1979 in American television


January 3 The USA Network is founded.
January 10 The Music for UNICEF Concert is televised from New York City on NBC.
February 11 In the U.S., 43 million viewers watch Elvis, an ABC movie starring Kurt Russell as Elvis Presley.
February 18 The Daytona 500 is broadcast live from start to finish, in its entirety for the very first time by CBS.
March 5 KSTP-TV in Saint Paul, Minnesota ends its 31-year relationship as the Twin Cities' NBC affiliate and joins ABC in what is called the network's biggest coup yet. NBC, meanwhile, aligns with Metromedia-owned independent station WTCN-TV, while former ABC affiliate KMSP-TV, having failed to procure a NBC affiliation, becomes independent itself.[1][2]
March 6 On NBC, Another World becomes the only soap opera to air regularly scheduled 90-minute telecasts (it would go back to 60-minute episodes in 1980). Meanwhile, on ABC, Family Feud increases its goal to 300 points.
March 19 C-SPAN, an American television channel focusing on government and public affairs, is launched.
April 1 QUBE's child-oriented C-3 channel, originally named "Pinwheel" after its flagship program, is rebranded as Nickelodeon.
April 8 On CBS, the final episode of All in the Family is seen by 40.2 million American viewers (it will relaunch the following season as Archie Bunker's Place).
April 20 The 1,439th and final CBS episode of Match Game 79 airs – however, the show didn't air on April 5, causing the Friday episode from that week to air on April 9. The last 9 aired episodes were culled together from 3 separate taping sessions, leaving 6 unaired until Game Show Network aired them for the first time. Match Game continues for 3 more years in syndicated daytime (sans the omnipresent 2-year designation in the title).
April 22 Friendly Fire, an ABC movie starring Carol Burnett as a mother who wants to know how her son died in Vietnam, airs.
April 23 The Price Is Right, on CBS, moves to 11:00 A.M. EST, the time slot that it holds to this day.
August 1 In Indianapolis, Indiana, NBC affiliate WRTV swaps affiliations with ABC affiliate WTHR, citing a stronger affiliation (at the time, NBC is in last place among the three major networks).[3]
September 7 ESPN, an all-sports channel, launches and becomes the first cable TV channel to be launched as a 24-hour channel.
September 12 On the two-hour season four premiere of Charlie's Angels on ABC, Shelley Hack is introduced as new angel Tiffany Welles, replacing Sabrina Duncan played by Kate Jackson.
September 19 On the two-hour Eight Is Enough season premiere on ABC, both David and Susan Bradford married their respective loves in a double ceremony.
October 6 KTAB-TV in Abilene, Texas begins broadcasting as a CBS affiliate, taking that affiliation from KTXS-TV. KTXS-TV then elevates its secondary ABC affiliation to full-time status, making Abilene one of the last markets in the country to receive full service from the three major networks.
November 4 Jaws is broadcast on television for the first time on ABC.
November 25 Pat Summerall calls his first NFL telecast (Minnesota VikingsTampa Bay Buccaneers) with John Madden.
December 1 The Movie Channel, an American premium cable channel, begins broadcasting movies 24/7.


Debuting in 1979

Date Show Network
January 8 All Star Secrets NBC
Password Plus
January 18 Delta House ABC
January 20 Salvage 1
January 21 Brothers and Sisters NBC
January 22 Nightly Business Report PBS
January 26 Hello, Larry NBC
The Dukes of Hazzard CBS
January 28 CBS News Sunday Morning
February 1 Makin' It ABC
February 3 The New Fred and Barney Show NBC
February 7 Supertrain
February 8 Angie ABC
February 20 This Old House PBS
February 26 Billy CBS
February 27 Cliffhangers NBC
March 4 Stockard Channing in Just Friends CBS
March 13 The Ropers ABC
March 15 Harris and Company NBC
March 24 The Bad News Bears CBS
March 28 Dear Detective ABC
April 6 The MacKenzies of Paradise Cove
April 12 Highridge Manor NBC
April 18 Real People
April 23 Whew! CBS
May 10 Hizzonner NBC
July 31 Detective School ABC
August 24 The Facts of Life NBC
August 25 Hart to Hart ABC
August 28 240-Robert
September 1 Lap Quilting with Georgia Bonesteel PBS
The Woodwright's Shop
September 7 SportsCenter ESPN
September 8 Fred and Barney Meet the Thing NBC
September 9 Jason of Star Command CBS
Out of the Blue ABC
September 13 Benson
September 15 Working Stiffs CBS
September 16 A New Kind of Family ABC
September 17 Three's a Crowd Syndication
September 18 The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo NBC
September 19 The Last Resort CBS
Struck by Lightning
September 20 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century NBC
September 21 Eischied
September 22 Casper and the Angels
A Man Called Sloane
The New Adventures of Flash Gordon
The New Shmoo
The Super Globetrotters
Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo ABC
September 23 The Associates
Archie Bunker's Place CBS
September 25 California Fever
Trapper John, M.D.
September 29 Big Shamus, Little Shamus
October 26 Shirley NBC
October 29 Freedom Road
November 8 Nightline (debuting as The Iran Crisis–America Held Hostage) ABC
November 28 Young Maverick CBS
December 17 House Calls
December 27 Knots Landing

Ending in 1979

Date Show Debut
January 12 The Eddie Capra Mysteries 1978
January 14 The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries 1977
January 16 Grandpa Goes to Washington 1978
March 2 Jeopardy! (returned in 1984) 1964
March 16 Makin' It 1979
April 8 All in the Family 1971
April 20 Match Game 1973
April 24 The Paper Chase (returned in 1983) 1978
April 28 What's Happening!! 1976
April 29 Battlestar Galactica 1978
May 15 Starsky and Hutch 1975
June 8 Welcome Back, Kotter
June 23 Stockard Channing in Just Friends 1979
July 6 The Amazing Spider-Man 1977
July 11 Sword of Justice 1978
July 12 David Cassidy: Man Undercover
August 1 Good Times 1974
September 8 Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics 1977
September 11 Wonder Woman 1976
November 24 Detective School 1979
December 8 Godzilla 1978

Made-for-TV movies and miniseries

TitleNetworkPremiere date
All Quiet on the Western Front CBS November 14
Backstairs at the White House NBC January 29
Roots: The Next Generations ABC February 18 (7 episodes)
Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July ABC November 25
The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree NBC December 3
The Miracle Worker NBC October 14

Television stations


Date City of License/Market Station Channel Affiliation Notes/Ref.
January 3 Boston, Massachusetts WQTV 68 Independent
January 12 Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico
(Brownsville/McAllen, Texas, United States)
XHRIO-TV 2 English-language independent
March North Platte, Nebraska K57CZ 57 CBS LPTV translator of KOLN/Lincoln, Nebraska; now KNPL-LD channel 10, a semi-satellite of KOLN
March 1 Owensboro, Kentucky WKOH 31 PBS Part of Kentucky Educational Television as a repeater of WKLE/Lexington
April 15 Greensburg/Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania WPCB-TV 40 Religious independent
April 28 Red Deer/Harrisburg, Pennsylvania WGCB 49 Independent
May 3 Austin, Texas KLRU 18 PBS Originally a satellite of KLRN/San Antonio, Texas
June 1 Springfield, Illinois WBHW 55 Independent
June 12 Charlottesville, Virginia W64AO 64 ABC Low-powered translator of WHSV-TV/Harrisonburg, Virginia
June 18 Bismarck, North Dakota KBME-TV 3 PBS Part of Prairie Public Television
August El Paso, Texas KCIK-TV 14 Religious independent
August 10 Denver, Colorado KDVR 31 Independent
September 2 Flagstaff/Phoenix, Arizona KTVW 33 SIN
September 9 Phoenix, Arizona KNXV-TV 15 Independent
September 24 Greensboro, North Carolina WGNN-TV 45 Independent
Norfolk, Virginia WTVZ-TV 33 Independent
October 6 Abilene, Texas KTAB-TV 32 CBS
October 22 Grand Junction, Colorado KJCT 8 ABC
October 24 Tampa, Florida WCLF 22 CTN
October 28 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma KGMC 34 Independent
November 29 Bridgeport, Nebraska KWSB-TV 11 NBC
December 22 Warrensburg/Sedalia, Missouri
(Columbia/Jefferson City)
KMOS-TV 6 PBS Returned to the air after being taken off the air in 1978 as a CBS affiliate
Unknown date Hartford, Connecticut W61AH 51 SIN Translator of WXTV/New York City
Miami, Florida W56AZ 56 PBS Translator of WPBT-TV

Network affiliation changes

Date City of License/Market Station Channel Old affiliation New affiliation Notes/Ref.
March 5 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota KMSP-TV ABC Independent
WTCN-TV 11 Independent NBC
August 1 Indianapolis, Indiana WRTV-TV 6 NBC ABC
October 6 Abilene, Texas KTXS-TV 12 CBS (primary)
ABC (secondary)
ABC (exclusive)


January 2 Erica Hubbard Actress (The Replacements, Lincoln Heights)
January 8 Sarah Polley Actress (Ramona, Road to Avonlea)
January 9 Joshua Harto Actor (That's So Raven)
January 14 James Scott British actor (All My Children, Days of Our Lives)
January 16 Aaliyah Singer (d. 2001)
January 24 Ricardo Medina Jr. Actor (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Tatyana Ali Actress (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
January 25 Christine Lakin Actress (Step by Step)
January 26 Sara Rue Actress (Less than Perfect)
January 30 Michelle Langstone New Zealand actress (Power Rangers S.P.D.)
February 1 Rachelle Lefevre Canadian actress (Under the Dome)
February 7 Cerina Vincent Actress (Stuck in the Middle)
February 8 Josh Keaton Voice actor (Bratz, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, DC Super Hero Girls, Voltron: Legendary Defender, Justice League Action, Ben 10)
February 11 Brandy Norwood Singer and actress (Moesha, The Game)
February 12 Jesse Spencer Australian actor (House, Chicago Fire)
February 17 Conrad Ricamora Actor (How to Get Away with Murder) and singer
February 18 Tyrone D. Burton Actor (The Parent 'Hood)
February 20 Bianca Lawson Actress (Pretty Little Liars)
February 21 Jennifer Love Hewitt Actress (Party of Five, Ghost Whisperer) and singer
Jordan Peele Actor and comedian (Mad TV, Key & Peele)
February 23 Maryke Hendrikse Voice actress (Johnny Test)
March 5 Riki Lindhome Voice actress (Monsters vs. Aliens)
March 7 Stephanie Anne Mills Canadian actress (My Dad the Rock Star, Total Drama, Sidekick)
March 10 Danny Pudi Actor (Community, DuckTales)
March 17 Stephen Kramer Glickman Canadian actor (Big Time Rush)
March 18 Danneel Ackles Actress (One Life to Live, One Tree Hill)
March 24 Lake Bell Actress (How to Make it in America, Boston Legal)
March 25 Lee Pace Actor (Pushing Daisies)
March 26 Heidi Zeigler Actress (Rags to Riches, Just the Ten of Us)
April 4 Heath Ledger Australian actor (Sweat) (d. 2008)
April 9 Keshia Knight Pulliam Actress (The Cosby Show)
April 11 Josh Server Actor (All That)
April 12 Claire Danes Actress (Homeland)
Jennifer Morrison Actress (House, Once Upon a Time)
April 18 Kourtney Kardashian Actress (Keeping Up with the Kardashians)
April 23 Jaime King Actress (Hart of Dixie)
May 5 Vincent Kartheiser Actor (Mad Men)
May 9 Rosario Dawson Actor (Gemini Division)
May 16 Jessica Morris Actress (One Life to Live)
May 19 Kyle Carrozza Voice actor (Mighty Magiswords)
May 22 Maggie Q Actress (Nikita, Stalker) and model
May 25 Corbin Allred Actor (Teen Angel)
May 26 Elisabeth Harnois Actress (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)
May 30 Jenny Mollen Actress
June 2 Morena Baccarin Actress (Homeland)
June 5 Pete Wentz American musician (Fall Out Boy)
June 7 Anna Torv Actress (Fringe)
June 11 Preslaysa Edwards Actress (The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo)
June 21 Chris Pratt Actor (Everwood, Parks and Recreation)
June 24 Mindy Kaling Actress (The Office, The Mindy Project)
June 25 Busy Philipps Actress (Dawson's Creek, Freaks and Geeks, Cougar Town)
June 26 Julia Benson Canadian actress (Stargate Universe)
June 28 Felicia Day Actress (The Guild)
June 30 Rick Gonzalez Actor (Reaper, Arrow)
July 3 Elizabeth Hendrickson Actress (All My Children)
July 14 Scott Porter Actor (Hart of Dixie)
July 16 Jayma Mays Actress (Heroes, Ugly Betty, Glee, The League, The Millers, Trial & Error)
July 17 Mike Vogel Actor (Under the Dome)
July 18 Jason Weaver Actor (Smart Guy) and singer
July 31 B. J. Novak Actor (Ryan Howard on The Office)
August 1 Jason Momoa Actor (Stargate Atlantis, Game of Thrones)
August 3 Danso Gordon Canadian actor (In a Heartbeat, South of Nowhere)
Evangeline Lilly Canadian actress (Lost)
August 7 Eric Johnson Canadian actor (Smallville, Rookie Blue)
August 10 JoAnna Garcia Actress (Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Freaks and Geeks, Reba, Privileged, Better with You, The Astronaut Wives Club)
August 11 Drew Nelson Canadian actor (Girlstuff/Boystuff, Total Drama)
Rob Kerkovich Actor (NCIS: New Orleans)
August 12 Peter Browngardt Voice actor (Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, Uncle Grandpa)
August 22 Jennifer Finnigan Actress (The Bold and the Beautiful, Close to Home, Better with You, Tyrant)
August 23 Clare Grant Actress
September 9 Nikki DeLoach Actress (Awkward)
September 15 Dave Annable Actor (Brothers & Sisters, 666 Park Avenue, Red Band Society, Heartbeat)
Amy Davidson Actress (8 Simple Rules)
September 18 Alison Lohman Actress (Pasadena)
September 24 Erin Chambers Actress (General Hospital)
Justin Bruening Actor (All My Children)
September 28 Anndi McAfee Voice actress (Hey Arnold!, Recess, Lloyd in Space)
September 30 Mike Damus Actor (Teen Angel, Brutally Normal, Men, Women & Dogs, Trust Me)
October 2 Brianna Brown Actress (General Hospital, Devious Maids)
October 4 Rachael Leigh Cook Actress (Perception)
October 7 Aaron Ashmore Canadian actor (Smallville, Warehouse 13)
Shawn Ashmore Canadian actor (In a Heartbeat, The Following)
October 8 Kristanna Loken Actress and model (Painkiller Jane)
October 9 Brandon Routh Actor (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow)
October 20 John Krasinski Actor (Jim Halpert on The Office)
October 25 Sarah Thompson Actress (Angel, 7th Heaven)
November 2 Erika Flores Actress (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman)
November 8 Dania Ramirez Dominican-American actress (Entourage, Heroes, Devious Maids, Once Upon a Time)
November 12 Cote de Pablo Chilean-American actress (NCIS)
November 13 Henry Wolfe Actor, singer and son of Meryl Streep and Don Gummer
Metta World Peace NBA player
November 23 Jonathan Sadowski Actor ($h*! My Dad Says, Young & Hungry)
Kelly Brook Model and actress (Smallville)
November 30 Diego Klattenhoff Canadian actor (Homeland, The Blacklist)
December 2 Melissa Archer Actress (One Life to Live)
December 7 Eric Bauza Canadian voice actor (Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island, El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, The Fairly OddParents, The Looney Tunes Show, Ben 10: Omniverse, Xiaolin Chronicles, Uncle Grandpa, Breadwinners, New Looney Tunes, Atomic Puppet, Mighty Magiswords, Ben 10, Unikitty, Muppet Babies, Legend of the Three Caballeros, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
December 11 Rider Strong Actor (Boy Meets World, Kim Possible, Girl Meets World, Star vs. the Forces of Evil)
December 15 Adam Brody Actor (The O.C.)
December 17 Jaimee Foxworth Actress (Family Matters)
December 19 Tara Summers English actress (Boston Legal)
December 21 Rutina Wesley Actress (True Blood)
December 26 Chris Daughtry Singer (American Idol)
December 28 Bree Williamson Actress (One Life to Live)
December 30 Catherine Taber Voice actress (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Loud House)


January 11 Jack Soo 61 Actor (Nick Yemana on Barney Miller)
January 16 Ted Cassidy 46 Actor (Lurch on The Addams Family)
January 27 Dick Wesson 59 Actor, announcer (The Wonderful World of Disney)
February 2 Sid Vicious 21 English musician (Sex Pistols)
June 22 Hope Summers 83 Actress (Clara Edwards on The Andy Griffith Show)
July 29 Bill Todman 62 Game show producer (Match Game, What's My Line?)
August 17 Vivian Vance 70 Actress (Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy)
November 1 Mamie Eisenhower 82 First Lady of the United States and spouse of President Dwight D. Eisenhower
November 30 Zeppo Marx 78 Actor and comedian

See also


  1. "ABC-TV bags largest game yet in affiliation hunt: KSTP-TV." Broadcasting, September 4, 1978, pp. 19–20.
  2. "In Brief." Broadcasting, October 2, 1978, pg. 30
  3. "Television Schedule". Marion Chronicle-Tribune. Marion, IN. 1979-05-30.
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