1991 in American television

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The following is a list of events affecting American television during 1991.


Date Event
January 3 The first television sets with built-in closed-caption display are introduced in the United States.
January 14 Wheel of Fortune returned to NBC (but would ultimately be canceled on September 20, after a 16½ year run on daytime network television).
January 16 All major television network schedules were pre-empted by Gulf War coverage right after the evening news broadcasts. The planned broadcasts included Seinfeld.
February 9 Tim Meadows and Adam Sandler joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. (Meadows stays with the show until 2000, while Sandler departs during 1995.)
March 3 In Los Angeles, California, African-American Rodney King was beaten severely by police officers after leading them on a high-speed chase and allegedly resisting arrest. A video was made by observers, and portions of the tape are broadcast repeatedly, resulting in massive rioting in the Los Angeles area.
March 16 A. Whitney Brown makes his final appearance on the program Saturday Night Live.
March 27 Deidre Hall returns on-screen to Days of Our Lives after a four-year absence in which her character, Marlena Evans is revealed to be mysteriously alive and kept hidden outside of Salem after being presumed dead in an accident nearly four years prior.
April 1 The premium movie channel Encore launches in the United States, primarily on TCI cable systems. The channel initially displayed movies from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, before eventually phasing in more recent movies by the 2000s (decade). Showtime Networks initiated Flix, a premium channel with a format identical to Encore less than a year-and-a-half later.
CBS began broadcasting a late-night crime-investigation program entitled Crimetime After Primetime.
April 5 Katie Couric is designated as co-host of the The Today Show after substituting as host since February 1991.
April 20 The Museum of Broadcasting, now known as The Paley Center for Media, relocates into its new 17-story building, located a block from its previous location in New York City.
May 3 The final episode of Dallas is broadcast by CBS; it was 21 years later before it was resumed.
May 19 Knight Rider 2000 is first televised by NBC.
May 21 Financial News Network ceases broadcasting after being bought out by CNBC.
June 1 After merging with Ha! and The Comedy Channel. CTV: The Comedy Network becomes Comedy Central.
July 1 Court TV (now TruTV) goes on the air.
August 11 Nickelodeon introduced its first original animated series, Doug, Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy.
August 13 The time slot for Full House was moved from Friday's TGIF lineup to Tuesday nights (remaining there until its finale in 1995).
September 1 E! News debuts.
September 8 Minnie Pearl makes her final appearance on the program Hee Haw.
September 9–13 The 20th Anniversary week of The Price Is Right is celebrated during this week on CBS.
September 30 Square One TV returns for its fourth season.
October 13 Jennifer Lopez joins the cast as one of the Fly Girls of the series In Living Color. Other cast additions include future Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx and Steve Park. Shawn Wayans, the original DJ for the show, is replaced by Twist. Wayans joins the cast until the end of the next season.
November 14 Michael Jackson's song Black or White was first televised by Fox. This is the first Michael Jackson music video to be shown by Fox, along with other MTV Networks music channels.
November 16 Ellen Cleghorne, Melanie Hutsell and Beth Cahill join the cast of Saturday Night Live.
December 1 Britney Spears appears on the program Star Search.
December 8 Tim Russert becomes moderator of Meet the Press a job he possesses until his untimely death during 2008.


Debuting this year[edit]

