1976 in American television

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This is a list of American television-related events in 1976.


Date Event
January 1 NBC officially replaces its snake and peacock logos with a "modern N," composed of blue and red trapezoids—and nearly identical to the logo for Nebraska Educational Telecommunications' TV network, prompting NET to sue NBC for trademark infringement.
January 11–12 Eleanor and Franklin, a two-part miniseries starring Jane Alexander and Edward Herrmann, airs on ABC.
January 17 The Blues Brothers make their debut on NBC's Saturday Night Live, singing Slim Harpo's song "I'm a King Bee" in their Killer Bees costumes. Their first appearance as The Blues Brothers proper occurred in 1978.
February 1 The miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man debuts on ABC, becoming a critical and ratings success over its 12-episode run.
February 2 Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows, and Art Carney reunite in an ABC special, The Honeymooners – The Second Honeymoon.
February 19 CBS affiliate KXLY-TV in Spokane, Washington is given a "notice of termination" by the network, stripping KXLY-TV of its affiliation effective August 19. CBS cites business reasons (KXLY-TV had been airing several network programs out of pattern in recent years) as the reason they stripped KXLY-TV. In the end, CBS decides to affiliate with ABC affiliate KREM-TV, while KXLY-TV joins ABC. The move takes effect August 8 at the request of KREM-TV, who wanted to air ABC Sports' entire coverage of the 1976 Summer Olympics.[1][2][3][4][5]
February 29 The movie The Sound of Music is televised for the first time, on ABC.
CBS affiliates KRSD-TV in Rapid City, South Dakota and KDSJ-TV in Lead both shut down after a 5-year struggle over their unsatisfactory technical operations, which had rendered complaints from viewers, NBC (its former affiliation before 1970), and the Federal Communications Commission. Dakota Broadcasting Company assumes a construction permit for new stations on KRSD-TV's channel 7 and KDSJ-TV's channel 5, which respectively sign-on as KEVN and KIVV-TV on July 11. This in turn will give the Rapid City area its first full-time ABC affiliate (A full-time CBS affiliate will return to Rapid City in 1981 when the network's Sioux Falls affiliate KELO-TV signs-on translator station K15AC (now KCLO-TV)).[6][7][8][9][10]
April 1–2 Helter Skelter, a two-part adaptation of Vincent Bugliosi's book about the Charles Manson case, airs on CBS, with Steve Railsback portraying Manson.
April 12 ABC airs its first Monday Night Baseball broadcast, taking over the package from NBC.
April 24 Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels makes an on-air offer to pay The Beatles $3,000 to reunite on the show. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were apparently watching the show together in New York City and considered walking down to the studio to accept the check. Michaels would raise his offer to $3,200 on SNL's May 22 episode.
June 7 After several years providing commentaries for the show, David Brinkley joins John Chancellor as co-anchor of NBC Nightly News, an attempt by the network to bolster ratings against the CBS Evening News and to harken back to the success it had with The Huntley-Brinkley Report.
July 1 The pay TV network Showtime makes its debut, appearing only on a Dublin, California cable system. The network would expand nationally in 1978.
July 4 U.S. television networks present extensive coverage of nationwide events commemorating the country's bicentennial.
July 12 Family Feud premieres on ABC and would become daytime television's number 1 game show within the next few years and beyond.
September 6 In an experiment, New York City station WOR-TV replaces its normal programming for 5 exclusive nights of British shows from Thames Television.
September 16 WECA-TV in Tallahassee, Florida begins broadcasting, giving the Tallahassee market its first full-time ABC affiliate.
September 23 The first of three debates between U.S. presidential candidates Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter air in prime time; they are the first debates between major party nominees for U.S. President since 1960.
October 4 Newly arrived from NBC, Barbara Walters joins Harry Reasoner as co-anchor of the ABC Evening News. The pair have a noticeable lack of on-air chemistry, and by 1978 Reasoner would leave ABC to return to CBS and 60 Minutes.
October 11 Jane Pauley makes her debut on NBC's Today.
October 29 WGTQ in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan signs-on as a full satellite of ABC affiliate WGTU in Traverse City, bringing the full ABC schedule to the Eastern Upper Peninsula.
November 7–8 The film Gone with the Wind makes its broadcast television debut on NBC; it would be the highest-rated program ever aired on a single network, only to be surpassed by Roots the following January.
November 9 The Museum of Broadcasting opens on the first 3 floors of the Paley Foundation building in New York City. The museum would later be renamed The Paley Center for Media.
December 14 Barbara Walters airs her first interview special for ABC, with guests Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Barbra Streisand, and Jon Peters.
December 17 At 1:00 p.m. (ET), Atlanta, Georgia station WTCG-TV begins satellite transmission of its regular programming to four cable systems, thus becoming the first superstation.
December 31 President Gerald Ford presents the last of the Bicentennial Minutes on CBS; the vignettes had been airing nightly on the network since July 4, 1974.
Also in 1976 CBS' Match Game is the #1 rated game show on daytime television for the fourth consecutive year.
Matsushita introduces the VHS home video cassette recorder to compete with Sony's Betamax system.


