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Entertainment Weekly: Top 25 Pop Culture Hits
Aired November 12, 2005 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, CNN 25, ENTERTAINMENTS WEEKLY HIT LIST: And community leaders as well as U.N. staffers.
And north of Baghdad, more than 380 people are being detained after a series of raids in Baqubah. Among the detainees, the city's deputy mayor, a city council member and a college dean. Iraqi officials say police commandos will remain in Baqubah until all insurgents are apprehended.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield, another update in 30 minutes. Stay tuned now for CNN 25 ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S HIT LIST.
KYRA BRYANT, ANCHOR, CNN 25 ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S HIT LIST (voice over): What made pop culture pop during the past 25 years? From "Dallas" to some desperate housewives, prime time cliffhangers still keep us guessing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then there were seven.
BRYANT: But no one saw the drama that real life could provide. Music changed, and that made us notice a girl from Michigan. And a man who first made the sound of the streets popular in Suburbia. But entertainment's final frontier ended up being right at home. We're taking a look back at what's been, and what could be next in pop culture.
BRYANT: If it happened in pop culture in the past 25 years, CNN was there. I'm Karyn Bryant.
A.J. HAMMER, CNN ANCHOR, CNN 25 ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S HIT LIST: I'm A.J. Hammer. In honor of CNN's 25th anniversary, we asked the writers and editors at "Entertainment Weekly" to come up with a hit list of the top 25 moments in pop culture.
BRYANT: The list includes the good, the bad and the not so ready for prime time.
HAMMER: It is all about the events that sparks trends that change the landscape of the entertainment industry.
BRYANT: Let's start big with the influence of the small screen. The power of television increased tremendously in the past 25 years and some television firsts changed the way we look at our world forever. A.J. has more beginning with a new kind of leading lady.
ELLEN DEGENERES: I'm gay.
HAMMER (voice over): It was one of those threshold moments in television. In 1997, Ellen Degeneres and her character, Ellen Morgan, came out of the closet to create TV's first gay leading character in ABC's show "Ellen." Paving the way for other shows with homosexuals in leading roles, like NBC's situation comedy "Will and Grace," cable's makeover "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."
Ellen Degeneres went on to host the 2001 Emmys and now has her own syndicated talk show. With the arrival of the gay friendly cable or pay TV's network Q Television, logo and here, it appears TV targeting a gay-friendly audience is here to stay.
Another first in 1997, HBO put cable TV on the charts, relying on the hit program "The Sopranos" it topped ABC, CBS and NBC in head-to- head competition for Emmy nominations. Although a technicality required HBO to relinquish two of its Emmy's, it was clear the days of big three-network domination were coming to a close. As it has since 2001 HBO once again led the pack this year, getting a boost in the TV movie category from the film "Warm Springs."
Making waves over at Fox, "The Simpson's" the dysfunctional family delivered Fox its first ever top five show in 1990. It's now the longest running sitcom in American history. The success of the "Simpson's" inspired other animated prime time characters from the boys of "Southpark" to the men hanging out in "King of the Hill."
Acting as the king of the hill on requesting "Dallas" J.R. Ewing ushered in a new era of prime time soaps. That appealed to real life desperate houswifes. "Dallas" introduced America to the blockbuster season Emmy cliffhanger that kept Americans hanging for months about who shot J.R.
Following the success of "Dallas" prime time soaps like "Dynasty," "Falcon Crest," "Melrose Place" and today's hit, "Desperate Housewives" have cleaned up.
Also, hitting the airwaves in the 1980, an unstoppable force named Oprah Winfrey. She shattered the color barrier, bursting onto the national talk show scene in 1986. Today, her show is the world's most widely watched daytime television program. Along the way, Oprah pumped new life into the book industry, launched her own magazine and Oprah's angel network raised more than $30 million for charity. Ranked by "Forbes" as the most powerful celebrity she'll be launching her 20th season this year.
HAMMER: Joining us to talk more about the big reach of the small screne, "Entertainment Weekly's" editor at large, Mark Harris and staff writer Alynda Wheat. All right. Ophrah Winfrey the queen of daytime television doesn't have to work another day in her life if she doesn't want to, yet she is staying on the tube, her contract has her there until 2011.
MARK HARRIS, EDITOR AT LARGE, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:" Right, well you know, it's been 20 years so far at the top, so I don't really have any advice for her about how to stay there for another five. If I had something smart to tell Oprah, I'd be the billionaire but she's always known what the next thing is, before we've known what the next thing is, so I'm excited to watch Oprah for the next few years. Because I think she is the first news we get about where TV is going to be a couple of years after she gets there.
HAMMER: And you make such a good point, because we have no idea where television is going to be five, six years from now. She will always stay relevant.
BRYANT: And essentially the longer she's on the more popular she is. She still gains in numbers. People still seem to be discovering her.
HARRIS: Right, I mean nobody stays number one for 20 years.
HAMMER: Not burning out any time soon.
BRYANT: Unbelievable. Well also on the talk show seen now is "Ellen." But I want to talk about when she had her sitcom was there a big battle going on behind the scenes, because the whole coming out episode was a big deal but it was one of those things you know it was obviously a very risky move. What was it like behind the scenes?
ALYNDA WHEAT, STAFF WRITER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:" It wasn't so much that she wanted to come out that was creating controversy with her ABC bosses. It was how. They wanted it to go slowly and smoothly. She complained they didn't promo the show enough; give it a bit of a bump in the media. There were the warnings at the beginning of every episode saying this is adult content only. She found that really offensive so they went back and forth on that for quite a while.
BRYANT: But certainly it opened the doors and television hasn't really looked back.
HARRIS: Absolutely. The episode where she came out was a huge win. I mean what could have been a typically bad, very special episode of the show was probably the funniest show they ever did and the single highest rated episode of "Ellen" of all-time and it won an Emmy for writing.
WHEAT: And lets not forget the very next season you got "Will and Grace" on NBC.
HAMMER: From prime time sitcom to prime time soap operas, which have cycled in and out of our lives over the years and back in the forefront with a show like "Desperate Housewives." Which took from the formula, of end the season with the big cliffhanger like they did on "Dallas" years ago and hold people over to the next season. Is that formula going to hang in there?
WHEAT: Oh absolutely. I mean you have to remember people hung in for the who shot J.R. cliffhanger for eight months. Because of a writer strike in the summer, eight months. Now I'm not sure if we have the same amount of patience these days but "Desperate Housewives" is so masterful at giving you just enough information to feel satisfied, but keeping you hanging about a few more things.
BYRANT: Plus I think the Internet keeps it alive, the message boards and the chatting and now everything is also available on DVD so quickly. I think a lot of the shows stay current even when they're off.
HARRIS: Funny that "Dallas" couldn't even decide whether to be a prime time soap or not when it started. The lousy episodes were free standing; the cliffhanger was just something they kind of tried.
HAMMER: Smart, smart, smart.
There's more to come on ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S HIT LIST of the top 25 moments in pop culture.
BRYANT: Coming up the magic of television has created a whole new generation of stars that are famous for being themselves or at least being a survivor.
Then the movies that created a whole new vernacular, like "Terminator."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be back!
BRYANT: And later, the top moment in pop culture. Messing with tradition in Kinsle Town.
BRYANT: We all have our favorite movie lines but what gets you in line at the movie theater? The kinds of movies we all wanted to see changed drastically in the past 25 years. Sibila Vargas looks at some blockbuster moments.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm the king of the world!
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Eighty five years after the original sank to the bottom of the Atlantic, Hollywood's version of the "Titanic" sailed to the top of the box office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And cut.
VARGAS: James Camron's 1997 epic "Love Story" has earned more money than any other movie, $1.8 billion worldwide. It also marked a turning point in film history. A claim producer John Davis explains.
JOHN DAVIS, FILM PRODUCER: It showed that you could make a $200 million movie that actually didn't bomb.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forever this way.
VARGAS: In the end, "Titanic" also took home 11 Academy Awards, including best original song and best picture of the year. But it was six years earlier that Oscar proved he was no scaredy cat. "Silence of the Lambs" killed the competition, winning five statues in all, including best picture, actress and actor for Anthony Hopkins.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mind if I hadn't received it you'd all be in trouble.
VARGAS: It was a unprecedented feat for psychological thriller and one that would create a major market for forensic entertainment. While TV shows like "CSI" and "Cold Case" might have had their roots on the big screen, it was the pages of a comic book that spawned another huge movie trend of the last 25 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Batman.
VARGAS: In the summer of 1989, Warner Brothers released "Batman" and in just 11 days the film earned more than $100 million. Suddenly, comic book movies were major bank and Hollywood's "a" list were cashing the checks.
DAVIS: I think we all grew up with the "Batman" or "Superman" or "Spiderman 2" as kids, and we all were reliving our childhood.
VARGAS: Before caped crusaders were box office gold another kind of action hero reigned supreme.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be back.
VARGAS: With exactly two years between them, 1982's "Rambo" and 1984's "Terminator" delivered maximum muscle to a country ready for power.
DAVIS: It was a great era; it was a great time those kinds of movies a time when we wanted larger than life heroes.
