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1983 in American television

EventsEdit

Date Event
January 1 After episode 410 of Soul Train was broadcast this day, the series goes on hiatus for Don Cornelius's brain surgery. Original episodes return on April 30 after Cornelius returns from his convalescence.
January 3 Plinko is added as a pricing game on the CBS game show The Price Is Right; it will go on to become one of the most popular of the show's games. Also on this date, three new game shows debut on rival NBC: $ale of the Century, Just Men! and Hit Man. The two latter shows will leave the air after 13 weeks, whereas $ale (a revival of the hit NBC game show of the late 1960s-early 1970's) will go on to have a six-year run.
January 8 The NFL playoffs begin on CBS and NBC, who televised the NFC and AFC playoff games respectively. Because a players' strike reduced the regular season from 16 to only 9 games, the National Football League created a special 16-team playoff format (dubbed the "Super Bowl Tournament", where division standings were ignored and eight teams from each conference were seeded 1–8 based on their regular season records), just for this year. As a further consequence of the strike, this marked the first (and currently only) time that NFL playoff games were regionally televised across the United States instead of nationwide.
February 13 Marvin Gaye performs a soulful rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the NBA All-Star Game at The Forum in Los Angeles. VH1 would later use it as the first very first video when they premiered on January 1, 1985. And when CBS broadcast their final NBA telecast at the end of the 1990 NBA Finals, they played Gaye's 1983 rendition of the anthem during the closing credits.
February 23 PBS broadcasts The Operation, a live telecast of an actual open-heart surgery.
February 28 More than 125 million Americans watch the 251st and final episode of M*A*S*H on CBS, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen".
March 6 Country Music Television (CMT) begins in the United States.
March 7 The Nashville Network (TNN) (known later as The National Network and Spike TV; now known as Paramount Network) begins broadcasting.
March 10 MTV broadcasts the video of Michael Jackson's song "Billie Jean" for the first time. The video is the first by a black artist to gain great airplay on MTV, and is credited with helping the album Thriller, in which the song is included, become the best-selling album of all time.
March 19 US First Lady Nancy Reagan makes a special appearance on an episode of the NBC comedy Diff'rent Strokes, beginning her Just Say No anti-drug campaign.
March 20 NBC broadcasts the TV movie Special Bulletin, a fictional—yet realistic—depiction of a TV network's coverage of a nuclear terrorism threat in Charleston, South Carolina. The movie is an early collaboration between Edward Zwick (who directed) and Marshall Herskovitz (who wrote the teleplay); both men would create and produce thirtysomething later in the 1980s.
April 4 Archie Bunker's Place broadcasts its last original episode as CBS cancels the series after four seasons (and without a proper series finale), ending Carroll O'Connor's run as Archie Bunker, which began during 1971 with All in the Family.
April 9 Vin Scully makes his debut as NBC's new lead play-by-play announcer for their Major League Baseball telecasts (a role that he would maintain through the 1989 season). Scully's first broadcast for NBC is a game between Montreal and Los Angeles.
April 12 David Canary makes his first appearance on the ABC soap opera All My Children.
April 18 The Disney Channel is initiated on American cable TV.
April 21 WTWC-TV in Tallahassee, Florida signs on, giving the Tallahassee market its first full-time NBC affiliate.
May 6 A fire at Southfork threatens the lives of the Ewings on the season finale of the CBS drama series Dallas.
May 16 The concert special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever is broadcast by NBC; Michael Jackson, after a performance with The Jackson Five, provides the centerpiece highlight by performing, to "Billie Jean", his "moonwalk" dance for the first time on television.
May 22 CBS introduces a new theme music (composed by Allyson Bellink and mostly consisting of an uptempo series of four notes and three bars each) for their coverage of the NBA. It uses a primitive-computer generated introduction (created by Bill Feigenbaum) of the NBA arenas (similar to the Boston Garden) until the 1989 Playoffs and later revived the second theme beginning in the 1989 Finals.[1]
May 29 WVSB-TV in West Point, Mississippi signs on, giving the Tupelo market its first full-time ABC affiliate.
June 16 Pope John Paul II arrives in his native Poland, with ABC and NBC broadcasting his arrival live (CBS, hampered by budget reductions of its news division, broadcasts The Price is Right instead).
June 20 KLDH (now KTKA-TV) in Topeka, Kansas signs on, giving the Topeka market its first full-time ABC affiliate.
