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The year 1987 in television involved some significant events.Below is a list of television-related events in 1987.

For American TV schedule, see: 1987-88 United States network television schedule.


  • January 5 - Remington Steele returns to NBC after a six-month hiatus during which series star Pierce Brosnan won the film role of James Bond, only to lose it when NBC unexpectedly renewed the series. Steele adopts a TV-movie length format but only runs for a few installments before being cancelled for good.
  • January 22 - R. Budd Dwyer shoots and kills himself at a televised press conference. The decision by some broadcasters to air the footage leads to a debate over boundaries in journalism.
  • January–February - PBS broadcasts the critically-acclaimed Eyes on the Prize series.
  • February 8–February 15 - The miniseries Amerika, showing life ten years after the United States is defeated and occupied by the USSRmarker, is broadcast on ABC.
  • February 15 - The television movie event The Facts of Life Down Under airs on NBC.
  • March 19 - Televangelist Jim Bakker is involved in a sex scandal, which causes him to step down as the host of The P.T.L. Club.
  • April 5 - The Fox TV network makes its prime-time debut, marking the first time since 1955 that four networks filled the US prime-time television landscape.
  • April 19 - Matt Groening's The Simpsons debuts as a series of short animated segments on The Tracey Ullman Show.
  • May - The sitcom Mr. Belvedere is canceled after three seasons. Heavy backlash causes ABC executives to rethink the decision and bring the show back. Since the fall programming schedules were already written, Mr. Belvedere doesn't premiere until late October.
  • May 15 - Pam Ewing's car speeds out of control, crashes into a tanker, and explodes on the season finale of Dallas.
  • June 30–July 31 - US daytime television is interrupted for the Iran-Contra hearings.
  • July 15 - Genie Francis, of General Hospital fame, starts a new soap role as Diana Colville on Days of our Lives, which she will play until 1989.
  • September 5 - Dick Clark's American Bandstand airs for the 2,751st and last time on ABC, after 30 years on the network. It lives on in syndication for 2 more years.
  • September 7 - Sylvester McCoy becomes the seventh actor to play the Doctor in BBC One's long-running Doctor Who.
  • September 11 - Dan Rather of the CBS Evening News stomps out of the newscast when a televised tennis match runs two minutes over. He is missing for six minutes.
  • November 4–November 18 - Damon and Debbie becomes the first 'soap bubble'. It was a miniseries which took two characters from Brookside into new locations and their own story.
  • October 1 - Icelandmarker introduces television on Thursdays for the first time.
  • October 15 - Bob Barker, host of The Price Is Right, stops dyeing his hair brown and appears on-stage for the first time with white hair. He is given a minute-long standing ovation by the audience.
  • November 13 - Sonny and Cher reunite for a performance on Late Night with David Letterman.
  • November 22 - During a showing of the Doctor Who story "Horror of Fang Rock", Chicagomarker PBS station WTTW-TV Channel 11marker is interrupted for 88 seconds by a pirate television transmitter overriding the station's transmission signal to broadcast a video of himself in a Max Headroom mask being spanked. This incident has subsequently gained a degree of cult myth about it.
  • CBS becomes the last American network to cease a chime intonation at the beginning of telecasts; satellite feeds have made the tones obsolete (their job was to signal to the affiliates to start airing the network feed in sync with everyone else).
  • 227 star Jackée Harry changes her name to "Jackée," which she goes by until 1994.


Television shows






Ending this year

Made for television movies

Changes of network affiliation



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