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The following is a list of events affecting American television during 1996. Events listed include television show debuts, finales, cancellations, and channel initiations, closures and rebrandings, as well as information about controversies and disputes.


Date Event
January 1 Speedvision, a cable channel devoted to motor sports, commences programming. The network would be rechristened Speed Channel in 2002, then Speed in 2005. It would be replaced by Fox Sports 1 in 2013.
January 20 Fox introduces its FoxTrax "glowing puck" during its telecast of the 46th National Hockey League All-Star Game.
January 28 Chris Isaak and Brooke Shields make guest appearances on a post-Super Bowl episode of Friends on NBC.
February 1 Sundance Channel debuts.
March 1 More than 1 billion households worldwide now own television sets.
March 4 DISH Network, a Direct Broadcast Satellite service, begins as a service of EchoStar.
April 28 Dexter's Laboratory premieres on Cartoon Network.
April 29 TV Land, an offshoot of Nickelodeon's late-night block, Nick at Nite, debuts. The channel is devoted to round-the-clock broadcasts of classic television shows.
May 16 More than 12 million Americans watch the final episode of Murder, She Wrote on CBS, "Death By Demographics". Through its 12-year run, the series had become the longest-running American Murder Mystery Drama.
June 1 Major League Baseball broadcasts debut on Fox.
June 3 Zenith introduces the first HDTV-compatible front projection TV in the U.S.
June 19 CBS affiliate WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC is awarded the first experimental high-definition television license in the United States.
June 23 At the World Wrestling Federation's pay-per-view event King of the Ring, wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the King of the Ring tournament by defeating Jake Roberts. After the match, Austin makes a certain victory speech in what would famously become as the "Austin 3:16" catchphrase.
June 30 New York PBS member station WNYC-TV shuts off the air. The next day, it is replaced with a commercially operated sports TV station known as WBIS.
July 6 When it becomes evident that Anna Stuart will be next to die in a serial killer storyline on the NBC soap opera Another World, many fans start letter-writing campaigns to save the actress; the NBC studios in New York City also report a great number of switchboard telephone calls regarding Stuart's imminent demise. Executive producer Jill Farren Phelps decides that actress Alice Barrett will be killed off the show instead.
New World Communications sells its 2 remaining non-Fox affiliates, KNSD-TV (channel 39) in San Diego, California and WVTM-TV (channel 13) in Birmingham, Alabama, both of whom are affiliated with NBC, to the NBC Television Stations Division. Upon the finalization of the deal on August 14, both stations become NBC owned-and-operated stations (WVTM would eventually be sold to Media General in 2006; Hearst Television would acquire WVTM in 2015).
July 7 At the WCW produced pay-per-view event Bash at the Beach, Hulk Hogan turns heel and announces the formation of the New World Order.
July 15 Talk-oriented America's Talking ceases broadcasting and is replaced by MSNBC, an all-news joint venture between NBC (AT's owner) and Microsoft.
August 2 MTV's secondary channel, M2 (now known as MTV2), debuts.
August 23 The Price Is Right celebrates its 25th Anniversary Special on CBS.
September 8 The 48th Primetime Emmy Awards are presented on ABC.
The 1994–96 United States broadcast TV realignment continues when longtime ABC affiliate WBRC-TV (channel 6) in Birmingham, Alabama finally becomes a Fox owned-and-operated station, a year after Fox had acquired it (and WGHP-TV in High Point, North Carolina) from a trust that had been formed by New World Communications. ABC eventually affiliates with a trimulcast of WBMA-LP/WCFT/WJSU (channels 58, 33 and 40), which is owned by Allbritton Communications (owners of WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., one of ABC's strongest affiliates). Former Fox affiliate WTTO-TV (channel 21) becomes an independent station before affiliating with The WB the next year, while another former Fox affiliate, WNAL in Gadsden, Alabama, aligns with CBS.
September 7 Paula Zahn is named an Saturday anchor of CBS Evening News.
September 13 The dubbed version of the Japanese series Dragon Ball Z premieres in U.S. syndication.
The Phil Donahue Show ends after twenty-nine years on the air.
September 15 USA Cartoon Express airs for the last time on USA Network.
September 16 The Jackpot wedge debuts on Wheel of Fortune.
September 17 The O. J. Simpson civil trial begins.
October 1 Animal Planet and Discovery Civilization launched.
October 2 Seven newscasters were dismissed by WCBS-TV (channel 2) in New York.
October 4 Discovery Science debuts.
October 7 News Corporation gets into the cable news fray with the debut of the Fox News Channel.
October 10 Turner Broadcasting System merged into Time Warner.
October 30 WBKP in Calumet, Michigan signs on the air, giving the Upper Peninsula both its first full-time ABC affiliate (WLUC-TV had dropped its primary ABC affiliation the previous year in favor of its secondary NBC affiliation) and full-time affiliates of the "Big Three" networks.
November 1 ESPNNEWS, a sports news channel from ESPN, debuts.
Seven regional sports networks operated by Prime Network relaunched as Fox Sports Net
November 2 The original cartoon series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles broadcasts its final episode, "Divide and Conquer", on CBS.
November 11 Discovery Kids debuts.
November 23 Bob Hope's final television special, Bob Hope... Laughing with the Presidents, airs on NBC.
December 1 The 25 Days of Christmas special begins on The Family Channel, starting one of the longest-running Christmas specials.
December 12 Sports Illustrated and CNN debut CNN/SI, a 24-hour sporting news channel.
December 15 Five years after its series finale, a movie version of Dallas, entitled Dallas: J.R. Returns, is broadcast by CBS.
December 17 6 years after dropping the title, TBS resumes using the term Superstation.
December 31 WAKR-TV in Akron, Ohio disaffiliates from ABC and becomes an infomercial-based station before becoming a charter O&O of station owner Paxson Communications' new Pax TV network in 1998.