VARGAS: Six films later the two franchises have earned a combined $1.6 billion worldwide. From movies with muscle to those with heart. Sometimes a film's greatest impact is in its message.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me help you.
VARGAS: In 1993, Tom Hanks brought the world to "Philadelphia," won his first Academy Award and gave a face to the AIDS epidemic.
DAVIS: You know sometimes movies are great because I think that they can precondition society for acceptance. When we do that we're at the statesmanship level of filmmaking.
BRYANT: Movies that changed attitudes and created genres. We're joined by "Entertainment Weekly" editor at large Mark Harris and senior writer Steve Daly. So Mark, I want to talk about "Philadelphia." This was a great movie; Tom Hanks was terrific in it. He won an Oscar for best actor. It was a movie unafraid to talk about AIDS and to put it right out there. How did this affect the movie industry?
HARRIS: Well I think just the simple fact that people didn't run screaming from the theater when there was a gay character on screen or when AIDS was brought up. The fact that "Philadelphia" actually not only won an Oscar but did pretty well at the box office was a huge moment for all of pop culture and the funny thing is it didn't actually affect the movie industry that much. Ten years later we don't see that many gay characters in movies but it affected the TV industry enormously. It made it OK for gay characters and for tough topics like AIDS to be brought into people's living rooms.
STEVE DALY, SENIOR WRITER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:" It also inadvertently inspired the movie "In and Out," which was based on the fact that Tom Hanks in his acceptance speech thanked, was it a high school teacher, or acting teacher, which then became the basis of the fictional story of an actor inadvertently outing a teacher, and rolled on.
HAMMER: Let's talk about some lighter fair; comic book adaptations to movies have been around for a long time. "Batman" has been a franchise that has existed now for what, about 16 years or so. Sometimes a hit, sometimes they miss. Steve, what's the formula to make it a good comic book adaptation?
DALY: Well one of the problems with them is that they cost so much money to produce. These are event movies in the realm of anywhere from a $100 million to $170 million, $180 million dollars. Sometimes the studios in order to be able to finance the effects and the physical production, they want a less experienced director and maybe not the biggest movie stars in the world, save that for the supporting roles, the way Jack Nicholson was such a hit in "Batman." But when you get someone like Petof to come in for "Catwoman," you are asking for trouble. And occasionally when these less experienced directors try to do these big projects they don't always come off.
BRYANT: Big project was "Titanic" basically the biggest movie ever. Is it possible to recreate the success of that and basically the budgets that they spend on movies now it seems trying to get that kind of a film, they're just wasting their money, it's not hitting.
HARRIS: You know these days when studios make movies they say really proudly, we really think we'll get women or 25 or 18 to 24- year-old guys are going to love this movie. "Titanic" was truly a movie for everyone, age, gender, race it didn't matter. It was one of the most expensive studio movie made up until that time but that's how it made $600 million in American by appealing to everyone and by telling a story that people wanted to see over and over and over again. I don't think we're going to see the record fall any time soon. Because Hollywood isn't thinking big enough.
DALY: Not only did "Titanic" appeal to a totally broad spectrum, it hit one particular spectrum teenage girls who went to see that movie over and over and over again, to the point where that was the movie whose gross actually rose week after week which is almost unheard of in modern Hollywood. It actually was making more money per week a month out from these rabid teenage girl fans who just wanted to see Leo go down with that ship one more time.
BRYANT: And the record sold, too. I mean this thing was just a hit all across the board.
HAMMER: Well the hero has kept the people coming back to the box office year after year, "Rambo" probably among the films that kicked it all off, that is a genre with true staying power isn't it?
DALY: Absolutely. I mean international markets have become more and more important to the studios. The reason that these action movies started to rise in the 1980s was because as the pipeline got more global, you need movies that are easier to translate and when you've got Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking in monosyllables or you got Bruce Willis or these other action stars running around, those are easier movies to export.
BRYANT: We'll have more of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S TOP 25 MOMENTS IN POP CULTURE. Stay ahead.
The moment we all became whana bees. The musical pulse of pop culture.
And coming up, are Hollywood's big studios no longer the only game in town? Stay tuned!
HAMMER: The moon walk helped make Michael Jackson the king of pop, but that was just one of the instrumental moments that really prompted a shift in what we love about our music. Brooke Anderson has all the notes for the soundtrack of our lives.
MICHAEL JACKSON: Cause this is thriller, thriller night
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was indeed a thriller of a quarter century. When Michael Jackson seemed to walk on air in the "Motown 25th Anniversary Special" in 1983, it ushered in a whole new era of Michael mania. Jackson's album "Thriller" was eventually certified platinum 26 times in the U.S. He went on to earn 13 Grammies, countless other awards and this star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
ANTONIO "L.A." REID, CHAIRMAN, ISLAND DEF JAM MUSIC GROUP: On record, "Thriller" is the biggest selling album ever to this day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are the world.
