1981–82 United States network television schedule

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The following is the 1981–82 network television schedule for the three major English language commercial broadcast networks in the United States. The schedule covers primetime hours from September 1981 through August 1982. The schedule is followed by a list per network of returning series, new series, and series cancelled after the 1980–81 season. All times are Eastern and Pacific, with certain exceptions, such as Monday Night Football.

New series are highlighted in bold.

Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its rank and rating as determined by Nielsen Media Research.[1]

  Yellow indicates the programs in the top 10 for the season.
  Cyan indicates the programs in the top 20 for the season.
  Magenta indicates the programs in the top 30 for the season.

Note: A Writers Guild of America strike hindered the ability to start airing shows in a timely manner. The shows in the schedule were the first to air new episodes in their respective time periods as they premiered between September and early December. The debut month for each new series that had been intended for a fall premiere is noted as to when it actually appeared.

PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, was in operation but the schedule was set by each local station.


Network 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Code Red (Nov.) Today's FBI (Oct.) The ABC Sunday Night Movie (22/19.5)
CBS 60 Minutes (2/27.7) Archie Bunker's Place (12/21.6) One Day at a Time (10/22.0) Alice (5/22.7) The Jeffersons (3/23.4) Trapper John, M.D. (15/21.1)
(Tied with Hart to Hart)
NBC Fall Local CHiPs NBC Sunday Night Movie (Oct.)
Spring Father Murphy

Note : On NBC, The Powers of Matthew Star was supposed to have aired 7-8 p.m., starting December 6, but production difficulties forced its delay into the next season.


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall That's Incredible! (28/18.4)
(Tied with T.J. Hooker)
Monday Night Football (11/21.8)
Winter ABC Monday Night Movie (8/22.5)
Summer Best of the West Monday Night Baseball
CBS Fall Private Benjamin The Two of Us M*A*S*H (9/22.3) House Calls (23/19.2) Lou Grant
Winter Mr. Merlin Private Benjamin
Spring Private Benjamin Report to Murphy Making the Grade
Summer WKRP in Cincinnati House Calls
Follow-up Filthy Rich
NBC Little House on the Prairie (24/19.1)
(Tied with The Facts of Life)
NBC Monday Night at the Movies


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Happy Days (18/20.6) Laverne & Shirley (20/19.9) Three's Company (4/23.3) Too Close for Comfort (6/22.6) Hart to Hart (15/21.1)
(Tied with Trapper John, M.D.)
Spring Joanie Loves Chachi
CBS Preliminary Local The CBS Tuesday Night Movies
Fall Simon & Simon (Nov.)
Spring Q.E.D.
NBC Preliminary NBC Tuesday Night at the Movies Local
Fall Father Murphy (Nov.) Bret Maverick (Dec.) Flamingo Road
Spring Bret Maverick Flamingo Road Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters
Follow-up The Shape of Things
Follow-up Various
Summer Cassie & Co. Flamingo Road
Follow-up Father Murphy Bret Maverick McClain's Law

Note: On ABC, Joanie Loves Chachi premiered March 23, 1982, at 8:30 pm, in place of Laverne & Shirley. On CBS, Q.E.D. ran for 6 weeks at 8pm, from March 23 to April 27.[2]


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Preliminary The Greatest American Hero Specials Dynasty (19/20.2)
Fall The Fall Guy (Nov.) (26/19.0)
CBS Preliminary Mr. Merlin (Oct.) WKRP in Cincinnati The CBS Wednesday Night Movies
Fall Nurse Shannon (Nov.)
Winter WKRP in Cincinnati The Two of Us The CBS Wednesday Night Movies
Spring Herbie, the Love Bug WKRP in Cincinnati Baker's Dozen Shannon
NBC Fall Real People (21/19.7) The Facts of Life (24/19.1)
(Tied with Little House on the Prairie)
Love, Sidney (Oct.) Quincy, M.E.
Spring Teachers Only

NOTE: The only episode of the sitcom Cass Malloy aired on CBS from 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on July 21, 1982. Although not picked up as a regular series, it served as the pilot for the 1987–1989 syndicated sitcom She's the Sheriff.


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Mork & Mindy Best of the West Bosom Buddies Taxi 20/20
Follow-up Barney Miller (Nov.)
Spring Police Squad! Bosom Buddies 9 to 5
Follow-up No Soap, Radio Mork & Mindy Barney Miller
Summer Darkroom
CBS Preliminary Magnum, P.I. (17/20.9) Nurse Knots Landing
Fall Knots Landing Jessica Novak (Nov.)
Spring Cagney & Lacey Knots Landing
NBC Fall Harper Valley Lewis & Clark (Oct.) Diff'rent Strokes Gimme a Break! (Oct.) Hill Street Blues (27/18.6)
Mid-Season Fame

Note: On CBS, Nurse aired at 9-10 p.m. and Knots Landing at 10-11 p.m., both in September and October. On ABC, Bosom Buddies aired at 9-9:30 p.m. in October.


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Benson Bosom Buddies Darkroom (Nov.) Strike Force (Nov.)
Winter Barney Miller Best of the West Making a Living
Spring The Phoenix
Follow-up Maggie The ABC Friday Night Movie
CBS Fall The Incredible Hulk The Dukes of Hazzard (6/22.6)
(Tied with Too Close for Comfort)
Dallas (1/28.4)
Winter The Dukes of Hazzard (6/22.6)
(Tied with Too Close for Comfort)
Dallas (1/28.4) Falcon Crest (13/21.4)
Summer Nurse
NBC Fall NBC Magazine McClain's Law (Nov.) Local
Winter Cassie & Co.
Follow-up NBC Friday Night at the Movies
Spring Jokebook Chicago Story McClain's Law
Summer Lewis & Clark Cassie & Co.


Network 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
ABC Fall Maggie (Oct.) Making a Living* The Love Boat (14/21.2) Fantasy Island (30/18.3)
Follow-up Open All Night (Nov.)
Winter King's Crossing
Spring T.J. Hooker (28/18.4)
(Tied with That's Incredible!)
CBS Walt Disney The CBS Saturday Night Movies
NBC Fall Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters Nashville Palace Fitz and Bones
Follow-up The Facts of Life Lewis & Clark Billy Crystal Comedy Hour
Winter One of the Boys Harper Valley PTA Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters Television: Inside and Out
Follow-up Chicago Story McClain's Law
Spring Harper Valley PTA The Facts of Life Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters NBC Magazine
Summer One of the Boys Lewis & Clark NBC Saturday Night at the Movies

(*) Also known as It's a Living.

Note: On ABC, Maggie was replaced by Open All Night, effective November 28; King's Crossing, which was supposed to have aired 8-9 p.m., was delayed until February, 1982, as an indirect result of the Writers Guild of America strike.

By network[edit]




Note: The * indicates that the program was introduced in midseason.


  1. ^ Highest-rated series is based on the annual top-rated programs list compiled by Nielsen Media Research and reported in: Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  2. ^ "TV Listings for - March 23, 1982 - TV Tango".