The following is a list of events affecting American television during 1998. Events listed include television series debuts, finales, cancellations, and channel initiations, closures and rebrandings, as well as information about controversies and disputes.
Showtime launches a new multiplex channel, Showtime Extreme, which airs action and adventure films, thrillers, gangster films and sporting events. The channel's launch coincided with Viacom's channels (excluding the Showtime networks) moving from USSB to DirecTV.
The Price Is Right's 5,000th episode is broadcast on CBS. On the show, every pricing game is played for a car (something Price had only done once before. It has been repeated only once since then). At the beginning of the show, CBS announces it has renamed Studio 33 (the studio at CBS Television City where The Price Is Right has taped since its 1972 return) the Bob Barker Studios in honor of the show's then-host and executive producer.
United Video Satellite Group, parent company of the Prevue Channel (now Pop), acquires TV Guide from News Corporation for $800 million and 60 million shares of stock worth an additional $1.2 billion. In recognition of this, Prevue Channel will rebrand to the TV Guide Channel on February 1, 1999.
KATH-LP in Juneau, Alaska signs on the air, giving the Juneau market its first full-time NBC affiliate. The sign-on was delayed for a month due to delays in receiving the equipment required to place the station on the local GCI cable system (Sister station KSCT-LP in Sitka, the market's former Fox affiliate, had already switched to NBC).
Pax TV (now named Ion Television), a family-oriented broadcast network owned by Paxson Communications, begins broadcasting. The network was originally carried for Paxson-owned stations by a number of paid programming services (as well as the overnight christian block The Worship Network), branded as the Infomall Television Network until at the time of its network launch.
The WB launches its programming service of cable-only networks, branded as the 100+ Station Group. It was originally known as The WeB, which was from its launch until March of next year. Several cable providers that carried The WB's programming on WGN Superstation feed (until it was dropped the following September) were replaced by its own service.
The Rugrats Movie, based on Nickelodeon's hit series Rugrats is released in theaters. The movie introduces the character of Dil Pickles, who became a main character in Rugrats the following January. The Rugrats Movie was a commercial success, making a grand total of $100,494,675 domestically and another $40,400,000 in international markets.
^Lisa de Moraes (August 29, 1998). "On Monday, the Genesis of PAX TV". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved February 25, 2013 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)).