ANDERSON: The gloved one co-wrote "We are the World" which was recorded in January, 1985 and later performed in July at "Live AID," one of the first global mega concerts organized for charity. More than 60 acts, including the Who, Queen, u2, and Eric Clapton were among those who performed for free at "Live AID."
ERIC CLAPTON, MUSICIAN: I was very proud to be there. I have to say. The issue and the cause and all of that is one thing but I'm musician. I just love to every now and then get together with a bunch of other players. I think that's a lot of why we do these things is just so we can check everybody out.
ANDERSON: More than 1.5 billion people watched. $140 million was raised for in a fem and relief. "Live AID" inspired numerous other benefits concerts. Including "Farm Aid" the Tsunami relief concert and most recently a sequel to "Live Aid" called "Live 8." The last 25 years also saw New Kids on the Block, 'N Sync, 98 Degrees and the Backstreet boys. Oh the boy band phenonimun of the late '80s and '90s. Hip-hop star Tupac Shakur rapped of sex, gunfights and gang rivalries. Shakur died from gunshot wounds in 1996 at age 25.
AFENI SHAKUR, TUPAC'S MOTHER: I don't think that he appoclutely (ph) knew he was going to die, but he know the life that he was living and he knew the place where he was living at.
ANDERSON: Shakur launched rap into the main stream and paved the way for artists like 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Ja Rule and Ludacris.
REID: He has the kind of impact that the Beatles almost had, not necessarily musically but a cultural impact.
ANDERSON: Shakur's legacy still lives on. More Tupac albums have been released than when he was alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a Virgin.
ANDERSON: The Material Girl's controversial tune "Like a Virgin" hit number on the music charts in December 1984 and Madonna never looked back. The song was a mega hit, holding the coveted top spot for six straight weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just being provocative for the sake of being provocative doesn't interest me right now.
ANDERSON: But even music's most memorable moments can go the way of the boy band craze. Bye, bye, bye.
HAMMER: It's all about the music to talk more about the power of music in pop culture, from "Entertainment Weekly" senior writer David Karger and staff writer Alynda Wheat. Well let's talk about Madonna Aylnda of course when she burst onto the scene she changed what it is to be a pop music icon forever. Will anybody change pop music the way Madonna did?
WHEAT: Well certainly. I mean Every 10 or 12 years or so we someone pop new on the scene who changes pop culture with their style and their look. You know Madonna is about reinventing herself, now she's in the English manner lady. That will happen again but Madonna was the icon of the '80s with "Like a virgin" major selling album and she continues to be a trendsetter today.
HAMMER: Do you see anybody taking her place? Because over the years people always speculate who the next Madonna will be.
DAVID KARGER, SENIOR WRITER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:" People mention Britney Spears. But I don't know, I don't know if she'll have the longevity of Madonna.
BRYANT: Or perhaps Beyonce?
KARGER: That's a better pick.
WHEAT: It's not so much about who is going to be an amazing singer, because that's never been Madonna's thing, not so much about her voice but who has the style and the impact and knows how to manage the media.
BRYANT: Well because certainly, Christina Aguilera has the voice but the image management perhaps not. Talking about a bad image, I know you got to shake it off. Some imagery in need for Michael Jackson, he's had some tough years but "Thriller" the all-time greatest selling record ever. It's the type of thing is Michael Jackson just down and out or can he ever come back?
KARGER: Never to the heights that he was in the mid '80s. There's just no way. I mean when people say his name they don't think about his music anymore. They think about him in a courtroom.
KARGER: It's going to be so hard for him to overcome that. I can't imagine him gaining his popularity like that again.
WHEAT: Right in this country. Remember Michael Jackson is still a major star overseas, which is where he's currently living, but in this country, it's sort of over for him as a pop star.
BRYANT: Although certainly "Thriller" stands up as one of the greatest videos ever. I don't know if anybody can top that for the impact that had.
HAMMER: It changed the way videos were made forever.
KARGER: It was a mini movie. It basically was a movie. He had John Landis do the directing. I remember as a little kid staying up until whatever time it was for MTV to play it.
BRYANT: You couldn't wait till they played it.
WHEAT: Not only was the video itself you know, popular in rotation but the making of "Thriller" as the video was popular in rotation. The whole thing was just huge. HAMMER: Let's talk about hip-hop for a moment. We were talking about Tupac a few moments ago. He certainly changed hip-hop forever but it has changed so much since Tupac came around and some have said it's just mainstreaming.
