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Television: Classic Television

TV Listings

What TV shows aired in a given year?

TV schedules and listings will help determine what shows were broadcast in what year(s). Listings and schedules might also give you details such as whether a show was broadcast in color or black-and-white, whether it was a first run or a repeat episode, and language details such as closed-captioning.

Keep in mind that the number of television networks and corresponding options has increased dramatically in the last 50 years. Don't be surprised when early schedule grids and listings show only a small number of available viewing options.

TV Guide

TV Guide magazine is "the" source for referencing what aired on television in a given year. The national magazine was typically published on a weekly basis with occasional double issues. Past issues are not easily found online, though there are a couple of options:

  1. TV Guide Cover Archive. Browse by decade to see which shows, stars, and trends graced the covers of the national magazine.  (See also the image array below.)
  2. Internet Archive.  The Internet Archive contains a few sporadic full issues, with probably the most representation from the 1970s and 1980s. (See also the image array below for specific sample issues.)
Prime Time Television Schedules

epguides.com | Past Grids by Year.  Fall 1970 - Fall 2011. Select a year of interest to display grids listing what aired in the fall of that year.  These grids will easily indicate what day of the week a show aired, as well as its typical time slot. Grids default to airings in the central time zone.

epguides.com | Chronological List by Year.  1946 - 2020.  Chronological lists of which shows aired in a given year.

Daytime Television Shows

Daytime TV Schedule Archive. 1947 - present.  Listings of daytime television across the three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC). Grids are a little more nebulous than with the epguides site (above), as they do not easily indicate time zone referenced.

TV Guide

TV Guide Cover Gallery

TV Guide 1950

1950s

TV Guide 1960

1960s

TV Guide 1970

1970s

TV Guide 1980

1980s

TV Guide 1990

1990s

TV Guide 2000

2000s

TV Guide 2010

2010s

 

TV Guide at the Internet Archive

1953

1958

1967

1974

1977

1980

1982

1988

2000

find more

 

TV Shows

Where can I find information about old TV shows?

TV.com.  If you're not familiar with a show's content, TV.com gives you a summary of the show, cast and crew (including guest stars), lists of episodes with original air dates, and episode summaries.

Are old TV shows available online?

Yes.  There are a variety of streaming sites that offer free access to "classic" television shows and commercials. Perhaps not surprisingly, free viewing options also usually contain ads.

Options include (in alphabetical order):

* Sites have expanded episode access with premium account membership.