1985 in American television

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For the American TV schedule, see: 1985-86 United States network television schedule.

The year 1985 involved some significant events. Below is a list of television-related events of that year.

Events[edit]

Date Event
January 1 Channel VH1 begins in the United States.
February 4 NBC becomes the first commercial television network to use satellite interconnection for its stations; as a result, it is the first network to discontinue use of chime intonations at the beginning of each telecast, to signal to its affiliates to start broadcasting the network feed.
March 2 The NBC situation comedy Gimme a Break! broadcasts an episode live.
March 20 Norman Lear sells Tandem Productions and Embassy Television companies to The Coca-Cola Company, which also owns Columbia Pictures company, for $485 million.
April 28 WLIG commences broadcasting. (The call letters would change to WLNY-TV on September 1, 1996)
May 11 The first episode of Saturday Night's Main Event is broadcast by NBC, the first time that professional wrestling had been broadcast by the network television since the 1950s.
May 15 The season finale of Dynasty sees the entire wedding party of Amanda Carrington (Catherine Oxenberg) and Prince Michael of Moldavia (Michael Praed) shot by revolutionaries in what is known as the Moldavian Massacre
May 17 The season finale of Dallas finds character Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) on his deathbed after his crazed ex-sister-in-law Katherine Wentworth (Morgan Brittany) runs him down with her car.
May 19 WOIO-TV commences broadcasting in Cleveland.
June 14 ABC broadcasts its last daytime episode of Family Feud after nine years. Richard Dawson gives an emotional speech at the end of the broadcast. Dawson would return to the series during 1994 for one more season. Also, Press Your Luck broadcasts the episode in which all three contestants would be invited back after a mistake on a question about the cartoon character Sylvester was corrected by Mel Blanc telephoning Peter Tomarken at the end of the show.
July 1 Nick at Nite, a nighttime program sequence with an emphasis on classic television reruns, is initiated in the United States, being broadcast in the channel frequency range of Nickelodeon. At the same time, the network A&E, which previously shared channel frequency with Nickelodeon, began broadcasting as its own 24-hour cable channel by a separate satellite transponder.
July 13 The Live Aid concerts are broadcast from London and Philadelphia. In the U.S., the concerts are broadcast by MTV and over-the-air syndication, with ABC joining in a 3-hour prime-time time period.
July 22 Douglas Marland starts his critically acclaimed eight-year run writing for the series As the World Turns.
August 19 A taping of an outdoor interview for NBC's program Today is interrupted by David Letterman, who, while taping his own Late Night, leans out of an office window and announces, "My name is Larry Grossman (then-president of NBC News) and I'm not wearing any pants!"
September 2 NBC becomes the first broadcast network in the U.S. to broadcast its prime time programs with stereo sound.
September 14 In part one of a three-part season premiere of The Facts of Life, Edna's Edibles, which had been the main locale of the long-running series since 1983, is burned to the ground. Edna Garrett and the girls would rebuild and replace it with an ice cream and gift shop named Over Our Heads.
September 18 "Top Ten Things That Almost Rhyme With Peas" is the subject of the first "Top 10 List" on Late Night with David Letterman.
September 22 The first Farm Aid concert is telecast from Champaign, Illinois, in syndication and by the network TNN.
September 23 Jackie Gleason and Art Carney reunite in the CBS movie Izzy and Moe.
November 8 The final episode of The Price is Right with Johnny Olson as announcer is broadcast by CBS. Olson had died on October 12; the show was broadcast as an "in memoriam" tribute to him on October 29.
November 9 The series Saturday Night Live begins its 11th season, with Lorne Michaels returning as executive producer and an all-new cast that includes Jon Lovitz and Dennis Miller.
November 17 Kane & Abel, a miniseries based on the bestselling Jeffrey Archer novel, debuts on CBS television.
November 18 Elmo, a new character for Sesame Street, is introduced. In the same episode, the adult cast of Sesame Street come face-to-face with Aloysius Snuffleupagus for the first time since the character's 1971 introduction.
December 3 Copacabana, an original musical featuring Barry Manilow (based on his 1978 song of the same name), Annette O'Toole, and Estelle Getty, is broadcast by CBS.
Actress Courteney Cox uses the word "period" (referring to menstruation) on U.S. television for the first time, in a commercial for Tampax brand tampons.