KARGER: Hip-hop is pop music these days. If you look at the billboard chart any week, six or seven of the top ten songs are hip- hop or rap songs so it's really, they're cynominous at this point and I see it getting more popular.
BRYANT: Have all the boy bands gone good-bye? I mean they try to come back, Backstreet Boys tried to come back. Is that just done?
KARGER: We're so sad about the lives of the boy bands.
WHEAT: We were very much into that, 'N Sync but at the moment, yes. Boy bands it's a cyclical thing. Every few years there will be another wave of them but at the moment we like our singers --
KARGER: The killers with have the boy band looks but much more sophisticated sound. I think that might be the evolution of it.
HAMMER: Ant that pop sound will always cycle back around. All right. Well stay tuned for more of E.W'S TOP 25 MOMENTS IN POP CULTURE.
BRYANT" Inside the world of sex and the single girl, that's next.
Plus can you guess what our top pop culture moment is? It started out anti-establishment and now some consider it almost mainstream.
A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Welcome back to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S HIT LIST. I'm A.J. Hammer.
KARYN BRYANT, CO-HOST: And I'm Karyn Bryant. We asked the editors and writers at "Entertainment Weekly" to come up with the top 25 moments in pop culture that were pivotal in the entertainment industry.
HAMMER: And so far we've looked at everything from the "Titanic" movie to who shot J.R.
BRYANT: Let's kick it off again with some big things that happened on the small screen. Cable ushered in a whole new type of television from MTV to HBO. J.J. Ramberg begins with a show about women who are truly comfortable with their sexuality.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're dating the city?
SARAH JESSICA PARKER, "SEX AND THE CITY": About 18 years. It's getting serious. I think I'm in love.
J.J. RAMBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It made being single your 30s glamorous and Manolo Blahnik a household name. HBO's "Sex and the City" debuted in 1998 and over the next seven years an average of seven million people tuned in every Sunday while four smart, sophisticated, sexy, and single women tackled dating over 30 in the Big Apple.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Burger broke up with me on a Post-it.
RAMBERG: The girl power phenomenon began all the rage.
DARREN STAR, CREATOR, "SEX AND THE CITY": I really thing People responded to the camaraderie among the women, this sort of notion of female friendship and that women didn't have to find their fulfillment in men.
RAMBERG: While HBO cashed in on the single life, years earlier, NBC won big audiences celebrating family life.
BILL COSBY, "THE COSBY SHOW": There's no wolf man growling in your closet.
RAMBERG: "The Huxtables," Bill Cosby's affluent African-America TV family dominated the screen. "The Cosby Show" stole the No. 1 spot four years in a row and helped launch what became NBC's Thursday night "Must See TV."
(on camera): But before there was "Must See TV," there was "I want my MTV." On August 1, 1981, a new kind of television network launched and it changed the music industry forever.
(voice-over): Fans wanted videos, musicians wanted exposure and MTV quickly soared in popularity. It became so influential that even President Clinton stopped by the network to take questions from teens.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, the world's dying to know, is it boxers or briefs?
BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE United States: Ususally briefs.
RAMBERG: Exposing what's under our clothes took center stage for MTV again a little more than a decade later when Justin Timberlake ripped off Janet Jackson's top and exposed her bejeweled breast during MTV's Super Bowl halftime program on CBS. The FCC leveled the largest fine against the broadcaster and the "wardrobe malfunction," as Timberlake called it, made headlines, sparking a national debate over where to draw the line between entertainment and indecency.
By the time of that Super Bowl scandal, though, the country should have become used to unscripted moments. In 2000, more than 51 million people watched the finale of "Survivor" and cemented America's obsession with reality television.
MARK BURNETT, CREATOR "SURVIVOR": I always "Survivor" would have a water cooler effect and we all liked that idea of being marooned, what would we do?
RAMBERG: "Survivor" paved the road for bachelors looking for love, ambitious young business men and women looking for a job and average Joes looking to become a little less average, all this while audiences across the country tuned in.
BRYANT: Those moments on the small screen, both expected and unexpected give us a lot to talk about. Let's bring in our guests from "Entertainment Weekly," again, Mark Harris, Dave Krager, and Alynda Wheat.
And Alynda, I want to start with you. "Survivor," huge boom for the television industry, huge ratings grabber, started the whole reality craze. Can this continue?
ALYNDA WHEAT, STAFF WRITER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": You know, we almost think the reality craze is just on the precipice of dying and it never really is. We all claim to be tired of it but we're still watching it, so yeah I think it sort of can continue.
BRYANT: It just seems that they've cannibalized every idea and now spun it off and watered it down and made a parody and...
