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, three channels changed 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. The swaps result from NBC's acquisition of WTVJ in 1987, and CBS's acquisition of WCIX in August 1988. The switches in West Palm Beach are accomplished due to WCIX's weak signal in Broward County.[1][2]
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 that July.
February 20 Jane Wyman, an actress on the CBS drama series Falcon Crest, 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. Earlier that day, two of the network's game shows, Sale of the Century and Super Password, aired their final episodes. The following Monday, NBC will return the noon time slot to its affiliates.
March 31 The CBS game show Card Sharks airs its final episode. The following Monday, it is replaced by a revival of Now You See It.
April 8 Mike Myers joins the cast of the NBC 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 the ABC drama 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 the CBS drama Knots Landing.
July 1 In Rochester, New York, NBC affiliate WROC-TV and CBS affiliate WHEC-TV swap affiliations. NBC cites WROC-TV's struggling news ratings as the reason for the switch.[3]
July 14 The CBS game show Now You See It, which had suffered from constant preemptions by network affiliates, airs its final episode. The following Monday, Wheel of Fortune, which had been cancelled by NBC on June 30, takes its place.
August 14 Cliff and Nina Warner marry one another for the fourth (and seemingly final) time on the ABC soap opera 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 1 NBC affiliate KPOM-TV (now KFTA-TV) in Fort Smith, Arkansas signs-on full-time satellite KFAA-TV (now KNWA-TV) in Rogers to solve transmission problems resulting from its status as an UHF station in a mountainous area. (KFTA-TV will disaffiliate from NBC and join Fox in 2006.)
October 6 Jane Wyman's medical leave due to her diabetes and liver aliment is written into Falcon Crest, when her character, Angela Channing, is put 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
Beetlejuice Syndication
September 11 The Joan Rivers Show
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 7 ALF: The Animated Series 1987
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 10 Finders Keepers 1987
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 1 She's the Sheriff 1987
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 20 Small Wonder 1985
May 21 Miami Vice 1984
May 22 Kate & Allie
June 9 Wipeout 1988
June 16 The New Hollywood Squares 1986
June 21 Hard Time on Planet Earth 1989
June 23 Relatively Speaking 1988
June 25 Day by Day
July 27 The Cavanaughs 1986
July 30 The Jim Henson Hour 1989
August 4 Highway to Heaven 1984
August 24 The Equalizer 1985
September 2 Police Academy 1988
September 29 ThunderCats 1985
October 7 American Bandstand 1952
October 16 The People Next Door 1989
October 25 The Nutt House
November 7 Chicken Soup
November 15 A Peaceable Kingdom
November 30 The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
Top of the Hill
December 1 The Legend of Zelda
December 2 The Smurfs 1981
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
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers The Disney Channel first-run syndication
Disney's Adventures of 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)
January 9 Nina Dobrev Actress (Degrassi: The Next Generation, The Vampire Diaries)
January 10 Emily Meade Actress (The Leftovers)
January 16 Yvonne Zima Actress (ER, The Young and the Restless)
January 27 Brooke Butler Actress
February 3 Ryne Sanborn Actor (High School Musical)
February 5 Jeremy Sumpter Actor (Clubhouse, Friday Night Lights)
February 16 Elizabeth Olsen Actress (The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley)
February 17 Chord Overstreet Actor and singer (Private, Glee)
February 21 Corbin Bleu Actor (Flight 29 Down, High School Musical)
Kristin Herrera Actress (Zoey 101)
Scout Taylor-Compton Actress (Charmed)
February 24 Trace Cyrus American musician
February 25 Abby Wilde Actress (Zoey 101)
March 1 Daniella Monet Actress (Victorious)
March 5 Sterling Knight Actor (Sonny with a Chance, So Random!)
