A History of Radio Programs That Became Successful TV Shows

Comedy Bang Bang (formerly Comedy Death-Ray) was once a hit radio show broadcast on an indie station in Southern California, and then a podcast produced by Earwolf Studios. Now it’s set to become a television show on IFC, which will feature the likes of Reggie Watts, Paul F. Tompkins, and many more awesome comedy celebrities. IFC has also announced that it will turn comedian Marc Maron’s “WTF Podcast,” one of the most popular comedy shows on the Internet into a one-camera sitcom.

Back when radio was king, this sort of jump from sound to sight was pretty common both in America and the UK, and we bet you’d be surprised to know which of the most celebrated sitcoms and dramas made the transition. We’ll show you some of the most notable examples after the jump, and let you know about some of the more recent television shows that, like Comedy Bang Bang, were once only for your ears.

Amos ‘n’ Andy

In 1928, when the radio program of Amos ‘n’ Andy was first produced, nobody really minded that the two lead actors were white guys playing harshly stereotypical black guys (who also wore blackface for public appearances — yikes). When CBS tried to make a show in 1946 they used these white actors, but it didn’t catch on, so in 1951, African American actors were cast to replace them. Pressure from the NAACP ended the popular television series a few years later, but the radio version kept on plugging until 1960, and the show continued to air in syndication until 1966. Still, it was the first show with an all-black cast, so that’s something… right?