The year 1985 in television
involved some significant events.
Below is a list of television
-related events in 1985
For the American TV schedule, see: 1985-86 United States network television schedule.
- January 1 - VH1 launches in the United States.
- January 4 - Channel 4 in the UK achieves its highest ever audience as 13.8 million viewers tune in for the final part of the mini-series A Woman of Substance.
- January 6 - The last 405-line transmitters are switched off in the UK.
- February 8 - The Dukes of Hazzard is cancelled.
- February 18 - BBC1 in the UK undergoes a major relaunch. At 5.35 p.m., the legendary mechanical "mirror globe" ident, in use in varying forms since 1969, is seen for the last time in regular rotation on national BBC1. Its replacement, the COW (Computer Originated World, a computer generated globe) debuts at 7pm. On the same day, computer-generated graphics replace magnetic weather maps on all BBC forecasts, and Terry Wogan's eponymous talk show is relaunched as a thrice-weekly live primetime programme. EastEnders launches the following day.
- March 2 - The NBC sitcom Gimme a Break! broadcasts an episode live.
- April 28 - In the UK, the World Snooker Championship Final between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis draws BBC2's highest ever rating of 18.5 million viewers.
- May 10 - The first episode of Saturday Night's Main Event airs on NBC, the first time that professional wrestling had aired on network television since the 1950s.
- May 17 - The season finale of Dallas finds Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) on his deathbed after his crazed ex-sister in law Katherine Wentworth (Morgan Brittany) runs him down in her car.
- July 31 - The War Game, made for the BBC's The Wednesday Play strand in 1965 but banned from broadcast at the time, is finally shown on television as part of BBC2's After the Bomb season.
- August 19 - David Letterman of NBC's Late Night interrupts The Today Show with a megaphone while both shows are on the air. Letterman leaned out the window of his building and announced "My name is Larry Grossman [then president of NBC News] and I'm not wearing any pants!". The Today Show was taping an interview several stories below.
- August - After a series of high-profile football hooliganism incidents injuring and killing many, televised football is banned from British television. The ban is lifted early the next year.
- September 14 - In part one of a three-part season premiere on The Facts of Life, Edna's Edibles, the main focal point of the long-running series since 1983, was burned to the ground.
- October 27- Mini-Series Anzacs starring Paul Hogan and Andrew Clarke debuts on Australian Network Nine.
- October 29 - The Price Is Right ended the show with the memory of announcer Johnny Olson.
- November 17 - Kane & Abel, a miniseries based on the bestselling Jeffrey Archer novel debuts on CBS television.
- December 3 - Copacabana, an original musical starring Barry Manilow (based on his 1978 hit song of the same name), Annette O'Toole, and Estelle Getty, airs on CBS.
- December 8 - Lindenstraße, the first German soap opera, first airs on ARD.
Also in 1985
- NBC becomes the first commercial television network to use satellite interconnection for its stations; as a result, it is the first station to discontinue use of chime intonations at the beginning of each telecast, to signal to the affiliates to start airing the network feed.
- Actress Courteney Cox uses the word "period" (in the physical sense) on U.S. television for the first time, in a commercial for Tampax brand tampons.
- Elmo, a new character for Sesame Street, is introduced.
- Douglas Marland starts his critically-acclaimed eight-year run writing for As the World Turns.
- Sábado Gigante moves from Chile to Univision studios in Miami, Florida.
- Norman Lear sells Tandem Productions and Embassy Television to The Coca-Cola Company, who also owns Columbia Pictures, for $485,000,000.
- At the close of its 22nd season, Doctor Who is abruptly "rested" by BBC1 Controller Michael Grade. He intended to cancel the show outright, but the production office remained open and a much-changed 23rd season was broadcast in 1986. Many fans would conduct vocal protests over the next year, urging the BBC to bring the series back.
- NBC becomes the first broadcast network in the U.S. to air its prime time programs in stereo.
- Jon Lovitz and Dennis Miller join Saturday Night Live.
- January 7 - Time Machine premieres on NBC (1985).
- February 2 - Dengeki Sentai Changeman premieres on TV-Asahi (1985-1986)
- February 19 - EastEnders premieres on the BBC (1985— ).
- March 5 - Moonlighting premieres on ABC (1985–1989).
- March 15 - Mr. Belvedere, based on a series of three films starring Clifton Webb, premieres on ABC (1985–1990).
