1989 in American television

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The year 1989 in television involved some significant events. This is a list of notable events in the United States.

Notable events[edit]

Date Event
January 1 Affiliation swaps in Florida: In Miami, 3 channels change their network affiliation: WTVJ moves to NBC from CBS, WCIX (now WFOR-TV) moves to CBS from Fox, and WSVN moves to Fox from NBC. In West Palm Beach, WPEC-TV switches from ABC to CBS, WTVX leaves CBS to become an independent, and ABC station WPBF signs on this day.
January 9 Pat Sajak quits the daytime version of the series Wheel of Fortune for a CBS late night talk show while remaining host of the nighttime version. His daytime hosting role will be assumed by Rolf Benirschke, then by Bob Goen when Wheel switches networks from NBC to CBS the next July.
February 20 Falcon Crest actress Jane Wyman is rushed to the hospital, after suffering from diabetes and a liver ailment.
Charlie O'Donnell returned to Wheel of Fortune as the announcer, following a nine-year absence.
March 2 Pepsi's controversial advertisement with Madonna and her song "Like a Prayer" aired during NBC's showing of The Cosby Show The same ad was run on ITV in the UK, 12 minutes into The Bill.
March 24 For the first time since 1973, NBC reruns the 1960 telecast of Peter Pan, with Mary Martin in the title role.
April 8 Mike Myers joins the cast of the series Saturday Night Live.
April 30 CNBC, NBC's answer to the Financial News Network, launched (CNBC and FNN would merge two years later).
May 11 In the series finale of Dynasty, Blake Carrington, Alexis Colby, Dex Dexter and Fallon Carrington Colby are stuck in mortal peril.
May 18 Donna Mills makes her final regular appearance as villainess Abby on Knots Landing.
August 14 Cliff and Nina Warner marry one another for the fourth (and seemingly final) time on All My Children, a record that has not been matched for soap operas.
September 4 The Family Channel debuts its children programming block Fun Town.
September 22 ABC debuts TGIF from 8:00pm to 10:00pm, a new programming block for Friday Nights with four shows (Full House, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers, and Just the Ten of Us), it also includes interstitial hosts. This block would become a rating hit throughout the 1990s, lasting until 2000.
September 30 NBC broadcasts its final Major League Baseball Game of the Week (before the program is transferred to CBS). Bob Costas and Tony Kubek called the action from Toronto's SkyDome, as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles to clinch the American League Eastern Division title.
October 6 Jane Wyman is already on medical leave from Falcon Crest, when her character, Angela Channing, is in a coma.
October 17 Four minutes into ABC's broadcast of Game 3 of the World Series, the Lome Prieta earthquake occurred, forcing a ten-day delay of the series.
November 15 The Comedy Channel debuted (become Comedy Central two years later).
December 18 A seldom-seen 1956 Christmas special episode of I Love Lucy is re-broadcast by CBS.



The following is a list of shows that premiered in 1989.

Date Show Channel
January 3 The Arsenio Hall Show Syndication
January 9 Inside Edition
The Pat Sajak Show CBS
January 18 A Fine Romance ABC
January 21 Nightingales NBC
January 23 Couch Potatoes Syndication
January 29 Shining Time Station PBS
February 28 Coach ABC
March 1 Hard Time on Planet Earth CBS
March 4 Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers Disney Channel
March 7 Anything but Love ABC
March 11 COPS Fox
March 25 Men ABC
March 26 Quantum Leap NBC
March 27 Generations
April 14 The Jim Henson Hour
April 18 Rescue 911 CBS
June 4 McGee and Me! Syndication
June 10 Tales from the Crypt HBO
July 5 Seinfeld NBC
July 14 Hey Dude Nickelodeon
August 3 Primetime Live ABC
August 20 Saved by the Bell NBC
August 28 Open House Fox
September 2 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Syndication
September 4 Eureeka's Castle Nick Jr.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! Syndication
September 8 The Legend of Zelda
September 9 Captain N: The Game Master NBC
The Karate Kid
September 11 The Joan Rivers Show Syndication
September 12 Chicken Soup ABC
Life Goes On
September 13 Wolf CBS
September 16 The California Raisin Show
Dink, the Little Dinosaur
Island Son
Rude Dog & the Dweebs
American Gladiators Syndication
Ring Raiders
Camp Candy NBC
September 17 Sister Kate
September 18 Alien Nation Fox
Hard Copy Syndication
The Famous Teddy Z CBS
Major Dad
The People Next Door
September 20 Top of the Hill
A Peaceable Kingdom
Doogie Howser, M.D. ABC
The Young Riders
The Nutt House NBC
September 22 Baywatch
Family Matters ABC
Free Spirit
Snoops CBS
September 23 Saturday Night with Connie Chung
September 24 Booker Fox
Homeroom ABC
October 13 Mancuso, F.B.I. NBC
November 26 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC
December 17 The Simpsons Fox
December 18 First Business Syndication

