Open main menu

The year 1988 in television involved some significant events. This is a list of notable events in the United States.



Date Event
January 1 The season finale of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series airs in syndication with "Shredder & Splintered". The series will return for a second season in fall.
January 4 Nick Jr. begins as a block of Nickelodeon programming for younger children.
Blackout, hosted by Bob Goen, premieres on CBS. The game show runs for only thirteen weeks, after which The $25,000 Pyramid, the show it replaced, returns to the air on April 4 while CBS develops a revival of Family Feud.
January 22 KYMA in Yuma, Arizona signs-on the air, returning ABC programming to the Yuma market for the first time since KECY-TV dropped its affiliation to rejoin CBS in 1985.
January 24 The inaugural Royal Rumble event airs live on the USA Network.
January 31 The pilot for The Wonder Years airs following ABC's coverage of Super Bowl XXII.
February 2 Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, involved with a sex scandal, admits to being with prostitutes and temporarily ends his television ministry.
February 5 Wrestlers Hulk Hogan and André the Giant compete on The Main Event on NBC, marking the return of professional wrestling to network prime-time for the first time since 1955.
February 6 UK animated television series for children Count Duckula (a spinoff of Danger Mouse) begins on Nickelodeon prior to airing in its homeland which will start on September 6 of the same year.
February 23 Future Grammy Award-winning recording artist Lauryn Hill (The Fugees frontwoman) makes her television debut on Showtime at the Apollo as a contestant of Amateur Night, where the 13-year-old Hill performed "Who's Lovin' You" by Motown Records singer Smokey Robinson, and gets booed by the audience.
February 26 Tom Hardy marries Simone Ravelle on the ABC soap opera General Hospital, the first interracial wedding on American daytime television.
March 18 In what would turn out to be her final television appearance, Gilda Radner guest stars on It's Garry Shandling's Show.
March 19 "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" experiences a surge of popularity caused by television commercials featuring claymation raisin figures. The California Raisins' version of the song peaks at #84 on the Billboard Hot 100.
March 27 The first edition of Clash of the Champions airs on TBS opposite WrestleMania IV on pay-per-view.
April 3 In Jacksonville, Florida, NBC affiliate WJKS (now CW affiliate WCWJ) and ABC affiliate WTLV swap affiliations, reversing a swap that took place in 1980. NBC will later dub this swap one of its most successful affiliation switches ever.
April 8 Ana Alicia's character, Melissa Agretti, dies in a house fire on the CBS drama Falcon Crest.
April 13 Geraldo Rivera's live special Murder: Live from Death Row is broadcast in syndication; a highlight is Rivera's pre-taped interview with Charles Manson.
April 25 Nickelodeon debuts the first Kids Choice Awards ceremony.
May 1 Magnum, P.I. broadcasts its 2-hour series finale on CBS.
May 13 In the season finale of the CBS drama Dallas, character J.R. Ewing pushes over the railing of his high-rise office building the character Nicholas Pierce, and Sue Ellen is so enraged that she fires three shots at Ewing.
May 18 The Late Show on Fox hosts a reunion of the entire cast of Gilligan's Island. This would prove to be the last time that all of the regular cast members appeared together as Jim Backus, who was suffering from Parkinson's disease at the time, died the following year.
May 22 NBC broadcasts The Incredible Hulk Returns, a continuation of the TV series that aired on CBS from 1978-1982.
May 28 The series finale of St. Elsewhere reveals that the entire series was the product of an autistic boy's imagination.
May 30 After rejecting an offer to join CBS News, Peter Mansbridge replaces Knowlton Nash as anchorman of CBC Television's series The National.
June 14 The CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless tops the daytime ratings (deposing longtime winner General Hospital).[1]
July 4 Three years after its cancellation by ABC, CBS resurrects Family Feud for its daytime lineup, featuring new host Ray Combs. A syndicated nighttime version would premiere later in the autumn.
July 14 The first ever edition of "Shark Week" airs on Discovery Channel.
August 9 As a special prime time edition of the Game of the Week, NBC broadcasts the first official night game at Chicago's Wrigley Field between the Cubs and New York Mets.