August 4 The cast of NBC's series Search for Tomorrow is forced to do a live show for the first time since the program began using videotape format during 1967 due to the loss of both the regular transmission tape and a backup.[citation needed]
August 22 In Fargo, North Dakota, ABC affiliate KTHI-TV (now KVLY-TV) swaps affiliations with long-time NBC affiliate WDAY-TV and its semi-satellite in Grand Forks, WDAZ-TV.
August 30 Though the station is still regarded as profitable, Field Enterprises closes down WKBS-TV/Burlington, New Jersey-Philadelphia after failing to find a buyer.
September 5 PBS's series The MacNeil/Lehrer Report becomes The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, the first American network news program to expand from a half-hour to one hour in length.
Tom Brokaw becomes the sole main anchor of the NBC Nightly News, ending a 17-month stint co-anchoring the broadcast with Roger Mudd.
Peter Jennings becomes sole anchorman of ABC's newscast World News Tonight, after the death of Frank Reynolds two months earlier.
Pam Long becomes co-main writer of the CBS soap opera Guiding Light.
September 5 During the first half of a broadcast of Monday Night Football between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, Howard Cosell refers to Washington wide-receiver Alvin Garrett as a "little monkey". Cosell's remarks immediately ignites a racial controversy and plays a key factor in his departure from the Monday Night Football booth following the 1983 NFL season.
September 8 The comedy series We Got it Made debuts, the first new series on NBC's autumn list to premiere—and the start of one of the least successful new autumn show rosters for a network in history, as none of the series would survive a 2nd season (the other series being Manimal, Jennifer Slept Here, Mr. Smith, Bay City Blues, The Yellow Rose, Boone, For Love and Honor and The Rousters).
September 12 The animated G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero mini-series based on the toys of the same name debuts in syndication. Another miniseries airs the following year, with an ongoing show premiering in 1985.
September 17 The Peanuts gang get their very own Saturday morning cartoon series with The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show on CBS.
September 19 The nighttime syndicated edition of the NBC daytime game show Wheel of Fortune premieres. The show is only picked up by 59 markets and is shut out of the top 3 markets. However, by late 1984, the show will overtake Family Feud as the number one show in syndication. As of today, it continues to be the number one show in syndication.
Press Your Luck premieres on CBS; the game show would end its run on September 26, 1986.
September 27–29 NBC broadcasts Live... and in Person, a live variety special program broadcast during 3 nights. Sandy Gallin is host, and performers include Neil Diamond, Liberace, Linda Ronstadt, and the cast of A Chorus Line.
October 3 During a live NBC news update, anchor Jessica Savitch appears incoherent, slurring her speech, deviating from her copy and ad-libbing her report. Savitch, dogged by rumors of drug abuse and instability, still has her contract renewed, but drowns in a car accident three weeks later.[citation needed]
October 6 The rock band R.E.M. made its television debut on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman.
October 10 Adam, a TV-movie about the mysterious disappearance of Adam Walsh, makes its world premiere on NBC. The broadcast ends with a series of missing children's photographs and descriptions, along with a telephone number viewers could call to provide information on their disappearances.
October 30 Mackenzie Phillips makes her final appearance as Julie Cooper Horvath on One Day at a Time.
November 20 An estimated 100 million people watched the controversial made-for-TV movie The Day After on ABC, depicting the start of a nuclear war.
November 24 Sesame Street on PBS dealt with the sensitive issue of death when Big Bird learns the concept as it relates to his late friend, Mr. Hooper (Will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper, died of a heart attack in November 1982).
Jim Crockett Promotions produces the inaugural Starrcade event on closed-circuit television around the Southern United States. Predating the World Wrestling Federation's (later WWE) first WrestleMania event by two years, Starrcade would soon become Jim Crockett Promotions and later World Championship Wrestling's premiere, flagship event.
December 2 The epic (nearly 14 minutes) music video for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is broadcast for the first time. It will become the most often repeated and famous music video of all time and increase Jackson's own popularity and the sales of the record album Thriller.
December 21 Gerald Ford, Betty Ford and Henry Kissinger make cameo appearances on ABC's Dynasty.[2]