DAVE KRAGER, SR. WRITER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": The problem is when it gets too mean. Sometimes these reality shows are so mean- spirited, where they just try to catch people off guard and then it's no fun to watch anymore. So you have to wonder if that's something they have to look at.
MARK HARRIS, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": I disagree, though. I think we watch these shows to watch people lose, not win. Because somebody loses on "Survivor" every week. Somebody only wins once a season.
HAMMER: Or to seeing naked guys sitting through an entire season of television.
KRAGER: Somethings you can never...
BRYANT: I may not watch that. I can show you how to not watch it.
HAMMER: Well, let's talk about something a little more toned down, the "Cosby's" have certainly raised the bar for the sitcom when they were on for eight years, primetime Thursday nights on NBC. Were things as happy as they seemed in the Huxtible family behind the scenes, was what was going on back stage?
HARRIS: I think they were happy because Bill Cosby's word was law, you know. His kids treated him not as a dad but certainly as an authority figure, and you know, it makes for a harmonious set when everyone knows who's boss and I don't think Bill Cosby was likely to let people forget that. HAMMER: He was the boss. And certainly it launched "Must See TV" for NBC, something they haven't really had great success with recently. Any chance of that coming back?
WHEAT: Yeah, it almost sort of doesn't look like it. "Joey" isn't performing as well as they hoped it would, and he's up against some major competition with Chris Rock's "Everybody Hates Chris" on UPN.
BRYANT: I want to talk about MTV. It use to be -- I mean MTV started in the early '80s. MTV was the place to go to hear new music, to break bands. It seems that in the day of the internet now, MTV is not as important. Is that the case?
KRAGER: Well, I think there's two things going on. One, people are hearing music on their iPods, they're buying it for 99 cents off the computer. But the other thing is that MTV, I'm sorry, they don't play videos anymore. And I know that we've been saying that for 10 years, but they just don't.
HARRIS: It's much more of a pop culture cham for the younger generation then anything else.
WHEAT: It's about "The Real World," you know, much less about the music video.
BRYANT: All right, well we will have more of "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S TOP 25 POP CULTURE MOMENTS" coming up.
(CHANTING): Harry, Harry!
BRYANT: How a little wizard put the magic back in reading for the TV generation.
And we're closing in on our top moment with a special guest who brought us the cult classic, "Clerks."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mean I got to drink this coffee hot?
BRYANT: Grab a drink and stay tuned.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Be our guest, be our guest put our service to the test.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE(singing): Beauty and the beast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Be our guest, be our guest put our service to the test.
Hammer: That may not be music to our ears but "Beauty and the Beast" the movie was certainly a big hit at the box office and it really marked a marriage between the big screen and technology. Veronica de la Cruz rewinds some entertainment firsts.
VERONICA DE LA CRUZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From "The Final Frontier" to our living rooms, home entertainment became a bigger business in the '80s with the sale of the first movie on home video. "Star Trek, The Wrath of Kahn" the VHS sold for $40 in 1982 sparking a new blockbuster industry. Why go to a movie when you can rent and watch one at home any time? By the late '80s, 60 percent of homes had a VCR. In 1987, home movie rentals exceed box office revenues. In 1989, Nintendo released the portable Gameboy that revolutionized the gaming industry.
KEITH FEINSTEIN, INTERACTIVE GAME HISTORIAN: That's the single most successful piece of interactive entertainment hardware ever introduced.
DE LA CRUZ: And maybe even changed the way or kids think.
FEINSTEIN: It's taught children to be proactive, to follow their own interests, and contrast that with the experience of going and sitting in a classroom, where nothing -- almost nothing is interactive unless you're going to have the guts to raise your hand.
DE LA CRUZ: Not to be outdone by these home and portable devices, major motion pictures rebounded with their own high-tech advances. Exploding on the silver screen with 3-D graphics and special effects, in 1991, Disney released the animated movie musical "Beauty and the Beast." A little known company at the time, Pixar, provided innovative software that gave some of the film's,3-D effects never seen before. These effects combined with traditional artwork struck a cord, raking in $144 million, running in theaters 42 straight weeks. "Beauty and the Beast" became the first and only animated movie ever to be nominanted for a best picture Oscar.
(on camera): There was one entertainment sensation where high- tech didn't matter at all. In fact, it was a simple pen to paper that worked wonders for then struggling writer and single mom J.K. Rowling and her star character, Harry Potter.
(voice-over): By the time the fourth Harry Potter book was released people were burning the midnight oil, waiting in lines at book stores to be first to read the latest exploits of Harry and his wizard friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wizards are cool.