Television programsEdit


Date Show Network
January 3 Matt Waters CBS
January 6 Campus Cops USA Network
January 9 3rd Rock from the Sun NBC
January 20 The Lazarus Man TNT
January 21 Savannah The WB
January 22 Bzzz! Syndication
January 23 Moesha UPN
January 24 Tracey Takes On... HBO
January 28 Katie and Orbie PBS, syndicated through APT
January 31 The Louie Show CBS
Remember WENN AMC
February 1 World's Funniest Videos ABC
February 5 Second Noah
February 6 Street Signs CNBC
C Bear and Jamal Fox Kids
February 20 VH1 Storytellers VH1
February 24 The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper Fox Kids
March 1 Gold Fever Outdoor Channel
March 2 Pacific Blue USA Network
Space Cases Nickelodeon
March 4 High Incident ABC
March 8 Muppets Tonight
March 9 Malibu Shores NBC
March 12 The Paranormal Borderline UPN
March 13 The Faculty ABC
Swift Justice UPN
March 16 The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo Nickelodeon
March 17 Local Heroes Fox
The Show
March 20 The Sentinel UPN
March 21 Boston Common NBC
March 29 E! True Hollywood Story E!
Nash Bridges CBS
April 1 Home and Family The Family Channel
April 3 My Guys CBS
April 8 Profit Fox
April 20 Power Rangers Zeo Fox Kids
April 21 Poltergeist: The Legacy Showtime
April 23 Forensic Files TLC
April 28 Dexter's Laboratory Cartoon Network
Fox News Sunday Fox
May 13 Buzzkill MTV
June 1 The American Athlete ABC
June 2 Big Bag Cartoon Network
June 3 Debt Lifetime
Kratts' Creatures PBS
The Last Frontier Fox
L.A. Firefighters
June 10 Caryl & Marilyn: Real Friends ABC
The Rosie O'Donnell Show Syndication
A Wedding Story TLC
July 15 The News with Brian Williams MSNBC
The Site
Time and Again
July 22 The Daily Show Comedy Central
August 10 Arliss HBO
August 11 The Big Easy USA Network
August 12 Fox After Breakfast Fox
August 17 Kenan & Kel Nickelodeon
August 25 The Steve Harvey Show The WB
August 26 7th Heaven
Goode Behavior UPN
In The House
Malcolm & Eddie
August 27 Homeboys in Outer Space
August 28 The Jamie Foxx Show The WB
Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher
August 31 Women: Stories of Passion Showtime
September 1 Power Lunch CNBC
Big Deal Fox
September 2 Adventures from the Book of Virtues PBS
September 3 The Burning Zone UPN
Quack Pack Syndication
Imus in the Morning MSNBC
September 6 Dragon Flyz Syndication
The Mighty Ducks The Disney Channel and ABC
Superman: The Animated Series Kids' WB
September 7 Road Rovers
Big Bad Beetleborgs Fox Kids
September 8 Blue's Clues Nickelodeon
Bureau of Alien Detectors UPN Kids
The Incredible Hulk
The Mouse and the Monster
Life with Roger The WB
September 9 Lush Life Fox
Party Girl
Grill Me USA Network
Access Hollywood Syndication
The Cape
F/X: The Series
In Person with Maureen O'Boyle
Real TV
Scoop with Sam & Dorothy
September 12 Two
September 13 Dragon Ball Z Syndication
Everybody Loves Raymond CBS
September 14 Bailey Kipper's P.O.V.
Project G.e.e.K.e.R.
Secrets of the Cryptkeeper's Haunted House
September 16 Beast Wars: Transformers UPN Kids
Judge Judy Syndication
The Pat Bullard Show
Cosby CBS
September 17 Promised Land
Spin City ABC
September 18 Townies
Men Behaving Badly NBC
September 19 The Pretender
Suddenly Susan
Moloney CBS
September 20 Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Clueless ABC
September 21 All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series Syndication
Dark Skies NBC
WWF LiveWire USA Network
September 24 Relativity ABC
September 25 Pulp Comics Comedy Central
September 27 Sabrina the Teenage Witch ABC
September 28 Early Edition CBS
The Adventures of Sinbad Syndication
Psi Factor
Mr. Rhodes NBC
September 29 Profiler
September 30 Pappyland TLC
Shopping Spree The Family Channel
Small Talk
Wait 'til You Have Kids
Dangerous Minds ABC
October 5 Jungle Cubs
October 7 Fox News Now Fox News Channel
Hannity & Colmes
The O'Reilly Factor
Your World with Neil Cavuto
Arthur PBS
Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?
Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales
Hey Arnold! Nickelodeon
October 11 KaBlam!
October 12 The RuPaul Show VH1
October 13 The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss Nickelodeon
October 19 Waynehead Kids' WB
October 21 Ink CBS
October 25 Millennium Fox
Remember This? MSNBC
October 27 Pop-Up Video VH1
EZ Streets CBS
October 30 Public Morals
November 3 Inspector Gadget's Field Trip The History Channel
November 9 The High Life HBO
December 9 Idiot Savants MTV
December 24 Edgewise MSNBC
December 28 E! True Hollywood Story E!
For Your Home PBS
Gardening by the Yard HGTV
Naughty Amateur Home Videos Playboy TV

Returning this yearEdit

Show Last Aired Previous Network New title New Network Returned
Doug 1994 Nickelodeon Disney's Doug ABC September 7
Gargoyles 1995 The Disney Channel Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles
The Dating Game 1989 Syndication Same Same September 9
The Newlywed Game
Shop 'til You Drop 1994 Lifetime The New Shop 'til You Drop The Family Channel September 30