ProgramsEdit

Debuting this yearEdit

Date Show Network
January 3 Hit Man NBC
Just Men!
January 10 Fraggle Rock HBO
January 22 Mama's Family NBC
January 23 The A-Team
February 5 The Dukes CBS
February 10 Amanda's ABC
February 26 Wizards and Warriors CBS
March 2 High Performance ABC
March 4 At Ease
March 7 Small & Frye CBS
March 8 Fandango TNN
I 40 Paradise
Nashville Now
March 15 Ace Crawford, Private Eye CBS
April 1 Baby Makes Five ABC
April 2 Goodnight, Beantown CBS
April 6 Zorro and Son ABC
April 10 Casablanca NBC
April 15 Bare Essence ABC
April 18 Good Morning, Mickey! The Disney Channel
Welcome to Pooh Corner
May 31 Star Search Syndication
Buffalo Bill NBC
June 6 Reading Rainbow PBS
June 27 Loving ABC
July 29 Friday Night Videos NBC
August 8 NBC News at Sunrise
September 1 Donald Duck Presents The Disney Channel
September 5 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Syndication
September 8 We Got It Made NBC
September 9 Lottery! ABC
September 10 The Littles
Rubik, the Amazing Cube
The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show
September 12 Inspector Gadget Syndication
September 16 Webster ABC
September 17 Alvin and the Chipmunks NBC
Mister T
Benji, Zax & the Alien Prince CBS
The Biskitts
The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show
Dungeons & Dragons
Saturday Supercade
September 18 Hardcastle and McCormick ABC
September 19 Love Connection Syndication
Wheel of Fortune
September 20 Just Our Luck ABC
September 21 Hotel
September 23 Mr. Smith NBC
September 26 Boone
AfterMASH CBS
September 27 Oh Madeline ABC
September 30 Manimal NBC
October 1 The Rousters
Cutter to Houston CBS
October 2 The Yellow Rose NBC
October 3 Scarecrow and Mrs. King CBS
October 5 Whiz Kids
October 17 Sally Syndication
October 21 Jennifer Slept Here NBC
October 25 Bay City Blues
October 31 Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour
December 15 Automan ABC
Masquerade

Resuming this yearEdit

Show Last aired Network Retitled as/Same New network/Same Return date
Sale of the Century 1973 NBC Same Same January 3
Dream House 1970 April 4
Battlestars 1981 The New Battlestars
The Paper Chase 1979 CBS Same Showtime April 15
Second Chance 1977 ABC Press Your Luck CBS September 19

Ending this yearEdit

Date Show Debut
February 3 The Greatest American Hero 1981
February 28 M*A*S*H 1972
March 21 Little House on the Prairie 1974
April 1 Hit Man 1983
Just Men!
April 10 Gloria 1982
April 12 Ace Crawford, Private Eye 1983
April 29 Baby Makes Five
May 10 Laverne & Shirley 1976
May 14 Wizards and Warriors 1983
May 24 Joanie Loves Chachi 1982
May 31 Bring 'Em Back Alive
June 1 Tales of the Gold Monkey
June 15 Small & Frye 1983
June 24 Second City Television/SCTV Network 90 1981
July 7 The Crystal Cube 1983
July 17 CHiPs 1977
July 20 Taxi 1978
September 5 The All New Popeye Hour
Quincy, M.E. 1976
September 10 Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends 1981
September 12 Square Pegs 1982
September 21 Archie Bunker's Place 1979
September 24 Walt Disney anthology series (returned in 1986) 1954
October 8 The Incredible Hulk 1982
October 29 The Dukes 1983
November 5 Pac-Man 1982
November 15 Bay City Blues 1983
December 16 Mr. Smith
December 27 Just Our Luck