DE LA CRUZ: Harry Potter's popularity created an industry all its own from books to toys to movies, including the latest movie release "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
HAMMER: Technology and the publishing phenomenon. We're joined again by panel from "Entertainment Weekly" editor-at-large, Mark Harris and senior writer Steve Daly. Steve, phenomenon might be an understatement for the Harry Potter book series, a generation of kids who are growing up on TV and Gameboys reading again.
STEVE DALY, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Absolutely, and despite the fact that some protest groups thought you might turn into a Wiccan for reading these books which they tried to have banned in various communities, it really is phenomenal and every one of the books has grown to the point where one of them became a phenomenon like we've never seen.
HARRIS: It was like a movie blockbuster. We never saw people online outside the book store. The idea of ling up at midnight to buy a book? Why not wait until the next day? Well, it's because you want to be part of this huge thing.
DALY: I think that what it demonstrates is that there's so few shared -- universally shared experiences in modern life, you know, TV viewing is all fractionalized, movie going, if you don't see it the first weekend it has no interest anymore. People want to be part of something that they can talk about and share, and so the books have grown with every publication.
BRYANT: Well now Steve, you're touching on something about shared experiences, people are going to the box office a lot less often to see a movie, talking about DVD sales really huge. Now but obviously, back a few years ago it was thanks to the VCR. What kind of impact are the home video elements having on box office receipts and how people see movies nowadays?
DALY: Well, you know, back when the movie studios were actively trying to thwart people from buying VCRs, trying to stop home taping, they were trying to stop this genie from getting out of the bottle, everybody thought that, just as in the 1950s, when moving going -- television really cut into movie going, they thought this is going to be the end of people going to the box office. In fact, all through the '80s and 90s, the pie has gotten bigger and bigger, and in fact, the degree of cross-promotion of big hit movies coming out in the third or fourth sequel, so they reissue the DVD that has promotional information about it.
HAMMER: Well, with the proliferation of technology, the video game industry, bigger than ever, is the bubble going to burst or is this just going to keep growing, Steve?
DALY: I think it will keep growing. What the companies would like to see is a greater degree of interactivity, Playstation and XBox are moving toward platforms where you won't just be playing console games, you'll be interacting on the internet. You'll be sending text messages while you're playing a game, they're all trying to move toward this interactive world where the internet and gaming converge. That hasn't happened yet, but we're probably going to see it become a lot closer.
BRYANT: I want to talk about animation for a while, move on to this. "Beauty and the Beast" came out, it was a very big hit and suddenly, animated movies became legitimate it seems. We see a lot more of that with Pixar with "Toy Story" we see animation really becoming a serious entity now, and also the fact that you can put an animated movie out straight to video and make a lot of dollars. What kind of impact has this had on the film industry?
HARRIS: It's all about money. I mean, as soon as "Beauty and the Beast" and they realized you could bring in adults to animated movies and that they were collectibles, they were videos you'd buy, not rent and watch over and over and over again, they realized there were literally billions to be made here and I think that was a huge revolution.
HAMMER: We are closing in on the top pick of "Entertainment Weekly's hit list." We'll have that next.
BRYANT: We've finally reached the top moment in pop culture. Here's a final hint. Hollywood leads the way in creating the next big thing. We'll tell you after the break. Systems with
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No? Something like that, I don't know.
HAMMER: And that brings us to our top pick. The power of Hollywood has always played a big role in pop culture for that we go again to Mark Harris, editor-at-large at "Entertainment Weekly."
Mark, why did you choose this particular moment to top the hit list?
HARRIS: Well, we looked at the moment that changed the way stars thought about the way they made movies, the way directors thought about movies, the way that studios thought about movies, and that really enduringly changed the way moviegoers thought about movies, and we looked back 10 or 12 years and this is what we've found.
HAMMER: All right, well we've been waiting long enough, so now Karyn has "Entertainment Weekly's" pick for the biggest pop culture moment for the past 25 years.
BRYANT: "Sex, Lies and Videotape," the 1989 movie with the intriguing name, helped put independent movies on Hollywood's mat, but five years later, it was Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," featuring an all-but-forgotten John Travolta, partnering with scripture preaching Samuel L. Jackson which proved independent movies belonged there. "Pulp Fiction" had an estimated $8 million budget but grossed more than $100 million the year it was released.
Adding fuel to the Indy fire that year, filmmaker Kevin Smith. His sleeper hit "Clerks" cost an estimated initial $27,000, but has raked in more than $3 million. Smith followed "Clerks" with other films including "Chasing Amy," starring Ben Affleck, the 1997 movie cost about $250,000, but has tallied more than $12 million.
Seeing the success of low budget movies on the big screen, major studios have either created their own independent movie making arms or acquired pre-existing companies.