Ending this yearEdit

Date Show Debut
January 9 Live Shot 1995
January 11 The Commish 1991
January 14 Global Guts 1992
February 3 Are You Afraid of the Dark? (returned in 1999) 1991
Dumb and Dumber 1995
February 17 Maybe This Time
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 1993
February 21 VR Troopers 1994
February 23 Carnie! 1995
Strange Luck
February 24 Biker Mice From Mars 1993
Iron Man 1994
February 26 High Society 1995
March 1 The Head 1994
March 7 The Mickey Mouse Club 1955
March 27 Dream On 1990
March 29 The Pink Panther 1993
George & Alana 1995
March 30 Campus Cops 1996
April 1 Partners 1995
May 4 Sisters 1991
May 11 Captain Planet and the Planeteers 1990
May 19 Murder, She Wrote 1984
May 20 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 1990
Nowhere Man 1995
June 2 Space: Above and Beyond
June 9 seaQuest DSV 1993
June 17 Buzzkill 1996
June 19 Hudson Street 1995
June 26 Picket Fences 1992
June 28 Central Park West 1995
July 11 American Gothic
July 19 Tales from the Crypt 1989
August 8 Kratts' Creatures 1996
August 16 The Client 1995
August 27 Rescue 911 1989
August 30 A Current Affair (returned in 2005) 1986
September 13 The Phil Donahue Show 1967
September 15 USA Cartoon Express 1982
September 30 Lush Life 1996
Party Girl
October 1 Allegra's Window 1994
October 6 Big Deal 1996
October 30 Public Morals
The John Larroquette Show 1993
November 2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987
November 24 Rocko's Modern Life 1993
The Tick 1994
November 25 Timon & Pumbaa (returned in 1999) 1995
November 27 Power Rangers Zeo 1996
November 28 Quack Pack
December 4 Townies
December 6 Mr. & Mrs. Smith
December 7 Project G.e.e.K.e.R.
December 13 Earthworm Jim 1995
December 14 Bailey Kipper's P.O.V. 1996
California Dreams 1992
December 24 Roundhouse
December 28 The Adventures of Pete & Pete 1993

Made for TV movies and miniseriesEdit

Premiere Date Title Channel
February 24 The Late Shift (miniseries) HBO
April 9 Face of Evil CBS
April 28 The Beast NBC
May 14 Doctor Who Fox
September 24 After Jimmy CBS
November 15 Dallas: J.R. Returns
November 17 Titanic

Entering syndication this yearEdit

Show Seasons In Production Source
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman 4 Yes [1]
Hangin' with Mr. Cooper 4 Yes [2]
Mad About You 4 Yes [3]
Martin 4 Yes [4]

Changes of network affiliationEdit

Show Moved from Moved to
Masked Rider Fox Kids Syndication
Brotherly Love NBC The WB
In the House UPN
Minor Adjustments
Candid Camera Syndication CBS
Gargoyles ABC
Doug Nickelodeon
TekWar USA Network Sci-Fi Channel
Major League Baseball Game of the Week CBS Fox
Shop 'til You Drop Lifetime The Family Channel

Television stationsEdit

Station launchesEdit

Date Market Station Channel Affiliation
January 1 Reno, Nevada KRXI-TV 11 Fox
March 1 West Milford, New Jersey WFME-TV 66 Independent
March 22 Fresno, California KNSO 51 Religious Ind.
May 5 Grand Junction, Colorado KKCO 11 NBC
May 31 Waco, Texas KAKW 62 UPN/The WB
September 1 Hagerstown, Maryland WSHE-TV 60 inTV
September 14 Kansas City, Missouri KCWB 29 The WB
October 30 Marquette, Michigan WBKP 5 ABC
October 31 Bozeman, Montana KCTZ 7 Fox
December 23 Berrien Springs, Michigan W12BK 12 ABC
December 24 Bluefield, West Virginia WVSX 59 Fox