Returning this year[edit]

Show Last aired Previous network Retitled as New network Returning date
The Mickey Mouse Club 1979 Syndication The All-New Mickey Mouse Club Disney Channel April 24

Ending this year[edit]

Date Show Debut
January 13 Ryan's Hope 1975
January 14 Snorks 1984
January 19 Knightwatch 1988
January 21 Dirty Dancing
Simon & Simon 1981
February 20 Almost Grown 1988
March 9 Webster 1983
March 18 It's a Living 1985
Murphy's Law 1988
March 19 Creepy Crawlies 1987
March 24 Sale of The Century 1983
Super Password 1984
March 25 TV 101 1988
March 31 Card Sharks 1986
April 14 Unsub 1989
April 26 Nightingales
May 7 Duet
May 11 Dynasty 1981
May 14 Family Ties 1982
Moonlighting 1985
May 19 The Gong Show 1988
May 21 Miami Vice 1984
May 22 Kate & Allie
June 9 Wipeout 1988
June 16 The New Hollywood Squares 1986
June 23 Relatively Speaking 1988
July 30 The Jim Henson Hour 1989
August 4 Highway to Heaven 1984
October 7 American Bandstand 1952
November 7 Chicken Soup 1989
November 30 The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
December 1 The Legend of Zelda
December 2 The Smurfs 1981
December 8 Denver, the Last Dinosaur 1988
December 9 The California Raisin Show 1989
December 16 The Karate Kid

Changes of network affiliation[edit]

Show Moved from Moved to
Fun House first-run syndication Fox
The Gummi Bears NBC ABC
Wheel of Fortune CBS

Made-for-TV movies and miniseries[edit]

Title Network Date of airing
Mike Hammer: Murder Takes All CBS May 21


Date Name Notability
January 3 Alex D. Linz Actor (The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald)
March 25 Aly Michalka Actress (Phil of the Future)
April 18 Alia Shawkat Actress (Arrested Development)
June 18 Renee Olstead Actress (The Secret Life of the American Teenager)
August 19 Romeo Miller Rapper and actor (Romeo!)
August 21 Hayden Panettiere Actress and singer (Nashville)
October 1 Brie Larson Actress (United States of Tara)
December 18 Ashley Benson Actress (Pretty Little Liars)
December 22 Jordin Sparks Singer and actress (American Idol)
December 28 Mackenzie Rosman Actress (7th Heaven)


Date Name Age Notability
February 5 Joe Raposo 51 Composer (Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Three's Company theme song)
April 26 Lucille Ball 77 Actress, comedian (of the Lucy shows I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy)
April 30 Guy Williams 65 Actor (Zorro, Lost in Space)
May 1 Douglass Watson 68 Soap opera actor (Mac on Another World)
May 20 Gilda Radner 42 Actress, comedian (Saturday Night Live)
July 3 Jim Backus 76 Actor (Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island and voice of Mr. Magoo)
July 4 Vic Perrin 73 Voice actor (the original Control Voice on The Outer Limits, Hanna-Barbera cartoons)
July 10 Mel Blanc 81 Voice actor (as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and countless other characters)
July 18 Rebecca Schaeffer 21 Actress (My Sister Sam)
September 17 Jay Stewart 71 Announcer (Let's Make a Deal, Sale of the Century, Scrabble)
October 6 Bette Davis 81 film and television actress