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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Variety show \Variety show\ A stage entertainment, live or televised, of successive separate performances, usually songs, dances, acrobatic feats, dramatic sketches, exhibitions of trained animals, or any specialties. When performed live in a theater, it was often called a vaudeville show, but when television became a dominant form of entertainment live vaudeville performances almost completely ceased. [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]