Moon landing, Beatles, MLK speech are among TV's 75 biggest moments, released before 75th Emmys

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FILE - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses marchers during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, in Washington. The Television Academy, which presents the Emmy Awards, announced on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, what it calls the top 75 moments in television history ahead of the ceremony's 75th edition, being held on Monday, Jan. 15. (AP Photo, File)

LOS ANGELES – The moon landing, the Beatles' first appearance on American TV and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s “I Have a Dream” speech are among the 75 Most Impactful Television Moments as ranked by the Television Academy before Monday's 75th edition of the Emmy Awards.

Academy members from the television industry collaborated with academics to cull eight decades of TV history and vote on the list that was revealed Friday. Atop it they put Apollo 11's 1969 first landing on the moon, and Neil Armstrong's declaration of a "giant leap for mankind.” In second they put coverage of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and in third the Beatles' 1964 appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

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King's “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered at the March on Washington in 1963, is ranked No. 6. This year's Emmy Awards, delayed four months because of Hollywood's actors and writers strikes, comes on the MLK holiday.

While the top of the list is dominated by news events, plenty of fictional moments from classic TV dramas, comedies and specials appear too, including Hawkeye bidding farewell to best buddy B.J., and Korea, in the 1983 final episode of “M.A.S.H.” (No. 8), Linus reciting the nativity story in 1965's “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (No. 14), and, from 2007, the much-debated, cut-to-black final moment of “ The Sopranos ” (No. 36).

The rankings include one scene from a show nominated this year — the last moments of Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett on HBO's “ The Last of Us ” (No. 56). Offerman already won an Emmy for the special episode last week and “The Last of Us” is among the top nominees, along with “Succession,” “The White Lotus” and “Ted Lasso,” at Monday's Emmys.

Also making the list are the episode of “Ellen” where Ellen DeGeneres reveals she's gay (No. 13), the infamous “Soup Nazi” episode of “Seinfeld” (No. 27), the debut of Michael Jackson's “Thriller” video (No. 48), Whitney Houston's Super Bowl “Star Spangled Banner” performance (No. 65) and several moments from “Sesame Street” and “Mister Roger's Neighborhood.”

The Emmys are being broadcast live from Los Angeles on Monday beginning at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.



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