1981 in television


1981 in television

The year 1981 in television involved some significant events.Below is a list of television-related events in 1981.

"For the American TV schedule, see: 1981-82 American network television schedule."

Events

*January 13 - Colour television was introduced in Israel.
*February 20 - Comedian Andy Kaufman ruins sketches and starts a brawl live on the air during ABC's "Fridays".
*March 6 - After a 19-year run, Walter Cronkite resigns as head anchor of "The CBS Evening News" and is succeeded the following Monday by Dan Rather.
*March 21 - After an unprecedented seven years starring in "Doctor Who", Tom Baker makes his final appearance as the Fourth Doctor in Part 4 of "Logopolis". Peter Davison makes his first appearance as the Fifth Doctor at the conclusion of that story.
*April 11 - Van Halen's lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen marries "One Day at a Time" actress Valerie Bertinelli.
*July 27 - In a specially timed event by the show's writers, Ken Barlow marries Deirdre Langton on "Coronation Street", just two days before the real-life wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. The wedding of Ken and Deirdre is watched by over 24 million viewers in Britain, beating the Royal wedding in the ratings.
*August 1 - The MTV network debuts on cable television, playing music videos 24 hours a day.
*November - "The Doctors" airs its milestone 5000th episode.
*November 2 - American soap opera "As the World Turns" debuts a new opening sequence and theme song for the first time in its 25-year history.
*November 16 and November 17 - Luke and Laura's wedding on "General Hospital" becomes one of the most watched weddings in American television history, second only to the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
*December 25 - Chuck Woolery hosts his last episode of "Wheel of Fortune" after a salary dispute with show producer and creator Merv Griffin. Pat Sajak takes over as host the next Monday, the 28th. He hosts the daytime "Wheel" till 1989.; Sajak hosts the nighttime "Wheel" to this day.
*June 30 - Fred Silverman is fired as president of NBC, after failing to improve that network's third-place standing, and is replaced by Grant Tinker.
*Berlinda Tolbert and Michael Jonas Evans makes their final appearance as Lionel and Jenny Willis Jefferson in the seventh (1980-1981) year, of "The Jeffersons", also departing with Tolbert and Evans, Paul Benedict makes his final appearance as the British neighbor of George and Louise, Harry Bentley, Benedict returns to the series in 1983.
*November 9 - CBS cancels "The Incredible Hulk", permanently.
*July 4 - Showtime ends its part-time status and inaugurates a 24/7 schedule.
*December 31 - Colour television is introduced Turkey, it will go full-time in 1984.
* During the course of the year, all soap operas produced by Proctor and Gamble change title sequences and theme songs. Another World, The Guiding Light, Search for Tomorrow, andThe Edge of Night all have new title sequences.

Debuts

*January 5 - "Triangle" debuts on BBC1 (1981-1983).
*January 12 - "Dynasty" premieres on ABC (1981-1989).
*January 15 - "Hill Street Blues" premieres on NBC (1981-1987).
*February 7 - "Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan" premieres on TV-Asahi (1981-1982).
*March 18 - "The Greatest American Hero" premieres on ABC (1981-1983).
*April 8 - "Dr. Slump" premieres on Fuji TV (1981-1986)
*May 16 - "SCTV Network 90", a repackaging of the Canadian series "SCTV", debuts on NBC (1981-1983).
*September 12 - "The Smurfs" premieres on NBC (1981-1990)
*September 14 - "Entertainment Tonight" premieres in syndication (1981-present).
*September 15 - "Only Fools and Horses" premieres on BBC1 (1981-1983, 1985-1993, 1996-1997, 2001-2003).
*September 15 - "Seeing Things" premieres on CBC (1981-1987).
*September 26 - "Game for a Laugh" premieres on ITV (1981-1986).
*October 7 - "Mr. Merlin" premieres on CBS (1981-1982).
*October 28 - "The Fall Guy" premieres on ABC (1981-1986).
*October 29 - "Gimme a Break" premieres on NBC (1981-1987).
*November 24 - "Simon & Simon" premieres on CBS (1981-1989).
*December 4 - "Falcon Crest" premieres on CBS (1981-1990).
*"The Kids of Degrassi Street" premieres on CBC (1981-1985)
*"Postman Pat" premieres on BBC1 (1981, 1996, 2004-present).
*"Today's Special" premieres on TV Ontario (1981-1987).

