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1985–86 United States network television schedule

This was the United States television schedule on all three commercial television networks for the fall season beginning in September 1985. All times are Eastern and Pacific, with certain exceptions, such as Monday Night Football.

New series are highlighted in bold.

Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its rank and rating as determined by Nielsen Media Research.[1]

This was also the first television season wherein the Nielsen people meter technology was used for the nationwide audience measurement system, largely replacing the diaries system in place from the 1950-1951 television season.[2]

     Yellow indicates the programs in the top 10 for the season.
     Cyan indicates the programs in the top 20 for the season.
     Magenta indicates the programs in the top 30 for the season.

PBS is not included; member stations have local flexibility over most of their schedules and broadcast times for network shows may vary.

Much of the ratings come from's PDF archive[3]



Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Hardcastle and McCormick Monday Night Football (#15/19.8)
Mid-season ABC Monday Night Movie
Summer Monday Night Baseball
CBS Scarecrow and Mrs. King (#28/17.4) Kate & Allie (#14/20.0) Newhart (#16/19.6) Cagney & Lacey
NBC Fall TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes NBC Monday Night at the Movies (#22/18.3)
(Tied with Hotel)
Spring You Again? (#19/19.2) Valerie (#24/18.1)
(Tied with Moonlighting and Falcon Crest)


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Who's the Boss? (#10/21.1) Growing Pains (#17/19.5)
(Tied with Knots Landing)
Moonlighting (#24/18.1)
(Tied with Falcon Crest and Valerie)
Our Family Honor
Follow-up Spenser: For Hire
Spring Perfect Strangers
(May 6 - Sep 9)
Growing Pains (#17/19.5)
(Tied with Knots Landing)
CBS Fall Hometown CBS Tuesday Night Movie
Follow-up Specials
Follow-up Stir Crazy
Mid-season Melba Charlie & Co.
Follow-up Trapper John, M.D.
Spring Morningstar/Eveningstar Mary Foley Square The Equalizer
Follow-up The New Mike Hammer repeats
NBC Fall The A-Team (#30/16.9) Riptide Remington Steele
Mid-season Hunter Stingray


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall The Insiders Dynasty (#7/21.8)
(Tied with The Golden Girls)
Hotel (#22/18.3)
(Tied with The NBC Monday Movie)
Mid-season MacGyver
Summer Hardcastle and McCormick
Follow-up Perfect Strangers Mr. Sunshine MacGyver
CBS Fall Stir Crazy Charlie & Co. George Burns Comedy Week The Equalizer
Follow-up Specials
Follow-up Mary Foley Square
Mid-season Crazy Like a Fox
Follow-up Fast Times Tough Cookies
Spring West 57th CBS Wednesday Night Movie
Summer Foley Square Match Game PM Airwolf West 57th
NBC Fall Highway to Heaven (#13/20.1) Hell Town St. Elsewhere
Mid-season Blacke's Magic
Summer Gimme a Break! You Again? (#19/19.2)


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall The Fall Guy Lady Blue 20/20
Follow-up ABC Thursday Night Movie
Follow-up Shadow Chasers Dynasty II: The Colbys
Mid-season Ripley's Believe It or Not! The Colbys
CBS Fall Magnum, P.I. Simon & Simon (#29/17.2) Knots Landing (#17/19.5)
(Tied with Growing Pains)
Spring Simon & Simon (#29/17.2) Bridges to Cross
Summer Price is Right Special Crazy Like a Fox Trapper John, M.D.
NBC The Cosby Show (#1/33.7) Family Ties (#2/30.0) Cheers (#5/23.7) Night Court (#11/20.9) Hill Street Blues


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Webster Mr. Belvedere Diff'rent Strokes Benson Spenser: For Hire
Follow-up Our Family Honor
Mid-season He's the Mayor The Fall Guy
Spring Mr. Sunshine Joe Bash
Follow-up The ABC Friday Night Movie
Summer ABC Comedy Special Mr. Sunshine The Love Boat
Follow-up ABC Comedy Special
CBS Fall The Twilight Zone Dallas (#6/21.9) Falcon Crest (#24/18.1)
(Tied with Moonlighting and Valerie)
Spring Charlie & Co. Leo & Liz in Beverly Hills
Summer The Twilight Zone
NBC Fall Knight Rider Misfits of Science Miami Vice (#9/21.3)
Mid-season Misfits of Science Knight Rider
Follow-up Riptide
Follow-up The Last Precinct


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Hollywood Beat Lime Street The Love Boat
Follow-up The Fall Guy Lady Blue
Mid-season The Redd Foxx Show Benson Fortune Dane
Spring The Love Boat
Follow-up Mr. Sunshine
CBS Fall Airwolf CBS Saturday Night Movie
Spring Crazy Like a Fox
Follow-up Airwolf Magnum, P.I.
NBC Fall Gimme a Break! The Facts of Life (#27/17.7) The Golden Girls (#7/21.8)
(Tied with Dynasty)
227 (#20/18.8) Hunter
Mid-season You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (repeat 11/6/85 on CBS)

Note: Due to the death of Samantha Smith and her father in a plane crash, ABC ceased production on Lime Street and was forced to move Lady Blue into its slot.

By networkEdit




Note: The * indicates that the program was introduced in midseason.

^ Diff'rent Strokes switched networks for the 1985-1986 season.

+ Mike Hammer abruptly ended production after series star Stacy Keach was sentenced to six months in prison for cocaine possession. Production resumed during the 1986-1987 season.

@ T.J. Hooker continued production for CBS' late night schedule for the 1985-1986 season.


  1. ^ Highest-rated series is based on the annual top-rated programs list compiled by Nielsen Media Research and reported in: Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  2. ^ de Moraes, Lisa. "David Cook Wasn't the Only Winner on Wednesday, as 'Idol' Ratings Spike". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  3. ^