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How To: Find Television Shows

Use television listings to find classic shows online.


Using TV Listings

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:

Prime Time Television Schedules | 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. | 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.

Finding TV Guide

The HWS Library does not have print or electronic issues of TV Guide magazine in its collections. Two options will assist you with accessing this title.

TV Guide Cover Gallery

TV Guide magazine has a complete gallery of covers on its website. Cover images represent people and shows that were popular, controversial, or otherwise being talked about at that time.

TV Guide 1950


TV Guide 1960


TV Guide 1970


TV Guide 1980


TV Guide 1990


TV Guide 2000


TV Guide 2010



TV Guide at the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive has some sample issues of TV Guide magazine from across the decades. Browse issues below or select "find more" to see others.










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Finding TV Shows

Where can I find information about older TV shows?

IMDB.  If you're not familiar with a show's content, IMDB gives you a summary of the show, including cast, lists of episodes with original air dates, and episode summaries.

Are older 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):