The year 1983 in television
involved some significant events.
Below is a list of television
-related events in 1983
For the American TV schedule, see: 1983-84 United States network television schedule.
- January 3 - Plinko is added as a Pricing Game on The Price Is Right; it will become one of the most popular of all the show's games. Also on this date, 3 new game shows debut on rival NBC: $ale Of The Century, Just Men! and Hit Man.
- February 8 - Minipops premieres on Channel 4 in the UK. Though a ratings success, it is canceled after the first series due to heavy media criticism.
- February 23 - After months of "will she or won't she?" drama, Deirdre Barlow (Anne Kirkbride) makes the choice to break up with Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) and reunite with her estranged husband Ken (William Roache) on Coronation Street. The episode was one of the highest-rated in the serial's history.
- February 28 - Over 125 million Americans tune in to watch the 251st and final episode of M*A*S*H on CBS, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen."
- March 6- Country Music Television (CMT) launches in the United States.
- March 7 - The Nashville Network (TNN) (later Spike TV) begins broadcasting.
- March 19 - US First Lady Nancy Reagan makes a special appearance on an episode of Diff'rent Strokes, launching her Just Say No anti-drug campaign.
- April 18 - The Disney Channel is launched on American cable TV.
- April 19 - Mini-Series The Dismissal, about 1975 sacking of Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, airs on Network 0-10 (Ten) Australia.
- April 30 - Australia's current affairs show Four Corners airs "The Big League"—a story which contains serious allegations against NSW Premier Neville Wran.
- May 6 - A fire at Southfork threatens the lives of the Ewings on the season finale of Dallas.
- May 11 - Peter Adamson makes his last appearance as Len Fairclough on Coronation Street.
- May 16 - Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever airs on NBC. Michael Jackson steals the show by singing and dancing to his hit single "Billie Jean" and performing for the first time his "moonwalk" dance .
- August 4 - On NBC, the cast of Search for Tomorrow is forced to do a live show for the first time since the program moved to videotape in 1967; both the regular transmission tape and a backup were lost, something that was disputed by outside sources after the fact.
- August 16 - ITV broadcasts Woodentop as part of its Storyboard series. It would later be turned into a series and re-titled The Bill.
- August 23 - Colour television was introduced in Romania.
- August 29-30 - WKBS-TV in Philadelphia is closed after Field Enterprises failed to find a buyer - even though the station is still profitable.
- September 5
- September 6 - ITV broadcasts Killer. It would be later be turned into a series and re-titled Taggart.
- September 29 - Return to Eden mini-series premiere in Australia on 0-10 Network.
- October 3 - During a live NBC news update, anchor Jessica Savitch appears incoherent; her speech is slurred and she deviates from her copy and ad-libs her report. Miss Savitch, dogged by rumors of drug abuse and instability, still has her contract renewed anyway.
- October 10 - Adam, a TV-movie about the mysterious disappearance of Adam Walsh, airs on NBC.
- October 12 - Doris Speed makes her last appearance as Annie Walker on Coronation Street.
- November 20 - An estimated 100 million people watch the controversial made-for-television movie The Day After, depicting the start of a nuclear war.
- November 23 - 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who in the UK.
- November 24 - This day's episode of Sesame Street confronts the sensitive issue of death when Big Bird learns to grasp the concept as it relates to his late friend, Mr. Hooper.
- December 2 - Michael Jackson's world famous music video for "Thriller" is broadcast for the first time. It will become the most often repeated and famous music video of all time and increase his own popularity and the record sales of the album "Thriller".
- David Canary first premieres on All My Children.
- Pam Long's scripts first air on Guiding Light.
- Frank Reynolds of ABC's World News Tonight dies, leaving co-anchor Peter Jennings as the newscast's sole head anchor.
- NBC's fall slate is perhaps the least successful in history: all nine of its new fall series (Manimal, Jennifer Slept Here, We Got it Made, Mr. Smith, Bay City Blues, The Yellow Rose with Sam Elliott and Cybill Sheppard, Boone with Barry Corbin, For Love and Honor, and The Rousters) will be gone within one year or less.
- January 3 - A revival of Sale of the Century based on the then-current Australian version premieres on NBC (1983–1989)
- January 4 - Children's ITV premieres on ITV in the UK. (1983— )
- January 10- Fraggle Rock, a Jim Henson production, debuts on HBO (1983–1987).
- January 22 - Mama's Family, based on sketches from The Carol Burnett Show, debuts on NBC (1983–1984; 1986–1990).
- January 23 - The A-Team debuts on NBC (1983–1987).
- January 17 - Breakfast Time, Britain's first breakfast show, launches on BBC1.
- February 1 - TV-am launches, with Good Morning Britain
- February 5 - The Dukes, an animated series based on The Dukes of Hazzard, debuts on CBS (1983–1984).
- April 10 - Casablanca, a short lived show based on the movie of the same name, debuts on NBC (1983)
- June 15 - The first episode of The Black Adder, the first in the successful Blackadder series of sitcoms, debuts on BBC One in the UK.
- June 27 - Loving premieres on ABC (1983–1995).
- July 7 - The Crystal Cube, an early BBC Two pilot written by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. However, the BBC hated it and a series was not commissioned.
- July 29 - Friday Night Videos premieres on NBC late night (1983-2002).
- August 29 - Blockbusters premieres on ITV in the UK (1983-93, 1994-95, 1997, 2000-01).
- September 12 - The Phone Home Game debuts on The Price is Right.
- September 16 - Webster debuts on ABC (1983–1989).
- September 18 - Hardcastle and McCormick debuts on ABC (1983-1986)
- September 19 - The daytime game show Press Your Luck premieres on CBS (1983–1986).
- September 21 - Hotel premieres on ABC (1983-1988)
- September 26 - AfterMASH debuts on CBS (1983-1984).
- September - Australia, You're Standing in It debuts on ABC in Australia (1983–1984).
- October 2 - The Yellow Rose premieres on NBC (1983-1984)
- October 3 - Scarecrow and Mrs. King premieres on CBS (1983–1987).
- October 5 - Whiz Kids premieres on CBS (1983–1984).
- Tucker's Luck, a spin-off of Grange Hill, premieres on BBC1 (1983–1985).
Ending this year
Cancelled, but eventually to return to the air
Changes of network affiliation
- Fame moves from NBC to first-run syndication.
- Too Close for Comfort moves from ABC to first-run syndication.
- March 16 - Arthur Godfrey, television host
- July 20 - Frank Reynolds, ABC journalist
- July 29 - Raymond Massey, star of Dr. Kildare
- August 3 - Carolyn Jones, actress, Morticia in The Addams Family
- August 28 - Jan Clayton, actress
- August 29 - Simon Oakland, actor
- October 23 - Jessica Savitch, NBC news anchor, age 36
- November 22 - Michael Conrad, actor, Sgt. Phil Esterhasz on Hill Street Blues
- November 28 - Christopher George, actor
- December 28 - William Demarest, actor, Uncle Charlie in My Three Sons