Stations changing network affiliationEdit

Market Date Station Channel Prior affiliation New affiliation
Akron/Cleveland, Ohio December 31 WAKC-TV 23 ABC inTV
Bakersfield, California March 1 KERO-TV 23 CBS ABC
Binghamton, New York April 4 WICZ-TV 40 NBC Fox
Birmingham/Tuscaloosa, Alabama September 1 WBRC 6 ABC Fox
WDBB/WTTO 17/21 Fox Independent
W58CK 58 Independent ABC
Charleston, South Carolina August 19 WCBD-TV 2 ABC NBC
Cincinnati, Ohio June 3 WCPO-TV 9 CBS ABC
Fairbanks, Alaska April 1 KTVF 11 CBS NBC
Greensboro, North Carolina March 14 WBFX 20 CTN The WB
June 19 WGGT-TV 48 ABC UPN
Honolulu, Hawaii January 1 KHON-TV 2 NBC Fox
Idaho Falls/Pocatello, Idaho January 1 KPVI 6 ABC NBC
Lincoln, Nebraska September 1 KSNB-TV 4 ABC Fox
Macon, Georgia January 1 WGXA 24 ABC Fox
Mobile, Alabama/Pensacola, Florida January 1 WALA-TV 10 NBC Fox
September 29 WFGX 35 Independent The WB
New Orleans, Louisiana January 1 WVUE-TV 8 ABC Fox
WNOL-TV 38 Fox The WB
New York, New York July 1 WNYC-TV/WBIS 31 PBS Independent
Reno, Nevada January 1 KAME-TV 21 Fox UPN
Twin Falls, Idaho January 1 KKVI 35 ABC Fox

Station closuresEdit

Date Market Station Channel Affiliation
May 5 Bluefield, West Virginia WVGV-TV 59 The WB


Date Name Cinematic Notability
January 9 Oana Gregory Actress (Crash and Bernstein)
January 14 Gabrielle Elyse Actress (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn)
January 15 Dove Cameron Actress (Liv and Maddie, Descendants: Wicked World, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and singer
January 17 Caitlin Sanchez Voice actress (Dora on Dora the Explorer (2008–11))
January 18 Sarah Gilman Actress (I Didn't Do It)
January 22 Sami Gayle Actress (Blue Bloods, Milo Murphy's Law)
January 27 Braeden Lemasters Actor (Men of a Certain Age, Betrayal)
February 1 Rahart Adams Actor (Every Witch Way)
February 7 David Castro Actor (Shadowhunters)
Jake Goldberg Voice actor (Pablo on The Backyardigans (2006–10))
February 9 Jimmy Bennett Actor (No Ordinary Family)
Kelli Berglund Actress (Lab Rats, Lab Rats: Elite Force)
February 17 Sasha Pieterse Actress (Pretty Little Liars) and singer
February 19 Allen Alvarado Actor (Flight 29 Down)
February 21 Sophie Turner English actress (Game of Thrones)
February 28 Bobb'e J. Thompson Actor (That's So Raven, Tyler Perry's House of Payne)
March 22 Gig Morton Canadian actor (Mr. Young)
