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Dragnet was a long running syndicated radio and television show about the cases of a Los Angeles, California police detective, Joe Friday, and his partner. It first aired on January 3, 1951 and on December 24, 1953 it became the first network-sponsored television program. The sponsor was NBC.

The show was written, produced, directed by and sometimes starring Jack Webb. This was one of the earliest "reality" shows. It was advertised as a true-crime police show, told from the point of view of a hard-bitten detective on the Los Angeles police force. It was rumoured that Mr. Webb had close ties to some policemen, although it is hard to say how true the stories were.

On every broadcast, Mr. Webb announced that "All events in this broadcast are true. Only the names are changed, to protect the innocent." For television, the catch-phrase was changed to say "show" rather than "broadcast."

Dragnet first appeared on television in January of 1952. Friday's partner was Frank Smith, played in the first few episodes by actor Herbert Ellis[?], who was soon replaced by Ben Alexander[?], who continued in the role through the show's run, which ended in 1959. While Dragnet was still on the air, it began to air in syndication as Badge 714. In 1954, a theatrical movie, Dragnet, aired, with Webb, Alexander, and Richard Boone[?].

In 1966, a television movie, also called Dragnet, aired. Starring Jack Webb and Harry Morgan[?] as his partner Bill Gannon, it spawned a new series, Dragnet 1967, which aired until 1970, the "1967" dropping after the first season.

In 1987, a comedy spoof movie, Dragnet, appeared, starring Dan Aykroyd as the stiff Joe Friday (the original Detective Friday's nephew), and his partner Pep Streebeck, played by Tom Hanks.

In 2003 a new series, Dragnet, was produced by Dick Wolf, the producer of Law & Order. The new series was serious drama and starred Ed O'Neill[?] as Joe Friday.

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