^[e] signifies that this show has a related event in the Events section above.


Date Show Network
January 13 The Adams Chronicles PBS
January 14 The Bionic Woman ABC
January 21 Dance in America PBS
January 27 Laverne & Shirley ABC
January 28 The Dumplings NBC
January 30 The Practice
February 13 Sara CBS
March 9 Family ABC
May 31 Viva Valdez
June 14 The Gong Show NBC
July 12 Family Feud ABC
August 5 What's Happening!!
August 14 Clue Club CBS
August 30 New Howdy Doody Show Syndication
August 31 Alice CBS
September 6 In Search of... Syndication
September 9 Delvecchio CBS
September 11 Ark II
Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle
Way Out Games
Big John, Little John NBC
The Kids From C.A.P.E.R.
McDuff, the Talking Dog
Monster Squad
Jabberjaw ABC
The Krofft Supershow
The Mumbly Cartoon Show
The Scooby-Doo Show
The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour
September 17 Spencer's Pilots CBS
September 19 Cos ABC
September 20 All's Fair CBS
The Muppet Show Syndication
September 21 Rich Man, Poor Man Book II ABC
Baa Baa Black Sheep NBC
September 22 The Quest
Ball Four CBS
Charlie's Angels ABC
September 23 The Tony Randall Show
Gemini Man NBC
September 24 Serpico
September 25 Holmes & Yo-Yo ABC
Mr. T and Tina
September 30 The Nancy Walker Show
October 3 Quincy, M.E. NBC
October 4 50 Grand Slam
October 16 Most Wanted ABC
November 11 Gibbsville NBC
December 1 C.P.O. Sharkey
The McLean Stevenson Show
Sirota's Court
December 6 The Feather and Father Gang ABC
December 13 Double Dare CBS

Ending this year[edit]

Date Show Debut
March 3 Cannon 1971
March 30 The Rookies 1972
March 31 The Dumplings 1976
April 29 Harry O 1974
May 7 Sara 1976
July 29 Marcus Welby, M.D. 1969
September 6 Medical Center
Viva Valdez 1976
October 28 Gemini Man
December 18 Jabberjaw
December 30 Gibbsville