August 27 Fox affiliate WWPC-TV in Altoona, Pennsylvania (a satellite of WWCP-TV in Johnstown) breaks from its simulcast with WWCP-TV to become an ABC affiliate, returning ABC to the Altoona/State College market after its previous ABC affiliate WOPC-TV went dark in 1982.
September 10 In Knoxville, Tennessee, CBS affiliate WBIR-TV swaps affiliations with NBC affiliate WTVK which were in time for the 1988 Summer Olympic Games. Shortly after the switch, WTVK moves to channel 8, one of the last remaining VHF channel allocations in the U.S., and becomes WKXT-TV (now WVLT-TV).[2]
October 3 TNT, the fourth cable network owned by Turner Broadcasting, commences programming with a broadcast of the movie Gone with the Wind.
October 4 As did Cher, actress Shirley MacLaine calls David Letterman an "asshole" during a taping of the NBC talk show Late Night.
October 8 A young Countess Vaughn (winner of Star Search) joins the cast of the NBC comedy 227 as Alexandria DeWitt, a young 11-year-old talented college student, whom the Jenkins' have as a houseguest for a year.
October 11 Turner Broadcasting purchases Jim Crockett Promotions and subsequently rebrands it as World Championship Wrestling. The sale would be completed on November 2, 1988. Three days later, on NWA World Championship Wrestling, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair cut a promo and pointed out a large group of Turner executives in the crowd. This was a subtle nod to Ted Turner purchasing Jim Crockett Promotions.
October 15 Kirk Gibson hits his now iconic walk-off home run off of Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics. Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola are in the broadcast booth for NBC Sports.
October 27 The last of Harding Lemay's "comeback" episodes are broadcast on the NBC soap opera Another World. In the final minutes of the episode, Australian actress Carmen Duncan assumed the role of the legendary bitch Iris Cory Wheeler, after the role had been vacated for many years by Beverlee McKinsey.
November 3 Talk show host Geraldo Rivera's nose is broken during a taping of his show when a fight begins on the set between guests. The theme of the episode was "Young Hate Mongers," and the fight originated between white supremacist Tom Metzger and liberal activist Roy Innis.
November 21 CBS broadcasts Inside the Sexes, a documentary produced by The Body Human's Alfred R. Kelman that features explicit content about human sexuality (including detailed visuals inside human reproductive organs), which prompts several CBS affiliates to broadcast the program with a parental warning at the beginning of the program, at a later time of the day. Some affiliates canceled their broadcast of the program.
November 24 Mystery Science Theater airs for the first time on KTMA-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
December 8 Tichina Arnold (later of Martin and Everybody Hates Chris fame) joins the cast of the ABC soap opera Ryan's Hope for what will prove to be its final season.
December 11 Roots: The Gift, the third installment of the Roots series is broadcast on ABC.
December 14 CBS pays Major League Baseball approximately US$1.8 billion[3] for exclusive over-the-air television rights for over four years (beginning in 1990). CBS paid about $265 million each year[4] for the World Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the Saturday Game of the Week. CBS replaces ABC (which had broadcast Monday and later Thursday night baseball games from 1976 to 1989) and NBC (which had broadcast Major League Baseball in some shape or form since 1947 and the Game of the Week exclusively since 1966) as the national broadcast network television home of Major League Baseball.[5] It was one of the largest agreements[6] (to date) between the sport of baseball and the business of broadcasting. The cost of the deal between CBS and Major League Baseball was about 25% more[7] than in the previous television contract with ABC and NBC.[8] The deal with CBS was also intended to pay each team (26 in 1990 and then, 28 by 1993) $10 million a year.
December 18 A Very Brady Christmas airs on CBS and with a 25.1 rating and a 39 share, becomes the second highest rated television film of the year. Its success would soon lead to the creation of a new Brady Bunch series called The Bradys, which only lasts for six episodes.
December 26 The Young and the Restless becomes the number 1 daytime drama on television, where it remains to this very day.[9]


