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80s Television

Television During the 80s

The 1980s was an important decade in the television industry. Not only were great strides made in the way of “pushing the envelope” with shows like Married…With Children, but other programs displayed a stark contrast with family-friendly issues and themes. The Cosby Show began in the middle of the decade and it enjoyed several years as the #1 television program because it was a witty and realistic rendering of family life during the era. It also destroyed the stereotype of poor African-American families that shows in the past only helped to reinforce. Heathcliff Huxtable – the father on The Cosby Show – was an obstetrician while his wife – Claire – was a successful lawyer.

TV Shows 1980s
• Married with Children 1987 – 1997.
• Baywatch 1989 – 1999.
• Chips 1977 – 1983.
• Hill Street Blues 1981 – 1987.
• Highway to Heaven 1984 – 1989.
• Knight Rider 1982 – 1986.
• Dukes Of Hazzard 1979 – 1985.
• The Benny Hill Show 1969 – 1989.
• Fame 1982 – 1987.
• Cagney & Lacey 1982 – 1988.
• Dallas 1978 – 1991.
• Matlock 1986 – 1992.
• MacGyver 1985 – 1992.
• Little House on the Prairie 1974 – 1983.
• Doctor Who 1963 – 1989.
• Columbo 1968 – 2003.
• The A Team 1983 – 1987.
• Laverne & Shirley 1976 – 1983.
• The Cosby Show 1984 – 1992.
• Happy Days 1974 – 1984.
• Cheers 1982 – 1993.
• Taxi 1978 – 1983.
• Benson 1979 – 1986.
• Growing Pains 1985 – 1992.

The Eighties also saw the creation of a number of cable networks that viewers still enjoy today. The Weather Channel – based in Atlanta, GA – premiered in 1982 as a cable network that covered the weather 24 hours a day. The Cable News Network, better known as CNN, was also created as television’s first 24-hour news network. It created a trend and today you have the option of several 24-hour cable news networks to choose from. Rupert Murdoch also created the Fox Network in the 1980s as a challenge to the only three major networks at the time – NBC, CBS, and ABC. Even though many people scoffed at the idea of Fox being a major competitor, it has since created several popular and award-winning shows in its more than 20 year existence. Music Television (MTV) was also a major breakthrough network in the decade and today viewers can choose from a large number of music-based television channels.

Other shows that began in the Eighties that are still memorable and popular today include Cheers, The Golden Girls, Miami Vice, and Family Ties. Along with The Simpsons, many of these programs are available as DVD box sets for those who lived through the era and want to experience a feeling of nostalgia by experiencing these shows again.