March 30 Madeleine Peters Canadian voice actress (Martha Speaks, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)
April 3 Sarah Jeffery Canadian actress (Descendants: Wicked World)
April 4 Austin Mahone American singer
April 6 Miranda May Actress (Bunk'd)
April 10 Audrey Whitby Actress (The Thundermans)
April 14 Abigail Breslin Actress (Scream Queens)
April 17 Dee Dee Davis Actress (The Bernie Mac Show)
April 25 Allisyn Ashley Arm Actress (Sonny with a Chance, So Random!)
May 3 Noah Munck Actor (iCarly, The Goldbergs)
May 8 Noah Centineo Actor (The Fosters)
May 9 Mary Mouser Actress (Body of Proof, Scandal, Cobra Kai)
May 17 Ryan Ochoa Actor (iCarly, Pair of Kings)
May 24 Frank Dolce Actor (Sons of Tucson)
June 16 Cody Lohan Actor (Living Lohan)
July 16 Nicky Jones Voice actor (Chowder)
July 21 Joey Bragg Actor (Liv and Maddie)
July 30 Austin North Actor (I Didn't Do It)
July 31 Blake Michael Actor (Dog With a Blog)
August 1 Cymphonique Miller Actress (How to Rock) and singer
August 12 Torri Webster Canadian actress (Life with Boys)
August 21 Jamia Simone Nash Actress (The Backyardigans, The Young and the Restless)
August 22 Mickey Graue Actor (Lost)
August 25 Naelee Rae Actress (The Backyardigans, The Guiding Light)
September 1 Zendaya Actress (Shake It Up, K.C. Undercover) and singer
September 4 Victoria Moroles Actress (Liv and Maddie, Teen Wolf)
September 6 Alex Christian Jones Actor (Kickin' It)
September 10 Kamil McFadden Actor (K.C. Undercover)
September 12 Colin Ford Actor (Under the Dome, Jake on Jake and the Never Land Pirates)
September 13 Lili Reinhart Actress (Riverdale)
September 18 Kurt Doss Actor (Ruby & the Rockits)
October 9 Bella Hadid American model and sister of Gigi Hadid
October 10 Sarah Carpenter Actress (Girl Meets World)
October 16 Tyler Perez Actor (WITS Academy)
November 2 Liam Obergfoll Actress (Talia in the Kitchen)
November 22 Hailey Baldwin American fashion model and daughter of Stephen Baldwin
Mackenzie Lintz Actress (Under the Dome)
December 6 Stefanie Scott Actress (A.N.T. Farm)
December 8 Teala Dunn Actress (Wonder Pets, The Naked Brothers Band, Are We There Yet?, The Thundermans)
December 11 Hailee Steinfeld Actress and singer
Jack Griffo Actor (The Thundermans) and singer
December 20 Timothy McCartney Actor
December 21 Kaitlyn Dever Actress (Justified, Last Man Standing)
December 29 Dylan Minnette Actor (Lost, Awake, 13 Reasons Why)
December 30 Raymond Cham Actor (Mech-X4)