Date Name Notability
January 6 Danny Pintauro Actor (Who's the Boss?)
January 8 Josh Meyers Actor (That '70s Show)
January 15 Meredith Bishop Actress (The Secret World of Alex Mack)
January 23 Tony Lucca Actor (Mickey Mouse Club, Malibu Shores)
February 23 Kelly Macdonald Scottish actress (Boardwalk Empire)
February 25 Rashida Jones Actress (Parks and Recreation)
February 28 Ali Larter Actress (Heroes, Legends)
March 13 Danny Masterson Actor (That '70s Show)
March 19 Rachel Blanchard Canadian actress (Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Clueless, 7th Heaven)
March 22 Reese Witherspoon Actress (Return to Lonesome Dove)
March 23 Keri Russell Actress (Mickey Mouse Club, Felicity)
March 26 Amy Smart Actress (Felicity)
March 30 Jessica Cauffiel Actress
April 6 Candace Cameron Actress (Full House, Fuller House)
April 7 Kevin Alejandro Actor
April 18 Melissa Joan Hart Actress (Clarissa Explains it All, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Melissa & Joey)
April 20 Joey Lawrence Actor (Gimme a Break!, Blossom, Brotherly Love, Melissa & Joey)
May 10 Rhona Bennett Singer and actress (Mickey Mouse Club)
June 5 Marc Worden Actor (Mickey Mouse Club), voice-over actor (Iron Man)
June 23 Emmanuelle Vaugier Canadian actress (One Tree Hill, CSI: NY, Two and a Half Men)
July 3 Andrea Barber Actress (Full House, Fuller House)
July 9 Fred Savage Actor and director (The Wonder Years)
July 15 Diane Kruger Actress (The Bridge)
July 19 Vinessa Shaw Actress
August 6 Melissa George Actress (Alias)
Soleil Moon Frye Actress (Punky Brewster)
August 8 JC Chasez Actor (Mickey Mouse Club) and singer (*NSYNC)
August 9 Jessica Capshaw Actress (The Practice, Grey's Anatomy) and stepdaughter of Steven Spielberg
August 11 Will Friedle Actor (Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World), voice actor (Kim Possible)
August 20 Kristen Miller Actress (USA High)
August 27 Sarah Chalke Actress (Roseanne, Scrubs)
September 5 Carice van Houten Dutch actress (Game of Thrones)
September 19 Alison Sweeney Actress and host (Days of Our Lives, The Biggest Loser)
October 1 Danielle Bisutti Actress (True Jackson, VP)
October 4 Alicia Silverstone Actress (Braceface, Miss Match)
October 11 Emily Deschanel Actress (Bones)
October 19 Desmond Harrington Actor (Dexter)
Omar Gooding Actor (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper)
October 21 Jeremy Miller Actor (Growing Pains)
October 23 Ryan Reynolds Actor (Two Guys and a Girl)
October 26 Thurop Van Orman TV writer, voice actor (The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Gravity Falls)
October 31 Piper Perabo Actress (Covert Affairs)
November 27 Jaleel White Actor (Steve Urkel on Family Matters)
November 28 Geno Segers Actor (Pair of Kings)
November 29 Anna Faris Actress (Mom)
December 5 Amy Acker Actress (Angel, Alias, Happy Town, Person of Interest)


Date Name Age Notability
August 28 Anissa Jones 18 Actress (Buffy on Family Affair)
December 12 Jack Cassidy 49 Actor (He & She)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CBS Plans to Terminate KXLY-TV Affiliation" Spokane Daily Chronicle, March 3, 1976. Retrieved: July 18, 2016.
  2. ^ "KREM-TV to Join CBS Chain" Spokane Daily Chronicle, March 29, 1976. Retrieved: July 18, 2016.
  3. ^ "On Sunday: TV Stations Switching" Spokane Daily Chronicle, August 6, 1976. Retrieved: July 18, 2016.
  4. ^ "Timing decided for TV shift" The Spokesman-Review, March 30, 1976. Retrieved: July 18, 2016.
  5. ^ ""Early Summer" – KXLY Set to Join ABC" Spokane Daily Chronicle, May 6, 1976. Retrieved: July 18, 2016.
  6. ^ "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. March 1, 1976. p. 23. Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  7. ^ "It was a bad day at Black Hills" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 8, 1971. p. 48. Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  8. ^ "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 5, 1975. p. 7. Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  9. ^ "ABC-TV adds two" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 28, 1976. p. 50. Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  10. ^ "For the Record" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 31, 1981. p. 53. Retrieved November 30, 2016.