‘Going 4 It’: Watch the trailer for our new documentary on history of WDIV

‘Going 4 It’ premieres on Nov. 4

The first look at WDIV's 75th anniversary documentary, premiering on Nov. 4, 2022.

Eli Zaret here.

Here’s the inside story on: “Going 4 It: The Inside Story of the Rise of WDIV,” which will air Friday, November 4th at 9 p.m.

The late 60s until the early 80s was a tough stretch for WWJ-TV, Detroit’s first station and just the 10th in the country. WWJ-TV was owned by the Detroit News parent company from 1947 until it yielded ownership to the Post-Newsweek corporation in 1978.

The new owners immediately changed the name to WDIV-TV and assumed the task of doing whatever was in their power to lift the station from an historic level of unpopularity back to its former status atop the Detroit TV world.

It’s true. From 1947 through the Detroit riots in 1967, WWJ-TV and the NBC network dominated the local TV market.

Our documentary explains the factors that led to the station’s sudden plunge in popularity, and how a series of astute decisions, along with a little luck, enabled WDIV to climb out of its hole in dramatic fashion.

As it turned out, uncovering the station’s history was a formidable challenge. Video tape didn’t come into use until about 1980, so the first 30-plus years of the station’s history existed solely in hundreds of film reels that had been stored at Wayne State’s Walter Reuther Library. Film deteriorates, breaks, loses color and clarity, and we spent months screening thousands of feet of footage and laboriously and frustratingly splicing it together when it would inevitably break.

It was like were on an archeological dig, pouring through piles of rubble hoping to run across a few gems.

It reminded me of how lucky I’d been to start at WDIV in 1980, when video tape and satellite technology was rapidly changing the business.

Eli Zaret at WDIV in 1984. (WDIV)

Others, like the eventual Detroit market’s news queen, Carmen Harlan, would tell you the same, and she will in this documentary. Carmen was elevated to becoming Mort Crim’s co-anchor before age 30 and became a critical catalyst to help our news team eventually dethrone the great Bill Bonds and Channel 7 in the mid-80s.

We uncovered rare footage of WWJ-TV icons like Milky the Clown, George Pierrot, Mort Neff and comical weatherman Sonny Eliot. From the video age, we compiled footage of latter-day station stars, like Count Scary and Sparky Anderson and explain why the “Go 4 it” campaign became so wildly successful.

I promise you that you’ll enjoy the ride as much as we did it in putting it together. I left the station in 1986, and it fills me with pride and gratitude to have been asked all these years later to help write, produce and even be a part of this great story.

See you on November 4th!


Eli Zaret

Get your 75th Anniversary T-Shirt!

Get your 75th Anniversary T-Shirt! (WDIV)

To celebrate, we’ve released some limited-edition WDIV T-Shirts! The shirts commemorate some WDIV classics -- like Go 4 It, Saturday Night Music Machine, Count Scary, Bless You Boys and Bowling for Dollars.

These high-quality shirts are $31.99 each, with $5 from each shirt sold in this collection going back to Sparky Anderson’s CATCH Charity.

Click here to buy your shirt now!