1998 in American television

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The following is a list of events affecting American television during 1998. Events listed include television series debuts, finales, cancellations, and channel initiations, closures and rebrandings, as well as information about controversies and disputes.

Events[edit]

Date Event
January 5 An affiliation swap occurs in Sacramento, California: KMAX-TV switches its affiliation to UPN after its purchase by Paramount Stations Group, while KMAX's affiliation with The WB transfers to KQCA.
January 12 CBS acquires the AFC set of NFL games in a $4 billion, eight-year contract; the transfer is combined with renewals by Fox and ABC (Super Bowl XXXII, broadcast on January 25, would be NBC's last NFL game until 2006).
Super Ball! makes its debut on The Price Is Right.
March 29 BBC Worldwide initiates BBC America as a digital cable and satellite channel.
April 9 The Price Is Right broadcasts its 5,000th episode on CBS. On the show, every pricing game is played for a car, something Price has never done before. It would be repeated only once since then.
April 18 Cable network Toon Disney is initiated – devoted to carrying animated series and movies 24 hours a day, owned and produced by The Walt Disney Company
April 24 A second special episode of Dallas is broadcast by CBS seven years after the original series finished, titled Dallas: War of the Ewings.
May 11 ZDTV, a technology-based cable channel, is initiated.
May 14 76.3 million people watch the series finale of Seinfeld.
May 28 Former Saturday Night Live actor and comedian Phil Hartman, then featuring on the NBC sitcom NewsRadio, is shot and killed by his wife (who then kills herself).
June 1 Discovery Home and Leisure debuts.
June 29 Lifetime Movie Network, a movie channel from Lifetime debuts.
August 15 More than a year after its acquisition by News Corporation's Fox Kids Worldwide, Inc., The Family Channel is re-initiated as Fox Family Channel, with the network now targeting a younger family-oriented audience than that of its predecessor.
A pre-season football game in Vancouver, British Columbia between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks is CBS's first NFL football broadcast since January 1994.
August 31 Pax-TV, a family-oriented broadcast network owned by Paxson Communications, is initiated (since 2007 has been known as Ion Television).
September 14 The revived edition of Hollywood Squares resumes syndication.
October 4 UPN adds two additional nights of programming to its schedule with primetime series added to Friday nights, including a movie block on Thursday nights.

Programs[edit]

Debuts[edit]

Date Show Network
January 1 A Baby Story TLC
January 3 A Place of Our Own PBS
January 5 The Charlie Horse Music Pizza PTV
January 8 Crime Stories Court TV
WCW Thunder TBS
January 9 Kids Say the Darndest Things CBS
January 20 Dawson's Creek The WB
January 26 Special Report with Bret Baier Fox News Channel
February 1 Fox & Friends
February 6 Power Rangers in Space Fox Kids
February 28 Bug Juice Disney Channel
March 10 Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place ABC
Weather Center The Weather Channel
March 15 PB&J Otter Playhouse Disney
March 17 For Your Love NBC
LateLine
March 24 True Life MTV
April 2 World's Wildest Police Videos Fox
April 4 CatDog Nickelodeon
April 6 Teletubbies PTV
April 13 The Love Boat: The Next Wave UPN
May 11 Call for Help ZDTV
Internet Tonight
The Screen Savers
Silicon Spin
May 14 Celebrity Deathmatch MTV
June 1 The Challenge
Sailor Moon Cartoon Network
June 6 Sex and the City HBO
Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford Syndication
June 8 Invasion America The WB
June 11 Forgive or Forget Syndication
June 22 Faux Pause GSN
July 4 GameSpot TV ZDTV
July 13 The Sifl and Olly Show MTV
July 19 Oh Yeah! Cartoons Nickelodeon
August 1 Linc's Showtime
August 5 Whose Line Is It Anyway? ABC
August 18 Maggie Lifetime
August 23 That 70's Show Fox
Holding the Baby
August 26 Oh Baby Lifetime
August 31 Hercules: The Animated Series Disney's One Saturday Morning
The Reel to Reel Picture Show PAX TV
September 1 Book TV C-SPAN2
NFL Live ESPN2
The Wild Thornberrys Nickelodeon
September 5 The Secret Files of the Spy Dogs Fox Kids
September 6 It's a Miracle PAX TV
September 7 The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog Fox Kids
September 8 Pokémon Kids' WB/Syndication
September 9 First Wave Sci-Fi Channel
September 11 Living in Captivity Fox
September 12 Godzilla: The Series Fox Kids
Mad Jack the Pirate
The Mr. Potato Head Show
Young Hercules
September 13 The Army Show The WB
September 14 Histeria! Kids' WB
Judge Joe Brown Syndication
The Roseanne Show
Total Request Live MTV
September 19 Anatole CBS Kidshow
Dumb Bunnies
Mythic Warriors
September 21 The Brian Benben Show CBS
The King of Queens
L.A. Doctors
Donny & Marie Syndication
Felicity The WB
Hyperion Bay
Conrad Bloom NBC
Will and Grace
September 22 Encore! Encore!
The Hughleys ABC
Sports Night
September 23 The Secret Lives of Men
September 24 Jesse NBC
September 25 Buddy Faro CBS
Brother's Keeper ABC
Two of a Kind
September 26 Cupid
Martial Law CBS
V.I.P. Syndication
September 28 The Cut MTV
September 29 Vengeance Unlimited ABC
September 30 The Secret Lives of Men
Maggie Winters CBS
To Have & to Hold
October 2 Friday Night Fights ESPN2
Off the Wall Disney Channel
October 3 Birdz CBS Kidshow
Flying Rhino Junior High
Franklin
Mortal Kombat: Konquest Syndication
October 4 Air America
October 5 Inquizition GSN
Noddy PTV
DiResta UPN
Guys Like Us
The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer
October 6 Mercy Point
October 7 Charmed The WB
Out of the Box Playhouse Disney
Seven Days UPN
October 9 Legacy
October 10 Raging Planet Discovery Channel
Brats of the Lost Nebula Kid's WB
October 11 Malibu, CA Syndication
October 16 Trinity NBC
October 17 Wind on Water
October 20 The FBI Files Discovery Channel
October 23 Brimstone Fox
October 25 The Famous Jett Jackson Disney Channel
October 27 Reunited UPN
November 2 Becker CBS
Jay Jay the Jet Plane TLC
November 7 Little Men PAX TV
November 8 A Little Curious HBO
November 18 The Powerpuff Girls Cartoon Network
December 1 Comedy Central Presents Comedy Central
December 26 Rolie Polie Olie Playhouse Disney

