show, with radio and TV personality Ryan Seacrest serving as the primary host.
Clark made his last appearance on the annual event on its New Year's Eve 2012 program, which was celebrating its 40th anniversary that night. Around this time, he spoke with the Los Angeles Times about the show. Clark noted that two of the most memorable moments for him were the millennium broadcast and Jennifer Lopez's performance in 2009. "The most amazing thing to me about doing the show for 40 years is how quickly it all went," he said.
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