Debuting this yearEdit

The following is a list of shows that premiered in 1988.

Date Title Network
January 2 High Mountain Rangers CBS
January 4 Blackout
January 11 T. and T. Syndication
January 15 The Thorns ABC
January 17 The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh The Disney Channel and ABC
January 18 Home ABC
January 19 48 Hours CBS
January 31 The Wonder Years ABC
February 6 Count Duckula Nickelodeon
February 7 America's Most Wanted Fox
February 29 Day by Day NBC
March 6 In the Heat of the Night
Supercarrier ABC
March 7 Probe
March 9 Aaron's Way NBC
March 14 Eisenhower and Lutz CBS
March 15 Coming of Age
Trial and Error
March 23 HeartBeat ABC
April 1 Denver, the Last Dinosaur Syndication
April 6 Just in Time ABC
April 26 China Beach
Just the Ten of Us
May 8 Something Is Out There NBC
June 13 Blue Skies CBS
July 1 Don't Just Sit There Nickelodeon
August 6 Yo! MTV Raps MTV
September 3 Kids' Court Nickelodeon
September 5 Fun House Syndication
Relatively Speaking
September 10 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo ABC
The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil
Baby Boom
The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley
Beyond Tomorrow Fox
Police Academy Syndication
September 12 Sweethearts
USA Today: The Television Series
September 17 Rin Tin Tin: K-9 Cop CBN Family Channel
Garfield and Friends CBS
Hey Vern, It's Ernest!
Fantastic Max Syndication
September 19 C.O.P.S. Syndication
October 1 Monsters
October 2 Marvel Action Universe
October 3 Turner Network Television TBS
October 4 The American Experience PBS
High Risk CBS
October 6 Dear John NBC
October 8 Empty Nest
The Adventures of Superboy Syndication
Freddy's Nightmares
The Munsters Today
Triple Threat
October 10 War of the Worlds
October 15 Capital Gang CNN
October 18 Roseanne ABC
October 23 Mission: Impossible ABC
October 25 Midnight Caller NBC
October 26 Tattingers
Annie McGuire CBS
The Van Dyke Show
October 27 Paradise
October 29 Dirty Dancing
November 2 Murphy's Law ABC
November 11 Knightwatch
November 14 Murphy Brown CBS
November 23 Raising Miranda
November 24 Mystery Science Theater 3000 KTMA-TV
November 27 Almost Grown CBS
November 29 TV 101
November 30 Good Morning, Miss Bliss Disney Channel

Resuming this yearEdit

Title Final aired Previous network Returning network Date of return
Family Feud 1985 ABC CBS July 4
The Gong Show 1980 Syndication Same September 12

Changing networksEdit

Show Moved from Moved to
Family Feud ABC CBS
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Disney Channel ABC
Double Dare Nickelodeon Fox/Syndication
Finders Keepers Syndication
Snorks NBC USA Network and Syndication
Heathcliff Syndication Nickelodeon

Entering syndicationEdit

Ending this yearEdit

Date Title Debut
January 2 Sable 1987
January 8 I Married Dora
January 15 Rags to Riches
February 10 The Law & Harry McGraw
February 11 The Charmings
February 12 Sledge Hammer! 1986
February 13 Mr. President 1987
February 20 Women in Prison
March 8 I'm Telling!
March 22 Frank's Place
March 25 Lingo (returned in 2002)
March 26 Dennis the Menace 1986
What's Happening Now!! 1985
March 28 Yogi's Treasure Hunt
March 29 Trial and Error 1988
March 30 We Got It Made 1983
April 1 Blackout 1988
April 9 High Mountain Rangers
April 12 My Sister Sam 1986
April 14 Probe 1988
April 22 Beverly Hills Buntz 1987
May 1 Magnum, P.I. (original series) 1980
Truth or Consequences 1950
May 2 Jem 1985
May 3 Hotel 1983
May 7 The Facts of Life 1979
Spenser: For Hire 1985
Ohara 1987
May 6 The Highwayman
May 8 Our House 1986
May 10 Crime Story
Dolly 1987
May 12 Max Headroom
May 14 Second Chance (aka Boys Will Be Boys)
May 16 Cagney and Lacey 1982
May 25 St. Elsewhere
Aaron's Way 1988
May 27 Punky Brewster 1984
May 28 Marblehead Manor 1987
June 8 The Slap Maxwell Story
June 10 Houston Knights
June 20 Eisenhower and Lutz 1988
June 28 J.J. Starbuck 1987
June 29 The Bronx Zoo
July 16 Little Clowns of Happytown
July 23 Solid Gold 1980
July 24 Tales from the Darkside 1984
August 21 Werewolf 1987
September 2 Pyramid (returned in 1991) 1973
September 3 Dennis the Menace 1986
The Flintstone Kids
October 22 Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures 1987
October 28 The Late Show 1986
November 18 3-2-1 Contact 1980
November 22 Denver, the Last Dinosaur 1988
December 3 The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley
December 7 The Van Dyke Show
December 9 Something Is Out There
December 17 Superman
December 24 Hey Vern, It's Ernest!
December 25 The Care Bears 1985
December 28 Annie McGuire 1988