Miniseries

*"Family Reunion", starring Bette Davis
*"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", starring Simon Jones and David Dixon
*"A Town Like Alice", starring Helen Morse and Bryan Brown
*"Brideshead Revisited", including Anthony Andrews, Jeremy Irons and Sir Laurence Olivier

Television shows

1940s

*"Meet the Press" (1947-present).
*"Candid Camera" (1948-present).
*"Come Dancing" (UK) (1949-1995)

1950s

*"Truth or Consequences" (1950-1988).
*"Search for Tomorrow" (1951-1986).
*"Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1951-present).
*"American Bandstand" (1952-1989).
*"Guiding Light" (1952-present).
*"The Today Show" (1952-present).
*"Panorama" (UK) (1953-present).
*"The Good Old Days" (UK) (1953-1983).
*"Face the Nation" (1954-present).
*"The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962-1992).
*"Captain Kangaroo" (1955-1984).
*"The Lawrence Welk Show" (1955-1982).
*"This Is Your Life" (UK) (1955-2003).
*"As the World Turns" (1956-present).
*"The Edge of Night" (1956-1984).
*"What the Papers Say" (UK) (1956-present).
*"The Sky at Night" (UK) (1957-present).
*"Blue Peter" (UK) (1958-present).
*"Grandstand" (UK) (1958-2007)

1960s

*"Coronation Street" (UK) (1960-present).
* "Four Corners" (Australia) (1961-present).
*"It's Academic" (1961-present).
*"The Late Late Show" (Ireland) (1962-present).
*"Doctor Who" (UK) (1963-1989, 1996, 2005-present).
*"General Hospital" (1963-present).
*"The Doctors" (1963-1982).
*"Another World" (1964-1999).
*"Crossroads" (UK) (1964-1988, 2001-2003).
*"Top of the Pops" (UK) (1964-2006).
*"Days of Our Lives" (1965-present).
*"World of Sport" (UK) (1965-1985).
*"Play School" (1966-present).
*"The Money Programme" (UK) (1966-present).
*"60 Minutes" (1968-present).
*"One Life to Live" (1968-present).
*"Hee Haw" (1969-1993).
*"Sesame Street" (1969-present).
*"The Benny Hill Show" (UK) (1969-1989)

1970s

*"All My Children" (1970-present).
*"Monday Night Football" (1970-present).
*"Play for Today" (UK) (1970-1984).
*"Masterpiece Theatre" (1971-present).
*"Old Grey Whistle Test" (UK) (1971-1987).
*"Soul Train" (1971-present).
*"Are You Being Served?" (UK) (1972-1985).
*"Emmerdale Farm" (UK) (1972-present).
*"Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" (1972-1984).
*"John Craven's Newsround" (UK) (1972-present).
*"M*A*S*H" (1972-1983).
*"The Price Is Right" (1972-present).
*"Last of the Summer Wine" (UK) (1973-present).
*"Match Game" (1962-1969, 1973-1984, 1990-1991, 1998-1999).
*"Schoolhouse Rock!" (1973-1986).
*"Superstars" (UK) (1973-1985, 2003-2005).
*"The Tomorrow Show" (1973-1982).
*"The Young and the Restless" (1973-present).
*"Countdown" (Australia) (1974-1987).
*"Derrick" (1974-1998).
*"Happy Days" (1974-1984).
*"Little House on the Prairie" (1974-1983).
*"The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast" (1974-1984).
*"Tiswas" (UK) (1974-1982).
*"Wish You Were Here...?" (UK) (1974-present).
*"Arena" (UK) (1975–present).
*"Barney Miller" (1975-1982).
*"Good Morning America" (1975-present).
*"Jim'll Fix It" (UK) (1975-1994).
*"One Day at a Time" (1975-1984).
*"Ryan's Hope" (1975-1989).
*"Saturday Night Live" (1975-present).
*"The Don Lane Show" (Australia) (1975-1983).
*"the fifth estate" (Canada) (1975-present).
*"The Jeffersons" (1975-1985).
*"Wheel of Fortune" (1975-present).
*"Alice" (1976-1985).
*"Family Feud" (1976-1985, 1988-1995, 1999-present).
*"Laverne & Shirley" (1976-1983).
*"Multi-Coloured Swap Shop" (UK) (1976-1982).
*"Quincy, M.E." (1976-1983).
*"Second City Television (SCTV)" (Canada) (1976-1984).
*"The P.T.L. Club" (1976-1987).
*"CHiPs" (1977-1983).
*"Fantasy Island" (1977-1984).
*"In Search of..." (1977-1982).
*"Lou Grant" (1977-1982).
*"The Love Boat" (1977-1986).
*"Three's Company" (1977-1984).
*"20/20" (1978-present).
*"3-2-1" (UK) (1978-1987).
*"Battle of the Planets" (1978-1985).
*"Dallas" (1978-1991).
*"Diff'rent Strokes" (1978-1986).
*"Grange Hill" (UK) (1978-present).
*"Mork & Mindy" (1978-1982).
*"Taxi" (1978-1983).
*"WKRP in Cincinnati" (1978-1982).
*"Archie Bunker's Place" (1979-1983).
*"Benson" (1979-1986).
*"Disney's Wonderful World" (1979-1981) ends on September 13 to resume on September 26 as "Walt Disney"
*"Knots Landing" (1979-1993).
*"Real People" (1979-1984).
*"Tales of the Unexpected" (UK) (1979-1985, 1987-1988).
*"The Dukes of Hazzard" (1979-1985).
*"The Facts of Life" (1979-1988).
*"Trapper John, M.D." (1979-1986).
*"You Can't Do That on Television" (Canada) (1979-1990).
*"Antiques Roadshow" (UK) (1979-present).
*"Nightline" (1979-present).
*"This Old House" (1979-present).

