is a variety show
that originated on the USA Network
. An eclectic mix of short films
, B movies
, stand up comedy
, music videos
and more, Night Flight
was broadcast, in various incarnations, from 1981 to 1996.
Jeff Franklin, head of American Talent International, and Stuart S. Shapiro, head of International Harmony, approached USA Network about developing Night Flight
in February 1981. At the time USA was having difficulty defining itself as a network and decided to take a chance on the series. The first episode of Night Flight
aired on June 5, 1981, timed to take advantage of a writers' strike that had halted production on NBC
's Saturday Night Live
Night Flight was one of the first places to see films and shorts not generally aired on broadcast television or on the pay-per movie channels such as HBO. It was the first place many Americans were able to see music documentaries like Another State of Mind, The Grateful Dead Movie, Word, Sound and Power, and--Yessongs. Night Flight was also one of the first American television shows to display the music video as an art form, rather than purely as a promotional tool for the artists. And, with the freedom had by them on early (and late-night) cable television, they would at times show portions of videos that were censored (or in some cases, banned) by MTV and other outlets."