Changing networksEdit

Show Moved from Moved to
SCTV NBC Cinemax
Fame Syndication
Too Close for Comfort ABC
Second Chance CBS
Candid Camera Syndication NBC
The Paper Chase CBS Showtime

Made-for-TV movies and miniseriesEdit

Title Network Premiere date
Kennedy NBC November 20 (5 episodes)
Malibu ABC January 23
The Thorn Birds ABC March 27 (4 episodes)
The Winds of War ABC February 6 (7 episodes)
V NBC May 1 (2 episodes)

Television stationsEdit

Station launchesEdit

Date Market Station Channel Affiliation
February 14 Fargo, North Dakota KVNJ-TV 15 Independent
March 3 Alexandria, Louisiana KLAX-TV 31 ABC
March 7 Des Moines, Iowa KCBR 17 Independent
March 9 Springfield, Missouri KSPR 33
March 13 Mount Vernon, Illinois/St. Louis, Missouri WCEE 13
April 18 Memphis, Tennessee WMKW-TV 30
April 21 Tallahassee, Florida WTWC-TV 40 NBC
May 29 West Point, Mississippi WVSB-TV 27 ABC
June 10 Topeka, Kansas KLDH 49
June 26 Little Rock, Arkansas KLRT-TV 16 Independent
July 27 Campbellsville/Louisville, Kentucky WGRB 34
August 10 Denver, Colorado KDVR 31
September 5 Boston, Massachusetts WNDS 50
September 12 Kansas City, Missouri KEKR-TV 62
October 1 Spokane, Washington KSKN 22
October 9 Portland/Salem, Oregon KPDX 49
October 15 Evansville, Indiana/Madisonville, Kentucky WLCN 19 Religious Ind.
October 31 Albuquerque/Santa Fe, New Mexico KSAF-TV 2 Independent
November 1 Ocala/Gainesville, Florida WBSP-TV 51
November 17 Evansville, Indiana WEVV-TV 44
December 2 Anchorage, Alaska KTBY 4
December 30 Honolulu, Hawaii KHAI-TV 20
December 31 Knoxville, Tennessee WKCH-TV 43

Stations changing network affiliationEdit

Market Date Station Channel Prior affiliation New affiliation
Fargo/Grand Forks, North Dakota August 7 WDAY-TV
WDAZ-TV
6
8
NBC ABC
KTHI-TV 11 ABC NBC
Green Bay, Wisconsin April 3 WFRV-TV 5 NBC ABC
WLUK-TV 11 ABC NBC
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania August 31 WSBA-TV 43 CBS Independent
Marquette, Michigan April 3 WJMN-TV 3 NBC ABC

Station closuresEdit

Date Market Station Channel Affiliation
August 30 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania WKBS-TV 48 Independent