Date Name Age Notability
February 3 Audrey Meadows 73 Actress (Alice Kramden on The Honeymooners)
February 13 Martin Balsam 76 Actor (Murray on Archie Bunker's Place)
February 15 McLean Stevenson 68 Actor (Lt. Col. Henry Blake on M*A*S*H)
Tommy Rettig 54 Child actor (Jeff on Lassie)
March 4 Minnie Pearl 83 Comedian
March 5 Whit Bissell 86 Character actor
March 9 George Burns 100 Comedian (The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show)
March 11 Vince Edwards 67 Actor (Ben Casey)
April 21 Jimmy Snyder 77 Sports commentator (The NFL Today)
May 20 Jon Pertwee 76 Actor (Third Doctor on Doctor Who)
June 2 Ray Combs 40 Host of Family Feud
June 5 Vito Scotti 78 Character actor, Gilligan's Island
June 16 Mel Allen 83 Sports commentator
July 21 Herb Edelman 62 Actor (Stanley Zbornak on The Golden Girls)
August 27 Greg Morris 62 Actor (Mission: Impossible)
September 13 Tupac Shakur 25 Actor and songwriter
October 6 Ted Bessell 61 Actor and director (Donald on That Girl)
October 28 Morey Amsterdam 87 Actor and comedian (Buddy on The Dick Van Dyke Show)
October 31 Arthur Peterson Jr. 83 Actor (Soap)
November 13 Alma Kitchell 103 Hostess (In the Kelvinator Kitchen)
December 8 Howard Rollins 46 Actor (Tibbs on In the Heat of the Night)
December 12 Larry Gates 81 Soap opera actor (Guiding Light)
December 14 Edward K. Milkis 65 Producer

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1] from Broadcasting & Cable
  2. ^ [2] from Broadcasting & Cable
  3. ^ [3] from Broadcasting & Cable
  4. ^ [4] from Broadcasting & Cable