Here's What Social TV Looked Like in 1982

Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel Kind of Invented It

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Since movie critic Roger Ebert died last Thursday, tributes and remembrances have been flooding the internet. (See, for instance, my colleague Nat Ives' video round-up of some classic Ebert outtakes, review and slams.)

Here's one you may have missed: a clip of Ebert and his old "At the Movies" co-host Gene Siskel on the Sept. 5, 1982 episode of "Saturday Night Live," doing, as Siskel put it, "history's first live review of a television show still in progress." (I first spotted this clip on the offical "SNL" Tumblr.) Yep, nearly a quarter century before Twitter launched (in 2006), Siskel & Ebert were doing what millions of people would ultimately become obsessed with doing: commenting about TV in (near) real-time.

In this brief clip, you can see the hallmarks of modern-day Social TV: snark, drive-by opinions, a certain meta sensibility...

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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