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]

January[edit]

Date Event
5 An affiliation swap occurs in Sacramento, California: KMAX-TV switches its affiliation to UPN after being purchased by Paramount Stations Group, while The WB affiliates with KQCA.
12 CBS acquires the rights to the AFC of the NFL as part of a $4 billion, eight-year contract; Fox and ABC renew their agreements for the NFC and Monday Night Football, respectively (Super Bowl XXXII, broadcast on January 25, would be NBC's last NFL game until 2006).

March[edit]

Date Event
29 BBC Worldwide debuts BBC America.

April[edit]

Date Event
9 The Price Is Right's 5,000th episode was broadcast on CBS. On the show, every pricing game is played for a car (something Price had only done once before. It has been repeated only once since then).
11 The National Cable Television Association announces they will discontinue the CableACE awards, due to the Emmy Awards recognizing cable programming.
18 Toon Disney – devoted to carrying animated series and movies, 24 hours a day, is launched The Walt Disney Company
24 A second special episode of Dallas, Dallas: War of the Ewings, airs on CBS seven years after the original series finished.

May[edit]

Date Event
11 ZDTV, a technology-based cable channel, debuts.
14 76.3 million people watch the series finale of Seinfeld.
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[edit]

Date Event
1 Discovery Home and Leisure debuts.
29 Lifetime Movie Network, a movie channel from Lifetime debuts.

August[edit]

Date Event
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.
31 Pax TV, a family-oriented broadcast network owned by Paxson Communications, begins broadcasting. (since 2007 has been known as Ion Television)

September[edit]

Date Event
14 The revived edition of Hollywood Squares resumes syndication. Tom Bergeron served as host.

October[edit]

Date Event
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.
29 WKOW (Madison, Wisconsin) became one of the first High-definition television broadcasts in digital television.

November[edit]

Date Event
20 Nickelodeon's Hit Series Rugrats takes over the Big Screen in their first theatrical movie entitled The Rugrats Movie introducing a New character who will appear in the main series that next day.
21 Dil Pickles, from "The Rugrats Movie" becomes a main character in a new season of "Rugrats" just a day after they nearly destroyed the big screen with their biggest movie adventure.

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
April 20 Kelly Kelly The WB
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 The Howie Mandel Show
Faux Pause Game Show Network
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 Holding the Baby Fox
That 70's Show
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
Cousin Skeeter Nickelodeon
The Wild Thornberrys
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 Judge Joe Brown Syndication
The Roseanne Show
Total Request Live MTV
Histeria! Kids' WB
September 19 Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain
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 Brats of the Lost Nebula Kid's WB
Raging Planet Discovery Channel
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 9 Gullah Gullah Island 1994
January 10 Jungle Cubs 1996
January 12 Jenny 1997
January 15 The Secret World of Alex Mack 1994
January 22 Union Square 1997
January 31 Spider-Man 1994
February 9 Fired Up 1997
February 17 Grace Under Fire 1993
February 23 Bobby's World 1990
Teen Angel 1997
March 4 101 Dalmatians: The Series
March 16 George & Leo
March 20 Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation
May 3 Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher 1996
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 7 Kelly Kelly 1998
June 12 Geraldo 1987
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
August 14 The Family Channel 1990
September 3 The Statler Brothers Show 1991
October 2 Wishbone 1995
October 17 The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper 1996
October 25 The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo
November 6 Trinity 1998
November 14 Animaniacs 1993
Pinky and the Brain 1995
November 16 Goosebumps
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.)
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 2 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)
November 17 Dick O'Neill 70 Actor (Family Matters, Home Improvement)
Esther Rolle 78 Actress (Florida on Maude and Good Times)
December 6 Michael Zaslow 56 Actor (Roger Thorpe on Guiding Light)
December 14 Norman Fell 74 Actor (Stanley Roper on Three's Company)
December 22 or 23 Michelle Thomas 30 Actress (Myra on Family Matters, Justine on The Cosby Show)
December 25 Richard Paul 58 Actor (Carter Country, Match Game)