The Second City, the improvisational comedy troupe which has helped groom an impressive lot (to put it mildly) of comic actors and standups over the years (the list can begin with Anne Meara, Elaine May and Mike Nichols, Alan Arkin, Ed Asner, improv gurus Del Close and Severn Darden, Jane Alexander. Shelley Berman, Valerie Harper...and not too long after gathering the likes of Zohra Lampert, Fred Willard and Joan Rivers), began in Chicago (hence the name) and set up satellite workshops/theaters in Toronto and eventually Los Angeles. National Lampoon's Lemmings (a stage revue spun out of the The National Lampoon Radio Hour) and NBC's Saturday Night (as it was first known) were among the productions picking up on the early/mid-'70s talent in both Chicago and Toronto, and so it seemed like not the worst idea to create a Second City television series, beginning in 1976...which, in fact was the title of the first several seasons, Second City Television, produced in Canada for the then very small Global network and syndicated to commercial stations in the U.S. (at the same time, the second series known as The David Steinberg Show was being shot for a single season for CTV in Canada and syndicated in the U.S. as well, featuring most of the SCTV cast in supporting or guest roles).
Second City Television, SCTV (on CBC and syndicated in the US), SCTV Network 90/SCTV Network (CBC and NBC) and SCTV Channel (cable channels Superchannel [Canada] and Cinemax [US]) all had a relatively similar format: a parody of the programming on a poorly-funded, small-time station (or. later, network) based in the possibly U.S., possibly Canadian town of Melonville.
First-season episodes slightly repackaged to go with with chopped-up longer later episodes for latter 1980s syndication in the U.S., and rerun on Canada's Comedy Channel and US's cable station Ha!/Comedy Central:
3rd Season CBC/US syndication episodes:
SCTV Channel nearly complete excerpts:
SCTV Remembers: Part 1
A sort of grandchild of SCTV: latter-day Second City video: