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            List of years in television       (table)
 1970 .  1971 .  1972 .  1973  . 1974  . 1975  . 1976 
1977 1978 1979 -1980- 1981 1982 1983
 1984 .  1985 .  1986 .  1987  . 1988  . 1989  . 1990 
       In radio: 1977 1978 1979 -1980- 1981 1982 1983     
          In film: 1977 1978 1979 -1980- 1981 1982 1983     
Related time period  or  subjects
 1977 . 1978 . 1979 - 1980 - 1981 . 1982 . 1983 
1950s . 1960s . 1970s -1980s- 1990s . 2000s . 2010s

 19th century . 20th century . 21st century 

Art . Archaeology . Architecture . Literature . Music . Science +...

The year 1980 in television involved some significant events. Below is a list of television-related events in 1980.

For the American TV schedule, see: 1980-81 American network television schedule.



  • January 25 – Black Entertainment Television launches in the United States as a block of programming on the USA Network; it wouldn't be until 1983 that BET becomes a full fledged channel.
  • February 1 – The soap opera Love of Life airs its last episode, after twenty-nine years on the air.
  • February 3 and 10 – Bob Hope's Overseas Christmas Tours, a two-part six-hour retrospective of Bob Hope's more than 30 years of entertaining at military bases and hospitals in the U.S. and abroad, airs on NBC.
  • February 14 – Walter Cronkite announces his retirement from the CBS Evening News.
  • February 15 – New Zealand's Television One and Television Two go to air under the newly formed Television New Zealand.
  • March 7 – Colour television was introduced in Portugal.
  • March 21 – On the season finale of Dallas, J.R. Ewing is shot by an unseen assailant leading to the catchphrase "Who Shot JR?".
  • April 4 – Violet Carson makes her last appearance as Ena Sharples on Coronation Street.
  • April 7 – The Oldest Living Graduate, a live drama on NBC, is broadcast; the network hadn't aired a program like it since 1962. The production is aired from Southern Methodist University and stars Henry Fonda, George Grizzard, and Cloris Leachman.
  • May 24 – The Not Ready For Prime Time Players appear in their final episode on NBC's Saturday Night Live, and many feel it is the end of an era for the venerable series.
  • June 1 – The Cable News Network (CNN) begins broadcasting.
  • June 20 – Hollywood Squares presents its 3,536th and final network telecast on NBC; it remains the second-longest-running daytime game show in the network's history, behind the original 1958–1973 run of Concentration.
  • June 23 – The David Letterman Show debuts on NBC. Letterman's humor doesn't go over well with a morning audience, and the show is soon cancelled. Letterman would go on to host a late night show two years later.
  • June 30 – The ABC game show Family Feud moves from airing at 11:30 am/ET to 12 noon. It is one of the few shows that survived in the 12 noon timeslot considering the fact that many shows that were slated for the noon timeslot on the networks were subject to being pre-empted for local news broadcasts in many markets.
  • SummerSAG and AFTRA go out on strike, effecting television programmes in the United States and Canada forever. Some television shows were permitted to begin airing in late October while many Canadian shows were held back until well into April 1982.
  • July 18 – Brazil's Rede Tupi network ends operations.
  • August 1 – After a failed experiment, the soap opera Another World airs its last regularly scheduled ninety-minute episode. The show returns to sixty minutes on August 4.
  • August 1 – Cinemax launched, broadcasting movies 24/7.
  • October 24 – On United Nations Day, multicultural television debuts in Australia, courtesy of the Special Broadcasting Service.
  • November 15 – [[Saturday Night Live]] debuts with a new cast and new writers under the reins of new Executive Producer Jean Doumanian.
  • November 21 – The mystery of "Who Shot J.R.?" is solved on the soap opera series, Dallas. (Sue Ellen's sister Kristin, played by Mary Crosby, did the deed), drawing a record number of viewers.
  • November 22 – Eddie Murphy debuts on Saturday Night Live, appearing in a non-speaking role in the sketch, "In Search Of The Negro Republican"
  • December 8 – Howard Cosell announces the murder of former Beatle John Lennon in the closing seconds of a Monday Night Football game.
  • December 9 – The cult single drama The Flipside of Dominick Hide is first broadcast as part of the Play for Today series on BBC1.
  • December 12 – The burial of John Lennon takes place. It is strictly a private matter and none of the other Beatles attends.
  • December 30 – After 26 years on the air and 20 seasons on one network, NBC announces that the longest-running prime-time TV series, Disney's Wonderful World, will not be on the network's fall 1981 schedule. It will be picked up by CBS.
  • CBS's top-rated show, spin-off of All in the Family, The Jeffersons, ranks at #3 on the Nielsen Ratings for three seasons in a row: 1979–80, 1980–81 and 1981–82.



Television shows





Ending this year

Date Show Debut
February 1 Love of Life 1951
March 26 The Ultraman 1979
April 26 Hawaii Five-O 1968
April 30 Hello, Larry 1979
June 20 High Rollers 1974
Hollywood Squares 1966
June 27 The $20,000 Pyramid
July 25 The Rockford Files 1974
August 28 Nobody's Perfect 1980
September 4 Barnaby Jones 1973
October 23 Angie 1979
Dinah! 1974
Armchair Thriller 1978
Magpie 1968


Date Name Cinematic Notability
January 12 Lucy Gaskell English actress
January 30 Wilmer Valderrama US actor
February 12 Christina Ricci US actress
March 7 Laura Prepon US actress
April 1 Randy Orton Pro wrestler
July 10 Jessica Simpson singer
August 26 Macaulay Culkin actor
October 13 Ashanti singer and actress
October 17 Justin Shenkarow voice actor ("Harold Berman" from Hey Arnold!)
November 12 Ryan Gosling actor
December 18 Christina Aguilera singer and child actress (Mickey Mouse Club)
December 25 Laura Sadler British actress


Date Name Age Cinematic Notability
January 29 Jimmy Durante 86 US actor and singer
February 13 David Janssen 48 US actor
February 27 George Tobias 78 US actor (Bewitched and The Waltons)
March 5 Jay Silverheels 67 US actor (born in Canada)
April 29 Alfred Hitchcock 80 UK-born film director and TV host
July 24 Peter Sellers 54 UK comedian and actor
August 14 Dorothy Stratten 20 Canadian actress and Playboy model
September 12 Lillian Randolph 81 US actress (Amos 'n' Andy)

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