- March 18 - Neighbours premieres in Australia (1985— ).
- June 3 - Larry King Live premieres on CNN (1985-).
- August 30 - Drummonds premieres on ITV in the UK (1985-87)
- September 7 - What's Happening Now!!, a sequel to the 1970s sitcom What's Happening!!, premieres in syndication (1985–1988).
- September 9 - The $100,000 Pyramid premieres in syndication and gives 3 players who go to the top of the pyramid return for a tournament of champion returns for $100,000 in cash hosted once again by Dick Clark (entertainer).
- September 14 - The Gummi Bears (1985-1991) and The Wuzzles (1985), the first Disney animated shows made for television, premiere on NBC and CBS, respectively, at the same time slot.
- September 24 - Growing Pains premieres on ABC (1985–1992).
- September 29 - MacGyver premieres on ABC (1985–1992).
- October 4 - The short-lived Misfits of Science premieres (1985).
- Edge of Darkness premieres (1985).
- Sally premieres (1985–2002).
- Wonders in Letterland (There were various T-Bag series between 1985 and 1992).
- WWF Saturday Night's Main Event debuts (1985-1992, 2006-present).
- Magnum, P.I. (1980–1988)
- Solid Gold (1980–1988)
- Too Close for Comfort (1980–1986)
- Dynasty (1981–1989)
- Entertainment Tonight (1981— )
- EastEnders (1985— )
- The Equalizer (1985-1989)
- Falcon Crest (1981–1990)
- Fame (1982-1987)
- Gimme a Break! (1981–1987)
- Hill Street Blues (1981–1987)
- Simon & Simon (1981–1988)
- The Fall Guy (1981–1986)
- Today's Special (Canada) (1981–1987)
- What Now (1982— )
- Timewatch (UK) (1982— )
- Cagney & Lacey (1982–1988)
- Capitol (1982–1987)
- Cheers (1982–1993)
- Family Ties (1982–1989)
- Knight Rider (1982–1986)
- Late Night with David Letterman (1982–1993)
- Newhart (1982–1990)
- Remington Steele (1982–1987)
- Silver Spoons (1982–1987)
- St. Elsewhere (1982–1988)
- ' The Journal'' (Canada) (1982–1992)
- Fraggle Rock (1983–1987)
- Loving (1983–1995)
- Press Your Luck (1983–1986)
- Scarecrow and Mrs. King (1983–1987)
- The A-Team (1983–1987)
- Webster (1983–1989)
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (UK) (1984–1988, 1991–1994)
- Highway to Heaven (1984–1989)
- Jeopardy! (1964–1975, 1984— )
- Kate and Allie (1984–1989)
- Miami Vice (1984–1989)
- Mother and Son (Australia) (1984–1994)
- Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
- Night Court (1984–1992)
- Punky Brewster (1984–1988)
- Santa Barbara (1984–1993)
- Tales from the Darkside (1984–1988)
- T.J. Hooker (1982-1986)
- The Bill (UK) (1984— )
- The Cosby Show (1984–1992)
- The Jetsons (1962–1963, 1984–1985, 1987)
- Who's the Boss? (1984–1992)
- It's a Living (1980–1982, 1985–1989)
- Only Fools and Horses (UK) (1981–1983, 1985–1993, 1996–1997, 2001–2003)
- The Twilight Zone (1959–1964, 1985–1988, 2002)
- Neighbours (Australia) (1985— )
Ending this year
Changes of network affiliation
- Diff'rent Strokes moves from NBC to ABC.
- February 12 - Nicholas Colasanto, actor (Coach Ernie Pantusso on Cheers)
- February 28 - Charita Bauer, soap opera actress (Bert Bauer on Guiding Light)
- May 8 - Dolph Sweet, actor (Chief Carl Kanisky on Gimme a Break!)
- May 13 - Selma Diamond, actress (Selma Hacker on Night Court), supposedly the inspiration for a character on The Dick Van Dyke Show
- October 2 - Rock Hudson, actor (McMillan and Wife), from AIDS
- October 12 - Johnny Olson, announcer of The Price Is Right and other game shows
- November 1 - Phil Silvers, actor, comedian (You'll Never Get Rich)
- November 29 - Bill Scott, voice actor of Bullwinkle J. Moose
- December 31 - Ricky Nelson, actor (on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet), musician, killed in a plane crash