Along with declining viewership, Ed Sullivan attracted a higher median age for the average viewer (which most sponsors found undesirable) as the seasons went on.These two factors were the reason the show was canceled by CBS as part of a mass cancellation of advertiser-averse programming after the end of the 1970–1971 season.In 1990, television documentary producer Andrew Solt formed SOFA Entertainment, Inc.
Unlike NBC's The Tonight Show, which celebrated the notoriety of their musicians in Skitch Henderson's or Doc Severinsen's "Tonight Show Band", the CBS producers of The Ed Sullivan Show decided to hide their famed musicians behind a curtain.
The Ed Sullivan Show was originally broadcast via live television from CBS-TV studio 51, the Maxine Elliott Theatre, at Broadway and 39th St. In September 1965, CBS started televising the program in compatible color, as all three major networks began to switch to 100 percent color prime time schedules.
before moving to its permanent home at CBS-TV Studio 50 in New York City (1697 Broadway, at 53rd Street), which was renamed The Ed Sullivan Theater on the occasion of the program's 20th anniversary in June 1968. CBS had once backed its own color system, developed by Peter Goldmark, and resisted using RCA's compatible process until 1954.
In the show's June 20, 1948 debut, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis performed along with singer Monica Lewis and Broadway composers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II previewing the score to their then-new show South Pacific, which opened on Broadway in 1949. As had occurred with the annual telecasts of The Wizard of Oz in the 1960s and '70s, the family ritual of gathering around the television set to watch Ed Sullivan became almost a U. The show's iconic status is illustrated by the song "Hymn for a Sunday Evening" from the 1960 musical Bye Bye Birdie.
From 1948 through 1962, the program's primary sponsor was the Lincoln-Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company; Sullivan read many commercials for Mercury vehicles live on the air during this period. In the song, a family of viewers expresses their regard for the program in worshipful tones.