BirthsEdit

Date Name Notability
January 1 Dana DeLorenzo Actress (The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Ash vs Evil Dead)
January 2 Kate Bosworth Actress (Young Americans)
January 7 Brett Dalton Actor (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Robert Ri'chard Actor (Cousin Skeeter, One on One)
January 17 Rickey D'Shon Collins Voice actor (Recess, Danny Phantom)
January 24 Frankie Grande Actor and singer
February 1 Jillian Bynes Actress
February 4 Lauren Ash Canadian actress (Superstore)
February 14 Julia Ling Actress (Chuck)
February 21 Eoin Macken Irish actor (The Night Shift)
February 23 Aziz Ansari Actor (Parks and Recreation, Master of None)
Emily Blunt British-American actress
February 27 Kate Mara Actress (24, American Horror Story, House of Cards)
March 1 Shawn Toovey Actor (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman)
March 8 Jessie Collins Actress (The Nine)
March 10 Carrie Underwood Singer (American Idol)
March 14 Taylor Hanson Singer (Hanson)
March 15 Sean Biggerstaff Scottish actor (Harry Potter)
March 18 Kyle Downes Actor (Lizzie McGuire)
March 20 Michael Cassidy Actor (The O.C., Privileged, Men at Work)
March 29 Ed Skrein English actor
March 31 Ashleigh Ball Canadian voice actress (Johnny Test, Edgar & Ellen, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Littlest Pet Shop, Ready Jet Go!)
Melissa Ordway Actress (Hollywood Heights, The Young and the Restless)
April 1 Ellen Hollman Actress (Spartacus: War of the Damned)
Matt Lanter Actor (Commander in Chief, 90210, Star-Crossed, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ultimate Spider-Man, Timeless)
April 4 Amanda Righetti Actress (The O.C., North Shore, The Mentalist, Colony)
April 6 Rick Cosnett Zimbabwean-Australian actor (The Vampire Diaries, The Flash)
Diora Baird Actress
April 10 Jamie Chung Actress (Once Upon a Time, Gotham, Big Hero 6: The Series, The Gifted)
April 26 Ryan Dowell Baum Actor (The Famous Jett Jackson)
April 27 Francis Capra Actor (Veronica Mars)
Ari Graynor Actress (Fringe)
April 29 Megan Boone Actress (The Blacklist)
Sam Jones III Actor (Smallville, Blue Mountain State)
May 2 Gaius Charles Actor (Friday Night Lights, Grey's Anatomy)
May 6 Adrianne Palicki Actress (Friday Night Lights, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Gabourey Sidibe Actress (The Big C, Empire)
May 8 Elyes Gabel English actor (Scorpion)
May 8 Julia Chan British actress (Saving Hope)
May 11 Holly Valance New Zealand-born actress (Prison Break)
May 14 Amber Tamblyn Actress (General Hospital, Joan of Arcadia, Two and a Half Men, House)
May 19 Michael Che Comedian (The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live)
May 20 Michaela McManus Actress (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, One Tree Hill, Awake, Aquarius)
May 28 Megalyn Echikunwoke Actress (Like Family, The 4400, CSI: Miami)
June 6 Lyndie Greenwood Canadian actress (Sleepy Hollow)
June 10 Leelee Sobieski Actress (Charlie Grace, NYC 22)
June 16 Olivia Hack Voice actress (Hey Arnold!, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Bratz)
June 19 Aidan Turner Irish actor (Being Human, Poldark) and singer
June 21 Michael Malarkey Actor (The Vampire Diaries)
July 1 Lynsey Bartilson Actress (Grounded for Life, The X's)
Tanya Chisholm Actress (Big Time Rush)
July 6 Gregory Smith Canadian-American actor (Everwood, Rookie Blue)
July 19 Trai Byers Actor (Empire)
July 23 Andrew Eiden Actor (Complete Savages)
July 27 Blair Redford Actor (The Lying Game, Satisfaction)
Heidi Gardner Actress (Saturday Night Live)
July 29 Kaitlyn Black Actress (Hart of Dixie)
Tania Gunadi Actress (Aaron Stone, Transformers: Prime, Sanjay and Craig, Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero)
July 30 Nathan Carter Canadian actor
August 3 Mamie Gummer Actress (Emily Owens, M.D.) and daughter of Meryl Streep and Don Gummer
August 4 Adhir Kalyan South African actor (Aliens in America, Rules of Engagement, Second Chance)
Greta Gerwig Actress (China, IL)
August 5 Kara Tointon English actress (EastEnders)
August 8 Fred Meyers Actor (Even Stevens)
August 9 Ashley Johnson Actress (Growing Pains, Jumanji, Recess, Teen Titans, Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!, Ben 10, Teen Titans Go!, Blindspot, Infinity Train)
August 11 Chris Hemsworth Australian actor (Home and Away)
August 14 Mila Kunis Actress (That '70s Show, Family Guy)
Lamorne Morris Actor (New Girl)
August 19 Peter Mooney Canadian actor (Rookie Blue)
August 20 Andrew Garfield British-American actor
August 21 Brody Jenner Actor (The Hills, Keeping Up with the Kardashians)
August 22 Laura Breckenridge Actress (Related)
August 29 Jennifer Landon Actress (As the World Turns)
September 2 Tiffany Hines Actress (Beyond the Break, Nikita)
September 14 Amy Winehouse English singer (d. 2011)
September 21 Maggie Grace Actress (Lost)
Joseph Mazzello Actor
September 25 Donald Glover Actor (Community, Atlanta) and rapper
October 5 Noah Segan Voice actor (Henry on KaBlam!)
Jesse Eisenberg Actor (Get Real)
Shelby Rabara Voice actress (Peridot on Steven Universe)
October 9 Spencer Grammer Actress (As the World Turns, Greek, Rick and Morty)
October 12 Tony Cavalero Actor (School of Rock)
October 20 Alona Tal Israeli singer and actress (The Pyjamas, Veronica Mars, Supernatural, Cane, Cult, Hand of God)
October 21 Charlotte Sullivan Canadian actress (Rookie Blue)
October 24 Katie McGrath Irish actor (Merlin, Dracula, Supergirl)
Adrienne Bailon Actress (That's So Raven, The Cheetah Girls, The Real)
October 29 Dillon Casey Actor (Nikita)
Johnny Lewis Actor (Quintuplets, Sons of Anarchy) (d. 2012)
Richard Brancatisano Australian actor (Power Rangers Mystic Force, Chasing Life)
November 7 Adam DeVine Actor (Workaholics, Uncle Grandpa, Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero)
November 19 Adam Driver Actor (Girls)
November 22 Andrew J. West Actor (The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time)
November 27 Arjay Smith Actor (The Journey of Allen Strange)
December 2 Jana Kramer Actress (One Tree Hill) and country music singer
Daniela Ruah Portuguese-American actress (NCIS: Los Angeles)
December 10 Patrick Flueger Actor (The 4400, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D.)
December 12 Mathew Valencia Actor (voice of Robin on The New Batman Adventures)
December 15 Camilla Luddington English actress (Grey's Anatomy)
December 20 Jonah Hill Actor (Allen Gregory)

