1961 in television
The year 1961 in television involved some significant events. Below is a list of television-related events during 1961.
- January 20 – John F. Kennedy is the first U.S. president to be inaugurated with a color telecast. NBC covers the inauguration in color.
- January 25
- John F. Kennedy holds the first live televised presidential press conference.
- Danger Man (United Kingdom) (1960–1961, 1964–1966) is cancelled due to lack of interest from Australian broadcasters. The series will be revived later.
- February 19 – CFTM-TV, future flagship station of Quebec's TVA network, begins broadcasting in Montreal.
- March 1 - Venevision officially renamed from Televisa of Venezuela.
- April 11 – The Eichmann trial is the first televised trial, shown on a one-day delay basis in the U.S. with videotape flown in daily from Jerusalem
- April 29
- May 5 – Alan B. Shepard is the first U.S. astronaut in space aboard the spacecraft Freedom 7 in a 15-min. suborbital flight. The launch is watched by 45 million U.S. viewers.
- May 9 – In a speech on "Television and the Public Interest" to the National Association of Broadcasters in the United States, Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton N. Minow describes commercial television programming as a "vast wasteland" and tells the broadcasters that they could do a better job of serving the public.
- May 29 – Dave Garroway announces his decision to quit the Today show on NBC in the United States.
- July 1 – The soap opera series The Brighter Day airs its first episode after taping locations are moved from New York City to Los Angeles. As a result, key character Babby Dennis and her love interest are written out of the series; the actors who played them didn't want to relocate.
- July 21 – Dicon Television Canal 11, as predecessor for Telefe, a major television network in Argentina, starts its first official regular broadcasting service from Buenos Aires.
- September 1 – Border Television, the ITV franchise for the English-Scottish Border and Isle of Man, begins broadcasting.
- September 23 – NBC begins its long-running NBC Saturday Night at the Movies participating, with a broadcast of the 1953 Marilyn Monroe picture How to Marry a Millionaire.
- September 30 – Grampian Television, the ITV franchise for North East Scotland, begins broadcasting.
- October 1 – CTV Television Network (CTV) is launched in Canada, the first privately owned network in the country.
- October 29 - DZBB-TV Channel 7, the fourth television station in the Philippines owned by Republic Broadcasting System (modern-day GMA Network) of American war correspondent Robert "Uncle Bob" Stewart, is launched after the success of radio station DZBB.
- November 4 – Radiotelevisione italiana's second television channel, Rete 2 (later named Rai 2), first broadcasts to 52% of the available households in Italy.
- November 19 – Lucille Ball marries Gary Morton in New York City.
- December 15 – Sam and Friends broadcasts its last episode in the United States.
- December 31
- Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) starts television broadcasts, bringing television to the Republic of Ireland for the first time.
- KBS1, a major television station in South Korea, starts its first regular broadcasting service from Seoul.
- WBNB airs the first television broadcast in the Virgin Islands. (The station would be destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.)
- January 5 – Mister Ed on CBS (1961–1966)
- January 7 – The Avengers on ITV in UK (1961–1969)
- January 23 – The Americans on NBC
- January 30 - The Yogi Bear Show on Syndication (1961-1962)
- March 17 – Five Star Jubilee on NBC
- April 3 – Minna no Uta on NHK
- Mat 26 – Inspector Hornleigh Intervenes on West Germany's WDR
- June 4 – Sportschau on ARD
- April 29 – ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961–2006)
- August 19 – Four Corners, Australia's first current affairs program (1961–present)
- September 9 – The Jo Stafford Show on ITV (1961)
- September 17 – Car 54, Where Are You? on NBC (1961–1963)
- September 27 - Top Cat on ABC (1961-1962)
- September 28 – Hazel on NBC (1961–1966)
