Computer Chronicles logo from the early 1990s
|Created by||Stewart Cheifet|
|Written by||Norman Bridwell|
|Presented by||Gary Kildall
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||Stewart Cheifet|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||1983 – 2002|
Computer Chronicles was an American half-hour television series, broadcast from 1983 to 2002 on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) public television, which documented the rise of the personal computer from its infancy to the immense market at the turn of the 21st century.
The series was created in 1983 by Stewart Cheifet (later the show's co-host), who was then the station manager of the College of San Mateo's KCSM-TV. The show was initially broadcast as a local weekly series. The show was co-produced by WITF-TV in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It became a national series on PBS from fall 1983. Jim Warren was the show's founding host for the 1981–1982 season. It aired continuously from 1981 to 2002, with Cheifet co-hosting most of the later seasons. Gary Kildall served as co-host from 1983 to 1990, providing insights and commentary on products, as well as discussions on the future of the ever-expanding personal computer sphere.
During the 1980s, the show had many supporting presenters, including:
The Computer Chronicles format remained relatively unchanged throughout its run, except perhaps with the noticeable difference in presenting style; originally formal it evolved into a more relaxed, casual style. From 1984 onward the last five minutes or so featured Random Access, a segment that gave the viewer the latest computer news from the home and business markets. Stewart Cheifet, Janelle Stelson, Maria Gabriel and various other individuals presented the segment. Random Access was discontinued in 1997. The Online Minute, introduced in 1995 and lasting until 1997, gave the viewers certain websites that dealt with the episode's topic. It featured Giles Bateman, who designed the show's "web page" opening sequence that was used from that period up until the show's end.
The graphics were changed in 1989, and the title "The Computer Chronicles" was renamed to omit the word "The". The graphics were redesigned again in 1995, with the "Web page" graphics designed by Giles Bateman, and redesigned again in 1998 to show clips from the show in a "multiple window" format.
Another feature on the show is Stewart's "Pick of the Week", in which he details a popular piece of software or gadget on the market that appeals to him and may appeal to the home audience.
From 1994 to 1997, the show was produced by PCTV, based in New Hampshire in cooperation with KCSM-TV. Starting in the Fall of 1997 and continuing to its end, the show was produced by KTEH San Jose and Stewart Cheifet Productions.
Despite receiving adequate ratings in the United States and being broadcast throughout the world, Computer Chronicles was cancelled in 2002. Almost all episodes of Computer Chronicles have been made available for free download at the Internet Archive. Many episodes of the show have been dubbed into other languages, including Arabic, French and Spanish.
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