1981–82 United States network television schedule

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This was the television schedule on all three commercial broadcast television networks in the United States for the fall season beginning in September 1981. All times are Eastern and Pacific, with certain exceptions, such as Monday Night Football.

New series are highlighted in bold.

Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its rank and rating as determined by Nielsen Media Research.[1]

     Yellow indicates the programs in the top 10 for the season.
     Cyan indicates the programs in the top 20 for the season.
     Magenta indicates the programs in the top 30 for the season.

Note: A Writers' Guild of America strike hindered the ability to start airing shows in a timely manner. The shows in the schedule were the first to air new episodes in their respective time periods as they bowed in between September and early December. The debut month for each new series that had been intended for a fall premiere is noted as to when it actually appeared.

PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, was in operation but the schedule was set by each local station.

Sunday[edit]

Network 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Code Red (Nov.) Today's F.B.I. (Oct.) The ABC Sunday Night Movie (22/19.5)
CBS 60 Minutes (2/27.7) Archie Bunker's Place (12/21.6) One Day at a Time (10/22.0) Alice (5/22.7) The Jeffersons (3/23.4) Trapper John, M.D. (15/21.1)
NBC Local CHiPs NBC Sunday Night at the Movies (Oct.)

Note : On NBC, The Powers of Matthew Star was supposed to have aired 7-8 p.m., starting December 6, but production difficulties forced its delay into the next season.

Monday[edit]

Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall That's Incredible! (28/18.4) Monday Night Football (11/21.8)
Winter ABC Monday Night Movie (8/22.5)
Summer Best of the West Monday Night Baseball
CBS Fall Private Benjamin The Two of Us M*A*S*H (9/22.3) House Calls (23/19.2) Lou Grant
Winter Mr. Merlin Private Benjamin
Spring Private Benjamin Report to Murphy Making the Grade
Summer WKRP in Cincinnati House Calls
Follow-up Filthy Rich
NBC Little House on the Prairie (24/19.1) NBC Monday Night at the Movies

Tuesday[edit]

Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Happy Days (18/20.6) Laverne & Shirley (20/19.9) Three's Company (4/23.3) Too Close for Comfort (6/22.6) Hart to Hart (15/21.1)
Spring Joanie Loves Chachi
CBS Preliminary Local The CBS Tuesday Night Movies
Fall Simon & Simon (Nov.)
NBC Preliminary NBC Tuesday Night at the Movies Local
Fall Father Murphy (Nov.) Bret Maverick (Dec.) Flamingo Road
Spring Bret Maverick Flamingo Road Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters
Follow-up Various
Summer Cassie & Company Flamingo Road
Follow-up Father Murphy Bret Maverick McClain's Law

Note: On ABC, Joanie Loves Chachi premiered March 23, 1982 at 8:30 pm, in place of Laverne & Shirley.

Wednesday[edit]

Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Preliminary The Greatest American Hero Specials Dynasty (19/20.2)
Fall The Fall Guy (Nov.) (26/19.0)
CBS Preliminary Mr. Merlin (Oct.) WKRP in Cincinnati The CBS Wednesday Night Movies
Fall Nurse Shannon (Nov.)
Spring Herbie, The Love Bug
NBC Real People (21/19.7) The Facts of Life (24/19.1) Love, Sidney (Oct.) Quincy, M.E.

Thursday[edit]

Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Mork & Mindy Best of the West (Sep.) Bosom Buddies (Oct.) Taxi 20/20
Follow-up Barney Miller (Nov.)
Summer Darkroom
CBS Preliminary Magnum, P.I. Nurse Knots Landing (17/20.9)
Fall Knots Landing Jessica Novak (Nov.)
NBC Harper Valley Lewis & Clark (Oct.) Diff'rent Strokes Gimme a Break! (Oct.) Hill Street Blues (27/18.6)

Note: On CBS, Nurse aired at 9-10 p.m. and Knots Landing at 10-11 p.m., both in September and October. On ABC, Bosom Buddies aired at 9-9:30 p.m. in October.

Friday[edit]

Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Benson Bosom Buddies Darkroom (Nov.) Strike Force (Nov.)
CBS Fall The Incredible Hulk The Dukes of Hazzard (6/22.6) Dallas (1/28.4)
Winter The Dukes of Hazzard Dallas Falcon Crest (13/21.4)
NBC Fall NBC Magazine McClain's Law (Nov.) Local
Winter Cassie & Company
Follow-up Movie
Spring Jokebook Chicago Story McClain's Law
Summer Cassie & Company

Saturday[edit]

Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Maggie (Oct.) Making a Living The Love Boat (14/21.2) Fantasy Island (30/18.3)
Follow-up Open All Night (Nov.)
Winter King's Crossing
Spring T.J. Hooker (28/18.4)
CBS Walt Disney The CBS Saturday Night Movies
NBC Fall Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters Various
Follow-up Harper Valley PTA Lewis & Clark Television: Inside and Out
Winter One of the Boys Harper Valley PTA Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour
Follow-up Chicago Story McClain's Law
Spring Harper Valley PTA One of the Boys Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters NBC Magazine
Summer One of the Boys Harper Valley PTA NBC Saturday Night at the Movies

Note: On ABC, Maggie was replaced by Open All Night, effective November 28; King's Crossing, which was supposed to have aired 8-9 p.m., was delayed until February, 1982, as an indirect result of the Writers Guild of America strike.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Highest-rated series is based on the annual top-rated programs list compiled by Nielsen Media Research and reported in: Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.