- October 1 –
- October 2 –
- October 3 – The Dick Van Dyke Show on CBS (1961–1966)
- October 4 - The Alvin Show on CBS (1961-1962)
- October 7 – It's Academic (1961–present)
- October 30 – The News with Uncle Bob (1961-1972)
- November 8 – KVN (Клуб, Весёлых и Находчивых, Klub Vesyólykh i Nakhódchivykh, "Club of the Funny and Inventive") on The First Channel in the Soviet Union (1961–1972, 1986–present)
- November 13 – Camera Canada on CBC Television (1961-1963)
- December 11 – The Mike Douglas Show (1961–1981)
- December 31 – RTÉ News: Nine O'Clock on RTÉ One
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962)
- American Bandstand (1952–1989)
- Armchair Theatre (UK) (1956–1968)
- As the World Turns (1956–2010)
- Blue Peter (UK) (1958–present)
- Bonanza (1959–1973)
- Bozo the Clown (1949–present)
- Bringing Up Buddy, 1960–1961
- Candid Camera (1948–present)
- Captain Kangaroo (1955–1984)
- Carols by Candlelight (1952–present)
- Cheyenne (1955–1962)
- Come Dancing (UK) (1949–1995)
- Coronation Street (UK) (1960–present)
- Danger Man (UK) (1960–1961, 1964–1966)
- Dixon of Dock Green (UK) (1955–1976)
- Face the Nation (1954–present)
- Grandstand (UK) (1958–2007)
- Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
- Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951–present)
- Hancock's Half Hour (1956–1962)
- Hato no kyujitsu (1953-2001)
- Hawaiian Eye (1959–1963)
- Inspector Hornleigh Intervenes (West Germany) (1961)
- Juke Box Jury (1959–1967, 1979, 1989–1990)
- Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963)
- Love of Life (1951–1980)
- Margie, 1961–1962
- Meet the Press (1947–present)
- My Three Sons (1960–1972)
- Dagsrevyen (1958–present)
- Opportunity Knocks (UK) (1956–1978)
- Panorama (UK) (1953–present)
- Rocky and His Friends (1959-1961) ends earlier in 1961 to resume later in 1961 on NBC as The Bullwinkle Show (1961–1964)
- Search for Tomorrow (1951–1986)
- The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952–1966)
- The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968)
- The Alvin Show (1961-1962)
- The Bell Telephone Hour (1959–1968)
- The Bugs Bunny Show (1960-2000)
- The Donna Reed Show (1958–1966)
- The Ed Sullivan Show (1948–1971)
- The Edge of Night (1956–1984)
- The Flintstones (1960–1966)
- The Good Old Days (UK) (1953–1983)
- The Guiding Light (1952–2009)
- The Huckleberry Hound Show (1958–1962)
- The Jack Benny Show (1950–1965)
- The Lawrence Welk Show (1955–1982)
- The Milton Berle Show (1954–1967)
- The Price Is Right (1956–1965)
- The Quick Draw McGraw Show (1959–1962)
- The Secret Storm (1954–1974)
- The Sky at Night (UK) (1957–present)
- The Yogi Bear Show (1961-1962)
- The Today Show (1952–present)
- The Tonight Show (1954–present)
- The Twilight Zone (1959–1964, 1985–1989, 2002–2003)
- The Voice of Firestone (1949–1963)
- This Is Your Life (UK) (1955–2003)
- Top Cat (1961-1962)
- Truth or Consequences (1950–1988)
- Walt Disney Presents (1958–1961) ends on September 17 to resume on September 24 on NBC as Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (1961–1969)
- What the Papers Say (UK) (1956–2008)
- What's My Line (1950–1967)
- WIN News (1960–present)
- Window on Main Street (1961–1962)
- Zoo Quest (UK) (1954–1964)
Ending this year
|January 1||General Motors Presents (Can)||1958|
|May 15||The Americans||1961|
|June 20||The Army Game (UK)||1957|
|June 29||The Ford Show||1956|
|June 30||Hancock's Half Hour|
|September 18||Peter Gunn||1958|
|September 22||Five Star Jubilee||1961|
|December 1||The Huckleberry Hound Show||1958|
|December 15||Sam and Friends||1955|
|Unknown||This Is Your Life (US)||1952|
Changes of network affiliation
|Show||Moved from||Moved to|
|Walt Disney Presents||ABC||NBC|
|Rocky and His Friends|
|The Wonderful World of Disney|
|February 3||Anna May Wong||56||American actress|
|May 22||Joan Davis||53||Actress (I Married Joan)|
|August 26||Gail Russell||36||American actress|
|August 30||Charles Coburn||84||Actor|
|September 10||Leo Carrillo||80||Actor (The Cisco Kid)|
|October 11||Chico Marx||74||Actor (member of the Marx Brothers)|
|November 24||Ruth Chatterton||68||Actress|