DeathsEdit

Date Name Age Notability
February 4 Karen Carpenter 32 Singer and drummer (The Carpenters)
March 9 Faye Emerson 65 Actress (Faye Emerson's Wonderful Town)
March 16 Arthur Godfrey 79 Host (Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts)
July 20 Frank Reynolds 53 ABC news journalist
July 29 Raymond Massey 86 Actor (Dr. Gillespie on Dr. Kildare)
August 3 Carolyn Jones 53 Actress (Morticia on The Addams Family)
August 28 Jan Clayton 66 Actress (Ellen Miller on Lassie)
August 29 Simon Oakland 68 Actor (Baa Baa Black Sheep)
October 23 Jessica Savitch 36 NBC news anchor
November 14 Junior Samples 57 Comedian (Hee Haw)
November 22 Michael Conrad 58 Actor (Sgt. Phil Esterhasz on Hill Street Blues)
November 28 Christopher George 52 Actor (Sgt. Sam Troy on The Rat Patrol)
December 28 Dennis Wilson 39 Singer-songwriter (The Beach Boys) and brother of Brian Wilson
William Demarest 91 Actor (Uncle Charley on My Three Sons)


See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ NBA on CBS
  2. ^ Also Starring Gerald Ford – Entertainment Weekly. Accessed 2009-07-27. Archived 2009-07-29.