Date Show Network
January 5 Blossom NBC
January 7 The Party Machine with Nia Peeples Syndication
January 13 Harry and the Hendersons
February 25 The Pirates of Dark Water ABC
March 1 Clarissa Explains it All Nickelodeon
Toxic Crusaders Fox
March 7 Yearbook
March 18 Get the Picture Nickelodeon
April 26 Dinosaurs ABC
April 30 The Statler Brothers Show The Nashville Network
May 2 American Detective ABC
May 11 Sisters NBC
June 2 Liquid Television MTV
June 4 C. Everett Koop, M.D. NBC
July 8 Shop 'til You Drop Lifetime
August 11 Doug Nickelodeon
The Ren & Stimpy Show
August 17 Best of the Worst Fox
August 25 Roc
August 31 Taz-Mania Fox Kids
September 1 Aeon Flux MTV
September 3 The Legend of Prince Valiant The Family Channel
Little Dracula Fox
September 6 Darkwing Duck The Disney Channel
September 7 Back to the Future: The Animated Series CBS
Best of the Worst Fox Kids
Little Shop
September 8 Herman's Head Fox
The Sunday Comics
Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars Syndication
September 9 Maury
The Adventures of Mark & Brian NBC
September 14 Chip and Pepper
Super Mario World
Wish Kid
Yo Yogi!
Hammerman ABC
Mother Goose and Grimm CBS
Where's Wally?: The Animated Series
September 15 P.S. I Luv U
Eerie, Indiana NBC
Man of the People
Pacific Station
September 16 James Bond Jr. Syndication
The Jenny Jones Show
The Montel Williams Show
September 17 Home Improvement ABC
September 18 The Royal Family CBS
September 19 Drexell's Class Fox
Flesh 'n' Blood NBC
Reasonable Doubts
September 20 Brooklyn Bridge CBS
Step by Step ABC
September 21 The Torkelsons NBC
September 24 Homefront
September 25 Good & Evil ABC
September 26 FBI: The Untold Stories
September 27 Princesses CBS
September 28 The Commish ABC
September 29 Street Justice Syndication
September 30 The Jerry Springer Show
Charlie Rose WNET
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego PBS
October 4 Beyond Reality Syndication
October 7 I'll Fly Away NBC
October 12 Adventures in Wonderland Disney Channel
October 18 Palace Guard CBS
October 31 Are You Afraid of the Dark? Nickelodeon

Resuming this year[edit]

Show Last aired Previous network New network Date of return
A Different World 1990 NBC NBC September 19
The $100,000 Pyramid 1988 CBS Syndication January 7
Beetlejuice: The Animated Series 1989 ABC Fox Kids September 9
Candid Camera 1988 CBS Syndication September 16
Baywatch 1990 NBC September 23

Ending this year[edit]

Date Show Debut
January 5 Haywire 1990
January 25 Generations 1989
Piggsburg Pigs! 1990
February 3 Good Grief
February 11 About Face 1989
February 16 The Fanelli Boys 1990
February 22 Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears 1985
March 8 The Joker's Wild 1990
April 6 Doctor Doctor 1989
April 12 Fun House 1988
April 26 Hunter 1984
April 27 21 Jump Street 1987
May 3 Dallas 1978
May 9 Babes 1990
May 18 The Flash
May 28 thirtysomething 1987
June 1 D.E.A. 1990
June 6 Gabriel's Fire
June 10 Twin Peaks
June 12 Over My Dead Body
July 14 Lifestories
July 17 The Family Man
July 22 China Beach 1988
July 27 Amen 1986
August 8 TaleSpin 1990
August 11 Parenthood (returned in 2009)
August 17 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo 1988
August 30 Hey Dude 1989
August 31 Dink, The Little Dinosaur
September 6 Trump Card 1990
September 15 The Party Machine with Nia Peeples 1991
September 20 Wheel of Fortune 1975
October 22 The Real Ghostbusters 1986
October 25 Princesses 1991
October 26 Captain N: The Game Master 1989
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 1988
November 2 Muppet Babies 1984
November 6 Mathman from Square One TV 1987
November 23 Attack of the Killer Tomatoes 1990
November 30 Little Shop 1991
December 2 Peter Pan and the Pirates 1990
December 6 Beetlejuice: The Animated Series 1989
Get the Picture 1991
December 7 Wish Kid
Yo Yogi!
December 14 Where's Wally?: The Animated Series

Made-for-TV movies and miniseries[edit]

Title Channel Premiere
Sarah, Plain and Tall CBS February 3
The Josephine Baker Story HBO March 16
Separate but Equal ABC April 7
Switched at Birth NBC April 28
Knight Rider 2000 May 19
C. Everett Koop, M.D. June 4
A Woman Named Jackie October 13


Date Name Notability
January 19 Erin Sanders Actress (Big Time Rush)
January 28 Calum Worthy Canadian actor (Austin & Ally)
February 10 Emma Roberts Actress (Unfabulous, Scream Queens), singer and niece of Julia Roberts
February 18 Malese Jow Actress (Unfabulous) and singer
March 5 Hanna Mangan-Lawrence Australian actress (Bed of Roses)
March 8 Devon Werkheiser Actor (Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide)
March 25 Seychelle Gabriel Actress (Falling Skies)
March 28 Amy Bruckner Actress (Phil of the Future)
March 29 Hayley McFarland Actress (Lie to Me)
April 3 Hayley Kiyoko Actress, singer, musician and dancer
April 4 Jamie Lynn Spears Actress (Zoey 101)
April 10 AJ Michalka Actress, singer and guitarist
April 28 Aleisha Allen Actress (Blue's Clues)
May 17 Daniel Curtis Lee Actor (Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide)
May 21 Sarah Ramos Actress (American Dreams, Parenthood)
May 26 Julianna Rose Mauriello Actress (LazyTown)
May 29 Kristen Alderson Actress (One Life to Live)
June 4 Jordan Hinson Actress (Eureka)
June 18 Willa Holland Actress (The O.C.)
June 27 Madylin Sweeten Actress (Ally on Everybody Loves Raymond)
June 29 Addison Timlin Actress
July 5 Jason Dolley Actor (Good Luck Charlie) and musician
July 9 Mitchel Musso Actor (Hannah Montana)
July 12 Erik Per Sullivan Actor (Malcolm in the Middle)
July 24 Emily Bett Rickards Actress (Arrow)
August 2 Skyler Day Actress and singer (Gigantic, Parenthood)
August 17 Austin Butler Actor (Zoey 101)
August 26 Dylan O'Brien Actor (Teen Wolf)
August 28 Kyle Massey Actor (That's So Raven)
Samuel Larsen Actor (Glee)
September 4 Carter Jenkins Actor (The Bernie Mac Show)
September 9 Kelsey Chow Actress (One Tree Hill)
September 20 Spencer Locke Actress
October 6 Roshon Fegan Actor (Shake It Up) and singer
October 18 Tyler Posey Actor (Teen Wolf)
November 11 Emma Blackery Actress, singer and YouTube personality
Christa B. Allen Actress (Revenge)
November 13 Matt Bennett Actor (Victorious)
November 14 Graham Patrick Martin Actor
November 15 Shailene Woodley Actress (The Secret Life of the American Teenager)
December 26 Eden Sher Actress (The Middle)
December 27 Chloe Bridges Actress (The Carrie Diaries)


Date Name Age Notability
January 12 Keye Luke 86 Character actor (Kung Fu)
February 3 Harry Ackerman 78 Producer (Bewitched)
Nancy Kulp 69 Actress (Miss Jane Hathaway on The Beverly Hillbillies)
February 6 Danny Thomas 79 Actor and comedian (Danny Williams on Make Room for Daddy)
February 24 George Gobel 71 Comedian (The George Gobel Show)
March 3 Vance Colvig 72 Actor (Bozo the Clown on KTLA in Los Angeles)
April 10 Natalie Schafer 90 Actress (Lovey Howell on Gilligan's Island)
April 23 William Dozier 83 Producer (Batman)
June 9 Joe Hamilton 62 Producer (The Carol Burnett Show, Mama's Family), former husband of Carol Burnett
July 1 Michael Landon 54 Actor, producer (Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven)
July 15 Bert Convy 57 Game show host (Super Password and Win, Lose Or Draw)
July 21 Theodore Wilson 47 Character actor (That's My Mama)
August 6 Harry Reasoner 68 News anchor/reporter (60 Minutes)
August 22 Colleen Dewhurst 67 Actress (Murphy Brown, Anne of Green Gables)
September 4 Tom Tryon 65 Actor (Texas John Slaughter)
September 7 Ben Piazza 57 Actor (Dallas)
September 15 John Hoyt 85 Actor (Gimme a Break!)
October 9 Thalmus Rasulala 51 Actor (Roots, What's Happening!!)
October 11 Redd Foxx 68 Comedian and actor (Fred Sanford on Sanford and Son)
October 24 Gene Roddenberry 70 Creator of (Star Trek)
November 2 Irwin Allen 75 Producer (Lost in Space)
November 5 Fred MacMurray 83 Actor (Steve Douglas on My Three Sons)