What it was like Growing Up in the Eighties (1980s)
  • Sun. Jan 29th, 2023

80s Television

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Television was transformed in the 1980s. With the advent of cable, the three major networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — lost their monopoly on what we viewed on TV.

1970s TV shows such as M*A*S*HThree’s CompanyThe Jeffersons, Happy Days, Alice and The Love Boat maintained their popularity well into the 1980s. “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”, the series finale of M*A*S*H aired on CBS on February 28, 1983, the most watched show of the decade.

The decade was the golden age for primetime soap operas — DallasDynastyFalcon Crest, and Knots Landing all had their legions of faithful viewers. Who Shot J.R. on Dallas was all the buzz at the beginning of the 80s. Ultimately, the person who pulled the trigger was revealed to be Kristin Shepard in the “Who Done It?” episode of Dallas which aired on November 21, 1980.

New life was breathed into the sitcom, with hit series like The Cosby Show, Cheers, Family Ties, The Golden Girls, Growing Pains, and Night Court. NBC’s “Must See TV” slogan was first used during the NBC Thursday night lineup in 1982. The first two series to become a part of this legacy were Cheers and Taxi.

Top crime dramas like Magnum P.I., Cagney and Lacey, Murder She Wrote and Hill Street Blues enjoyed long runs in the 80s, while the innovative Miami Vice had a significant impact on television imagery and music.

Programs like thirtysomethingMoonlighting and Wonder Years appealed to the yuppie crowd and nostalgic crowd.

80s TV was infamous for TV Theme Song’s and their Lyrics. Our pages include video and lyrics to many 80s classic television theme songs.

MTV was launched in the United States in 1981 and music videos had a profound impact on the music industry and popular culture.

Cable television became more accessible and therefore, more popular. By the middle of the decade, almost 70% of the American population had cable television and over 85% were paying for cable services such as HBO or Showtime.