BRYANT: Now to talk more about how independent films have made an impact on pop culture, a man who filmed his first movie in the convenience store where he worked and went on to win the highest award at the Sundance Film Festival in 1984. He also brought us the movies "Mall Rats," "Chasing Amy," and "Jay and Silent Bob." Joining from us L.A., actor/writer Kevin Smith, who is also a director.
Good to see you, Kevin.
KEVIN SMITH, DIRECTOR, ACTOR, WRITER: Thanks for throwing director last, it shows where I rank in the pantheon. The thing I do professionally most is the thing that I'm ranked for last.
BRYANT: I think you're a terrific director. I'll do it over if you want, Buddy.
SMITH: No, no, I love it. I love it. Give me my -- just keep me in my place.
BRYANT: All right, well here's the thing I want to talk about, "Pulp Fiction" because obviously this was an independent movie that...
SMITH: I saw that movie.
BRYANT: It was a good movie as well.
SMITH: It was very good.
BRYANT: It sort of changed things. All of a sudden independent movies seem to get a little bit more respect. Would you say that was the case?
SMITH: Yeah, I think "Pulp Fiction" really kicked the door open for people like myself, definitely, and just changed the way that most Americans thought of films, versus movies, you know, and all credit goes to Harvey Bob Weinstein then of Miramax for taking that movie, you know, to the mainstream. They could have just kind of put it into arthouse theaters but launched that in 1,000 screens across the country and brought it into the suburbs and the suburbs reacted well.
BRYANT: And that movie still plays very well today, too. I mean it was just a terrific movie.
SMITH: Absolutely, that movie has not aged a day and it's a classic. It was an instant classic. They'll still be talking about "Pulp Fiction" 20 years from now. BRYANT: Now, I want to talk about "Clerks" because in some circles, Kevin, I'm going to say this is a classic. It's a cult classic, I think.
SMITH: Definitely not on the level of "Pulp Fiction" but it has its followers, most of them you wouldn't want around your children, but it has its fans.
BRYANT: Well, I want to talk about the fact that, you know, you made this basically a $28,000 budget through credit cards and paychecks and pretty much scrounging change out of the couch it seems. Do you think that opportunity is still available for young filmmakers now to put something together that independently?
SMITH: Yeah, I think so. It's probably even more so now, because back in the day, you know, if you wanted something to look like, somewhat like a movie you had to shoot on at least 16 millimeter film, which is kind of costly, because films are a fairly costly medium. Now you can shoot on high def video, you can shoot on any one of these digital cameras that gives you the look of a film, while doing at the cost of tape, you know. So you can roll and roll as much as you want and not be burning through film and then of course you have to bump it up to 35 millimeter later on if you want to show it in a theater, but I think -- I think digital video has democratized film and kind of put it in the hands of anybody who wants to give it a shot.
BRYANT: You see people lampooning Sundance now. It used to be this great independent, you know, get-together and now it's got sponsorships and goodie bags and it's in the show "Entourage," they're filming there. Has independent film gone Hollywood?
SMITH: No, I mean if you look at the case of Sundance, in terms of the sponsorship -- sponsorship is one thing, because they've always had great sponsor at Sundance, including "Entertainment Weekly," where Mark Harris, we heard from earlier, is from. But they have people attach themselves to the festival that have nothing to do with the festival, because nothing stops a promoter or a company going up to Park City and renting a house, or a bungalow or a ski resort and giving away their free products. So, much of the free brouhaha or ballyhoo that surrounds Sundance that a lot of people go, "Oh, Sundance has sold out" has nothing to do with the film festival itself. It's hangers on. It's people who kind of attach themselves to the festival to kind of get their product out there, get it into the hands of famous people. So, you can't really fault the festival for that.
BRYANT: So, the spirit of independent film then though, you would say is still alive and well and in fact it seems to be a great place for actors who may be in the waning stages of their careers to come back.
SMITH: It's great for emerging actors and it's great for actors who want to recharge their batteries. Indi film ain't going anywhere it's always going to be around, as long as there's somebody looking at Hollywood mainstream crap going, "Ugh, I can't watch another one of these," there will be somebody who wants to make one of their own that speaks to a smaller, but distinct audience.
BRYANT: All right, well thank you for joining us, director Kevin Smith.
HAMMER: That wraps up the "Top 25 Moments in Pop Culture." We'd like to thank Mark Harry, Steve Daly, Dave Karger and Alynda Wheat from "Entertainment Weekly" for helping us to break it all down. And our special guest, Kevin Smith for joining us.
I'm A.J. Hammer.
BRYANT: And I'm Karyn Bryant. To lean more, check out our website at cnn.com/cnn25. Thanks for watching.
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