Debuts[edit]

Date Show Network
January 7 Time Machine NBC
January 23 ThunderCats Syndicated
March 1 Michael Nesmith in Television Parts NBC
March 3 Moonlighting ABC
March 4 Robotech Syndicated
March 15 Mr. Belvedere ABC
March 30 CBS Storybreak CBS
April 7 National Geographic Explorer Nickelodeon
April 10 Lady Blue ABC
May 10 WWF Saturday Night's Main Event NBC
June 3 Larry King Live CNN
June 30 Code of Vengeance NBC
July 14 Stingray
August 13 West 57th CBS
September 4 Hell Town NBC
September 7 Star Wars: Droids ABC
Star Wars: Ewoks
Small Wonder Syndicated
What's Happening Now!!
September 14 227 NBC
The Golden Girls
It's Punky Brewster
Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears
The Berenstain Bears CBS
Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling
Jim Henson's Little Muppet Monsters
The Wuzzles
The Care Bears Syndicated
September 16 Break the Bank
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
September 18 Charlie & Co. CBS
The Equalizer
George Burns Comedy Week
Stir Crazy
September 20 Spenser: For Hire ABC
September 21 Hollywood Beat
Lime Street
September 24 Growing Pains
September 29 MacGyver
Amazing Stories NBC
October 4 Misfits of Science
October 6 Jem Syndicated
November 20 The Colbys ABC
November 21 Shadow Chasers
December 11 Mary CBS
Foley Square

Programs[edit]

Returning this year[edit]

Show Last aired Previous network Retitled as/Same New/Returning/Same network Return date
The Jetsons 1963 ABC Same Syndication September 16
The Twilight Zone 1964 CBS Same September 27
Making a Living 1982 ABC It's a Living Syndication September 28
Alfred Hitchcock Presents 1965 NBC Same Same September 29

Ending this year[edit]

Date Show Debut
February 1 Call to Glory 1984
February 8 The Dukes of Hazzard 1979
February 23 It's Your Move 1984
March 19 Alice 1976
March 22 V 1984
April 9 Three's a Crowd
April 19 Off the Rack 1985
May 8 Sara
May 14 Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids 1972
May 16 Street Hawk 1985
June 14 Family Feud 1976
June 25 The Jeffersons 1975
June 28 Robotech 1985
July 6 Cover Up 1984
July 20 Hail to the Chief 1985
August 1 Battle of the Planets 1978
August 31 Super Friends 1973
December 7 The Wuzzles 1985
December 27 Glitter 1984

Changes of network affiliation[edit]

Show Moved from Moved to
Diff'rent Strokes NBC ABC

Miniseries[edit]

Births[edit]

Date Name Notability
July 2 Ashley Tisdale Actress (Phineas and Ferb)
October 11 Michelle Trachtenberg Actress (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
December 5 Frankie Muniz Actor (Malcolm in the Middle)

Deaths[edit]

Date Name Age Notability
February 12 Nicholas Colasanto 61 Actor (Coach Ernie Pantusso on Cheers)
February 28 Charita Bauer 63 Soap opera actress (Bert Bauer on Guiding Light)
May 8 Dolph Sweet 64 Actor (Chief Carl Kanisky on Gimme a Break!)
May 13 Selma Diamond 65 Actress (Selma Hacker on Night Court)
August 2 Bob Holt 56 Voice actor
October 2 Rock Hudson 60 Actor (McMillan & Wife)
October 12 Johnny Olson 75 Game show announcer (The Price Is Right)
November 1 Phil Silvers 74 Actor, comedian (You'll Never Get Rich)
November 29 Bill Scott 65 Voice actor (Bullwinkle J. Moose)
December 31 Ricky Nelson 45 Actor (The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet), musician