Made-for-TV movies and miniseriesEdit

Title Network Premiere date Notes
The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank CBS April 17
Case Closed CBS April 9
David ABC October 28
Goddess of Love NBC November 20
Inherit the Wind NBC March 20 Emmy Award winner
Internal Affairs CBS November 6
Jack the Ripper CBS October 21
Lincoln NBC March 27 Miniseries, based on Gore Vidal’s novel
The Murder of Mary Phagan NBC January 24 Emmy Award winner
The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story NBC May 2
War and Remembrance ABC November 13 Miniseries; sequel to The Winds of War

Television stationsEdit


Date Name Notability
January 7 Haley Bennett Actress and singer
January 8 Lily Nicksay Actress (Boy Meets World)
January 12 Andrew Lawrence Actor (Brotherly Love, Oliver Beene, Hawaii Five-0, voice of T.J. Detweiler on Recess (1998–2001))
January 18 Ashleigh Murray Actress (Riverdale)
January 22 Nick Palatas Actor
January 28 Alexandra Krosney Actress (Last Man Standing)
January 30 Rob Pinkston Actor (Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide)
February 4 Charlie Barnett Actor (Chicago Fire)
February 6 Bailey Hanks Actress and singer
Anna Diop Senegalese-American actress (Titans)
February 8 Ryan Pinkston Actor (Quintuplets, Tower Prep)
February 11 Jazz Raycole Actress (My Wife and Kids)
February 15 Jessica De Gouw Australian actress (Dracula)
February 18 Maiara Walsh Actress (Desperate Housewives, Cory in the House)
Sarah Sutherland Actress (Veep)
Shane Lyons Actor (All That)
February 19 Stacie Chan Voice actress (Jackie Chan Adventures)
February 20 Rihanna Singer and actress (Bates Motel)
February 24 Alexander Koch Actor (Under the Dome)
March 1 Katija Pevec Actress (Just for Kicks)
March 3 Josh Duggar Actor (19 Kids and Counting) and television personality
March 22 Tania Raymonde Actress (Lost, Death Valley)
March 24 Finn Jones English actor (Game of Thrones)
March 27 Brenda Song Actress (100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, The Suite Life on Deck, Scandal, New Girl, Dads, Pure Genius), voice actress (American Dragon: Jake Long, Miles from Tomorrowland, Amphibia)
Holliday Grainger English actress (Where the Heart Is, The Borgias)
April 2 Francesca Catalano Actress (Just for Kicks)
April 4 Maggie Geha Actress (Gotham)
April 10 Haley Joel Osment Actor (Thunder Alley, The Jeff Foxworthy Show)
April 13 Allison Williams Actress (Girls) and singer
April 14 Chris Wood Actor (The Vampire Diaries, Containment)
April 21 Christoph Sanders Actor (Ghost Whisperer, Last Man Standing)
Robbie Amell Canadian actor (True Jackson, VP, The Tomorrow People, The Flash)
April 23 Carla Quevedo Argentine actress (Show Me a Hero)
April 25 Sara Paxton Actress (SpongeBob SquarePants, Greetings from Tucson, Darcy's Wild Life) and singer
April 30 Ana de Armas Cuban actress (The Boarding School)
May 1 Nicholas Braun Actor (10 Things I Hate About You)
May 5 Brooke Hogan Actress (Hogan Knows Best)
May 17 Nikki Reed Actress
May 24 Kimberley Crossman New Zealand-born actress
June 2 Amber Marshall Canadian actress
June 7 Michael Cera Canadian actor (Arrested Development)
June 9 Mae Whitman Actress (Arrested Development, Parenthood, Good Girls), voice actress (Johnny Bravo, Teacher's Pet, American Dragon: Jake Long, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Family Guy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, DC Super Hero Girls)
June 11 Claire Holt Actress (H2O: Just Add Water, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Aquarius)
June 12 Cody Horn Actress
June 14 Kara Kilmer Actress (Chicago Fire)
Kevin McHale Actor (Glee) and singer
June 20 Shefali Chowdhury Actress (Harry Potter)
June 22 Portia Doubleday Actress (Mr. Sunshine, Mr. Robot)
June 24 Candice Patton Actress (The Game, The Flash)