1980s

*"Bosom Buddies" (1980-1982).
*"Fridays" (1980-1982).
*"It's a Living" (1980-1982, 1985-1989).
*"Kingswood Country" (Australia) (1980-1984).
*"Magnum, P.I." (1980-1988).
*"Solid Gold" (1980-1988).
*"Texas" (1980-1982).
*"That's Incredible!" (1980-1984).
*"The Other 'Arf" (UK) (1980-1984).
*"Tom and Jerry" (1965-1972, 1975-1977, 1980-1982).
*"Too Close for Comfort" (1980-1986).
*"Hyakuju-Oh Golion (Lion Force Voltron)" (Japan) (1981-1982)
*"Dr. Slump and Arale-chan" (Japan) (1981-1986)
*"Anime Oyako Gekijo (Superbook)" (Japan) (1981-1982)

Ending this year

*April 16 - "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" (1979-1981).
*April 20 - "Soap" (1977-1981).
*August 19 - "Charlie's Angels" (1976-1981).
*August 20 - "The Waltons" (1972-1981).
*August 29 - "Eight is Enough" (1977-1981).
*September 13 - "Match Game PM" (1975-1981).
*October 23 - "Card Sharks" on NBC (1978-1981, 1986-1987, 1986-1989, 2001-2002)
*"The Mike Douglas Show" (1961-1981).
*"The Muppet Show" (UK) (1976-1981).
*"Runaround" (UK) (1975-1981).

Changes of network affiliation

*"Walt Disney" moves from NBC to CBS.
*"The Goodies" moves from the "BBC" to "ITV"

Births

*January 22 - Beverley Mitchell, actress 7th Heaven
*January 31 - Justin Timberlake, singer and actor
*February 8 - Ralf Little, Actor
*February 10 - Holly Willoughby, British television presenter.
*February 17 - Paris Hilton heiress and television personality in the United States.
*April 28 - Jessica Alba, US actress.
*May 5 - Danielle Fishel, actress. Boy Meets World
*June 25 - Sheridan Smith, UK actress.
*August 7 - Dan Griffin, television producer.
*August 25 - Rachel Bilson, actress
*September 3 - Fearne Cotton, British television presenter.
*September 5 - Elize Du Toit, British actress.
*September 8 - Jonathan Taylor Thomas, US actor.
*November 8 - Azura Skye, US actress.
*December 2 - Britney Spears, singer, originally appeared on a version of the "Mickey Mouse Club" in the US.

Deaths

*April 26 - Jim Davis (b. 1909), actor (Jock Ewing) on "Dallas"
*June 9 - Allen Ludden (b. 1917), game show host
*August 1 - Paddy Chayefsky (b. 1923), writer
*November 25 - Jack Albertson (b. 1907), actor


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