||Comedian Andy Kaufman disrupts sketches and starts a brawl while broadcasting during ABC's sketch series Fridays, an occurrence that was later disclosed to have been entirely staged.
||During an improvised segment at the end of a Saturday Night Live telecast on NBC hosted by Charlene Tilton, Charles Rocket uses the word "fuck". As a result of the ensuing controversy he is fired, along with producer Jean Doumanian and most of his fellow cast members, bringing an early end to a season that had been heavily criticized and sunk in the ratings.
||After a 19-year run, Walter Cronkite resigns as main anchorman of The CBS Evening News and is succeeded the next Monday by Dan Rather.
||An assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C., in which the President and several other people were wounded, interrupted programming on the three major networks and CNN at 2:42 PM. Millions of viewers worldwide witnessed footage of the shooting and the chaos that followed. ABC News was flooded with unconfirmed reports, which pestered the chief anchor Frank Reynolds, one of which falsely stated that the President's press secretary James Brady had died in the shooting. This was also reported by CBS News and ABC News. Coverage of the assassination attempt continued for hours on the big three networks, and for two days on CNN. As a result, the Academy Awards were postponed for a day.
||Berlinda Tolbert and Michael Jonas Evans made their final appearance as Lionel and Jenny Willis Jefferson on the CBS sitcom The Jeffersons.
||Van Halen's lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen marries actress Valerie Bertinelli, who appears on the CBS sitcom One Day at a Time.
||The Alpha Repertory Television Service (also known as ARTS) launches right after the Nickelodeon time period.
||"Weird Al" Yankovic makes his first television appearance on NBC's The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder.
||The season four finale of Dallas, entitled "Ewing-Gate", airs on CBS.
||Fred Silverman is dismissed as president of NBC, after failing to improve that network's third-place rating, and is replaced by Grant Tinker.
||Showtime ends its part-time status and inaugurates a 24/7 schedule.
||The MTV network debuts on cable television, playing music videos 24 hours a day. "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles was the first video broadcast on the network.
||In Baltimore, Maryland, CBS affiliate WMAR-TV swaps affiliations with NBC affiliate WBAL-TV, marking the first affiliation switch in that city. CBS cites weak ratings for WMAR-TV's newscasts and heavy preemptions of network programming for programs of local interest as the reason they chose to switch affiliations.
||During the course of the year, all soap operas produced by Procter & Gamble change title sequences and theme songs. On this day, new title sequences debut for Another World on NBC, Guiding Light and Search for Tomorrow, both on CBS, and The Edge of Night on ABC.
||WRGB in Schenectady, New York, NBC's first television affiliate, ends its 42-year relationship with the network (dating back to its days as experimental station W2XB) and swaps affiliations with CBS affiliate WAST, who changes its call letters to the current WNYT to mark the new affiliation.
||CBS Cable is initiated.
||The NBC soap opera The Doctors broadcasts its 5,000th episode.
||The CBS soap opera As the World Turns debuts a new opening sequence and theme song for the first time in its 25-year history.
||ESPN televises its first live flag-to-flag NASCAR race, the Atlanta Journal 500.
||The cast and crew of The Incredible Hulk are delivered a surprise: despite maintaining good ratings, The Incredible Hulk is canceled immediately, despite executive producer Kenneth Johnson's attempts to convince CBS to buy six additional episodes to fill season five.
||Luke and Laura's wedding on the ABC soap opera General Hospital becomes one of the most watched weddings in American television history, second only to the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
||NBC affiliate KARD in West Monroe, Louisiana and ABC affiliate KTVE in El Dorado, Arkansas swap affiliations.
||KJAA in Lubbock, Texas signs on the air as an independent station. It adopts its current call letters KJTV in 1985 and becomes a charter Fox affiliate the next year.
||KVEO-TV in Brownsville, Texas signs on the air, returning primary NBC service to the Rio Grande Valley market for the first time since KRGV-TV in Weslaco left the network in 1976 to become a full-time ABC affiliate.
||HBO begins broadcasting 24 hours a day full-time.
||Chuck Woolery hosts his last episode of the NBC game show Wheel of Fortune, quitting after a salary dispute with series producer and creator Merv Griffin. The next Monday, December 28, Pat Sajak begins hosting.
||Actress (My Wife and Kids)
||Actress (lonelygirl15, Grimm)
||Actress (7th Heaven)
||Actress (The Leftovers, Fargo)
||Actor (Tron: Uprising)
||Singer (NSYNC) and actor (The Mickey Mouse Club, frequent Saturday Night Live host)
||Actress and TV personality (Attack of the Show!, The Morning After, Battleground)
||Actor (Tommy Solomon on 3rd Rock from the Sun)
||Heiress and TV personality (The Simple Life)
||Bryce Dallas Howard
||Actress (HitRecord on TV) and daughter of Ron Howard
||Actress (Dead Like Me)
||Bethany Joy Lenz
||Actress (Guiding Light, One Tree Hill) and singer
||Actress (Scrubs, Happy Endings, Benched)
||Actor (Friday Night Lights)
||Actress (Harry and the Hendersons, Boston Public)
||Actress (Dark Angel)
||Actress (Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World)
||Actor (Black Sails, The 100)
||Actress (The Sopranos)
||Canadian actress (Power Rangers S.P.D.)
||Actor (Just Jordan)
||Actress and comedian (Inside Amy Schumer)
||Actor (Flight 29 Down)
||Actress (The Secret World of Alex Mack, Winx Club)
||Actress (Saturday Night Live host in 2006)
||Actress (As the World Turns, Blue Bloods)
||Actress (All My Children, Days of Our Lives, Youthful Daze)
||Actress (Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Sequestered)
||Actress (Tower Prep)
||Actress and video blogger (Rocketboom)
||Actress (All My Children, Burning Love, Rectify)
||Actress (Cousin Skeeter)
||Actress (Beyond the Break)
||Chad Michael Murray
||Actor (Gilmore Girls, Dawson's Creek, One Tree Hill, Chosen, Agent Carter)
||Actress (The O.C., Hart of Dixie)
||Australian actor (Beauty & the Beast)
||Singer and actress
||Jonathan Taylor Thomas
||Actor (Home Improvement)
||Argentine-American actress (Veronica Mars, Eli Stone, Dallas)
||Actor (Parks and Recreation, House of Lies, Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja)
||Actress (Gilmore Girls)
||Actress and sister of Ashley Tisdale
||Zachery Ty Bryan
||Actor (Home Improvement)
||Brian J. Smith
||Actor (Stargate Universe)
||Actress (Missing, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice)
||Actor (Complete Savages)
||Actress (Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane)
||Actress (NCIS, Trauma)
||Singer (The Mickey Mouse Club)
||Actor (Family Ties, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
||English actress (Downton Abbey, Good Behavior)
||Actress (Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23)
||Emilie de Ravin
||Actress (Roswell, Lost, Once Upon a Time)
||English actor (The 100)