June 27 Alanna Masterson Actress (The Young and the Restless, First Day, The Walking Dead)
June 30 Sean Marquette Actor (Titus, The Goldbergs), voice actor (Johnny Bravo, Rocket Power, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends)
July 1 Evan Ellingson Actor (Complete Savages CSI: Miami)
July 6 Brittany Underwood Actress (One Life to Live, Hollywood Heights) and singer
July 12 Ta'Rhonda Jones Actress (Empire) and rapper
July 13 Colton Haynes Actor (Teen Wolf, Arrow)
Steven R. McQueen Actor (The Vampire Diaries, Chicago Fire)
July 15 Aimee Carrero Dominican actress (Level Up, Young & Hungry, Elena of Avalor, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power)
July 20 Julianne Hough Singer and actress (Dancing with the Stars)
July 26 Francia Raisa Actress (The Secret Life of the American Teenager)
July 30 Nico Tortorella Actor (Make It or Break It, Younger)
July 31 Charlie Carver Actor (Teen Wolf)
August 1 Max Carver Actor (Desperate Housewives, Teen Wolf)
Sasha Jackson British actress
August 12 Leah Pipes Actress (Life is Wild, The Deep End, The Originals) and singer
August 16 Kevin Schmidt Actor (The Young and the Restless, Unnatural History)
Rumer Willis Actress (Dancing with the Stars season 20 [winner]) and daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore
August 17 Brady Corbet Actor
August 19 Cody Ross Pitts Actor
August 23 Kim Matula Actress (The Bold and the Beautiful)
August 24 Rupert Grint English actor (Harry Potter)
August 26 Danielle Savre Actress (Summerland, Heroes, Kaya, Too Close to Home)
Evan Ross Actor
August 27 Alexa PenaVega Actress (Life's Work, Ladies Man, Ruby & The Rockits) and singer
August 28 Shalita Grant Actress (NCIS: New Orleans, Mercy Street)
September 1 Angus McLaren Australian actress (H2O: Just Add Water)
Vaneza Pitynski Actress (The Brothers García)
September 6 Max George British actor (The Wanted) and singer
September 15 Chloe Dykstra Actress
Chelsea Kane Actress (Jonas, Fish Hooks, Baby Daddy) and singer
September 19 Katrina Bowden Actress (30 Rock, Public Morals)
September 23 Bryan Hearne Actor (All That)
September 24 Kyle Sullivan Actor (Malcolm in the Middle, Whatever Happened to Robot Jones?, Fillmore!, All That, The War at Home)
October 1 Cariba Heine Actress (H2O: Just Add Water)
October 3 Alicia Vikander Actress (Second Avenue)
October 4 Melissa Benoist Actress (Glee, Supergirl) and singer
October 5 Bobby Edner Actor
October 10 Rose McIver Actress (iZombie)
October 14 MacKenzie Mauzy Actress (Guiding Light, The Bold and the Beautiful, Forever)
October 17 Dee Jay Daniels Actor (The Hughleys)
October 20 Rose McIver Actress (Power Rangers RPM, iZombie)
October 21 Glen Powell Actor (Scream Queens)
Mark Rendall Canadian voice actor (Arthur, The Save-Ums!, Time Warp Trio, Wayside)
October 28 Devon Murray Actor (Harry Potter)
October 29 Cherilyn Wilson Actress (I Heart Vampires, Greetings from Home)
October 30 Janel Parrish Actress (Pretty Little Liars)
November 2 Lindze Letherman Actress (General Hospital)
November 3 Angus McLaren Australian actor (Neighbours, H2O: Just Add Water)
November 6 Emma Stone Actress (Drive)
November 7 Reid Ewing Actor (Modern Family)
November 8 Jessica Lowndes Actress (90210) and singer
November 9 Nikki Blonsky Actress (Huge) and singer
November 11 Alexandra Kyle Actress
November 26 Tamsin Egerton English actress (Camelot)
November 28 Scarlett Pomers Actress (Reba)
November 30 Rebecca Rittenhouse Actress (Red Band Society, Blood & Oil)
December 1 Ashley Monique Clark Actress (The Hughleys)
December 2 Alfred Enoch Actor (Harry Potter, How to Get Away With Murder)
December 11 Ashley Hinshaw Actress and model
December 14 Vanessa Hudgens Actress (High School Musical) and singer
December 15 Emily Head English actress (The Inbetweeners)
December 16 Anna Popplewell English actress (Reign)