March 11 Anton Yelchin Russian actor (Huff) (d. 2016)
March 15 Caitlin Wachs Actress (Profiler, Family Affair, Commander in Chief)
March 17 Mason Musso American musician and singer
March 18 Lily Collins Actress and daughter of Phil Collins
March 25 Aly Michalka Actress (Phil of the Future, Hellcats)
April 5 Lily James English actress (Downton Abbey)
April 8 Gabriella Wilde English actress
April 18 Alia Shawkat Actress (Arrested Development)
May 5 Chris Brown Singer, actor
May 8 Nora Arnezeder French actress (Zoo)
May 10 Lindsey Shaw Actress (Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Pretty Little Liars)
May 17 Olivia Luccardi Actress (Orange is the New Black)
May 19 Gaelan Connell Actor (Level Up)
May 29 Brandon Mychal Smith Actor (Sonny with a Chance, So Random!)
Riley Keough Actress (The Girlfriend Experience) and granddaughter of Elvis Presley
May 30 Kevin Covais Actor
June 3 Imogen Poots English actress and singer (Roadies)
June 9 Logan Browning Actress ((Meet the Browns, Pair of Kings)
June 14 Lucy Hale Actress (Pretty Little Liars)
June 18 Renee Olstead Actress (Still Standing, The Secret Life of the American Teenager)
June 25 Chris Brochu Actor (The Vampire Diaries)
July 1 Hannah Murray British actress (Game of Thrones) and singer
July 11 David Henrie Actor (That's So Raven, How I Met Your Mother, Wizards of Waverly Place)
July 12 Phoebe Tonkin Australian actress (The Secret Circle, The Originals)
July 14 Sean Flynn Actor (Zoey 101)
July 21 Juno Temple English actress (Vinyl)
Rory Culkin Actor
July 22 Keegan Allen Actor (Pretty Little Liars)
July 23 Daniel Radcliffe English actor
July 25 Andrew Caldwell Voice actor (Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja)
Noel Callahan Actor (Romeo!)
July 31 Alexis Knapp Actress (Ground Floor)
Jessica Williams Actress (Just for Kicks)
Marshall Williams Canadian actor
August 2 Breanna Conrad Actress (Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County)
August 8 Ken Baumann Actor (The Secret Life of the American Teenager)
August 9 Meredith Deane Actress (Once and Again)
August 15 Carlos Pena Jr. Actor (Big Time Rush) and singer
Joe Jonas Actor (Jonas L.A.) and singer (Jonas Brothers)
August 19 Romeo Miller Actor (Romeo!) and rapper
August 21 Hayden Panettiere Actress (Heroes, Nashville)
September 14 Jessica Brown Findlay English actress (Downton Abbey)
Logan Henderson Actor (Big Time Rush) and singer
September 18 Lexie Contursi Actress (Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County)
September 25 Jordan Gavaris Canadian actor (Unnatural History)
September 26 Emma Rigby English actress (Once Upon a Time in Wonderland)
October 1 Brie Larson Actress (United States of Tara)
October 4 Dakota Johnson Actress (Ben and Kate) and daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith
October 10 Aimee Teegarden Actress (Friday Night Lights, Aim High, Star-Crossed)
October 13 Skyler Page Voice actor (Clarence)
October 14 Mia Wasikowska Australian actress (In Treatment)
October 16 Jack Salvatore, Jr. Actor (Zoey 101)
October 24 Eliza Taylor Australian actress (The 100)
Shenae Grimes Canadian actress (90210)
November 2 Katelyn Tarver Actress (Big Time Rush, No Ordinary Family)
November 20 Cody Linley Actor (Hannah Montana)
November 22 Alden Ehrenreich Actor
November 30 Adelaide Clemens Australian actress (Rectify)
December 13 Taylor Swift Singer and actress (Saturday Night Live)
December 18 Ashley Benson Actress (Pretty Little Liars)
December 22 Jordin Sparks Singer (American Idol) and actress
December 28 Mackenzie Rosman Actress (7th Heaven)
December 29 Jane Levy Actress (Suburgatory)
December 30 Ryan Sheckler Actor (Life of Ryan)


Date Name Age Notability
February 5 Joe Raposo 51 Composer (Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Three's Company theme song)
February 11 George O'Hanlon 65 Voice actor (The Jetsons)
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


  1. ^ NBC To Buy Miami's Channel 4, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, January 17, 1987.
  2. ^ "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; CBS to Buy TV Station In Miami". The New York Times. August 9, 1988. 
  3. ^ "In brief." Broadcasting, April 10, 1989, pg. 96.