Ending this year[edit]

Date Show Debut
January 1 Living Single 1993
January 22 Union Square 1997
January 31 Spider-Man 1994
February 17 Grace Under Fire 1993
February 23 Teen Angel 1997
March 20 Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation
May 14 Seinfeld 1989
May 16 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman 1993
Unsolved Mysteries 1987
May 18 Murphy Brown 1988
Team Knight Rider 1997
May 19 Good News
May 31 The Larry Sanders Show 1992
June 12 Geraldo 1987
June 15 Dexter's Laboratory (returned in 2001) 1996
June 20 Bill Nye the Science Guy 1993
June 23 You Wish 1997
June 26 Step by Step 1991
July 13 Cybill 1995
July 17 Family Matters 1989
July 18 Timecop 1997
July 25 Weird Science 1994
September 3 The Statler Brothers Show 1991
October 2 Wishbone 1995
November 6 Trinity 1998
November 16 Goosebumps 1995
November 21 Power Rangers in Space 1998
November 25 Babylon 5 1994
December 4 The Puzzle Place 1995
December 31 This Week in Baseball 1977

Returning[edit]

Show Last aired Previous network New/Returning network Date of return
The NFL Today 1994 CBS Same September 6
Hollywood Squares 1989 Syndication September 14
Match Game 1991 ABC Syndication September 21

Change of network affiliation[edit]

Show Moved from Moved to
For Your Love NBC The WB
The Magic School Bus PTV Fox Kids
Sailor Moon USA Network Cartoon Network
Dragon Ball Z Syndication
Flipper PAX


Deaths[edit]

Date Name Age Notability
January 5 Sonny Bono 62 Singer and entertainer (The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour)
January 21 Jack Lord 77 Actor (Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O)
February 19 Grandpa Jones 84 Comedian and musician (Hee Haw)
February 23 Philip Abbott 74 Actor (The F.B.I.)
February 28 Dermot Morgan 45 Actor (Father Ted)
March 10 Lloyd Bridges 85 Actor (Mike Nelson on Sea Hunt)
April 17 Linda McCartney 56 Musician (guest star on The Simpsons) (Paul McCartney's wife)
May 28 Phil Hartman 49 Actor, comedian (Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, NewsRadio)
July 6 Roy Rogers 86 Actor (The Roy Rogers Show)
July 21 Robert Young 91 Actor (Father Knows Best, Marcus Welby, M.D.)
July 30 Buffalo Bob Smith 80 Children's show host (Howdy Doody)
August 6 Shari Lewis 65 Puppeteer (Lamb Chop's Play-Along)
September 23 Mary Frann 55 Actress (Joanna on Newhart)
October 3 Roddy McDowall 70 Actor (Tales of the Gold Monkey)
October 17 Joan Hickson 92 Actress (Agatha Christie's Miss Marple)
November 17 Esther Rolle 78 Actress (Florida on Maude and Good Times)
Dick O'Neill 70 Actor (Family Matters, Home Improvement)
December 6 Michael Zaslow 56 Actor (Roger Thorpe on Guiding Light)
December 13 Lew Grade 91 Producer and TV station owner
December 14 Norman Fell 74 Actor (Stanley Roper on Three's Company)
December 22 Michelle Thomas 30 Actress (Myra on Family Matters, Justine on The Cosby Show)
December 28 Richard Paul 58 Actor (Carter Country, Match Game)