Date Name Age Notability
January 3 William Cagney 82 Actor
February 1 Heather O'Rourke 12 Actress (Poltergeist, Happy Days)
February 17 Alexander Bashlachev 27 Soviet singer
March 10 Andy Gibb 30 Singer (Solid Gold)
April 5 Alf Kjellin 68 Actor and director
April 25 Carolyn Franklin 43 Singer
April 27 David Scarboro 20 English actor (EastEnders)
May 15 Andrew Duggan 64 Character actor (Lancer)
May 21 Sammy Davis Sr. 87 Dancer
May 18 Daws Butler 71 Voice actor (The Jetsons, several animated commercials)
May 27 Florida Friebus 78 Actress (The Bob Newhart Show, Dobie Gillis)
June 25 Hillel Slovak 26 Israeli-American musician (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
July 21 Jack Clark 62 Game show announcer (Wheel of Fortune)
July 25 Judith Barsi 10 Child actress
July 31 Trinidad Silva 38 Actor (Jesus Martinez on Hill Street Blues), in a car accident
September 11 John Sylvester White 68 Actor (Welcome Back, Kotter)
September 29 Charles Addams 76 Cartoonist whose drawings inspired (The Addams Family)
October 11 Wayland Flowers 48 Puppeteer (Madame's Place)
October 31 John Houseman 86 Actor (The Paper Chase, Silver Spoons)
December 6 Timothy Patrick Murphy 29 Actor (Dallas)
December 12 Dick Clair 57 Comedy writer (The Carol Burnett Show, The Facts of Life)
December 20 Max Robinson 49 ABC World News correspondent
December 27 Jess Oppenheimer 75 Comedy writer who created (I Love Lucy)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Y&R Marks 26 Years As The Number #1 Daytime Drama!".
  2. ^ "About WBIR in Knoxville".
  3. ^ "A Billion-Dollar Bid By CBS Wins Rights To Baseball Games". The New York Times. December 15, 1988.
  4. ^ Downey, Kevin (18 April 2002). "Waning days of big $ TV sports". Media Life. Archived from the original on 25 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Baseball to CBS; NBC Strikes Out : ABC Also Falls Short as 4-Year Package Goes for $1 Billion". The Los Angeles Times. December 15, 1988.
  6. ^ Shames, Laurence (23 July 1989). "CBS HAS WON THE WORLD SERIES......NOW IT COULD LOSE ITS SHIRT". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Erardi, Luckhaupt, John, Joel. The Wire-to-Wire Reds: Sweet Lou, Nasty Boys, and the Wild Run to a World ... p. 40.
  8. ^ Ernest Cashmore. And There Was Television. p. 146.
  9. ^ "Y&R Celebrates 27 Consecutive Years As Daytime's No. 1 Drama".