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1980-1981 Television Season

The fall of 1980 included the TV miniseries Shogun, but the top five series of 1980-81 were Jeffersons, Love Boat, M*A*S*H, Dukes of Hazzard, with the most popular being Dallas. (See below for the list of the top 30 programs.)

There was a actors' strike in 1980 called by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists that prevented many of these shows from starting in September as they annually have. Some did not get started until January of 1981.

Shows that started before 8:00 p.m. on Sundays and therefore not on our grid below include 60 Minutes, The Wonderful World of Disney, and Those Amazing Animals. Select a show below to read all about it and to share your memories!

Prime Time TV Schedule for 1980-1981
    8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
Shows that aired on Mondays ABC That's Incredible! Monday Night Football
CBS Flo Ladies' Man M*A*S*H House Calls Lou Grant
NBC Little House on the Prairie NBC Monday Night Movie
Shows that aired on Tuesdays ABC Happy Days Laverne & Shirley Three's Company Too Close for Comfort Hart to Hart
CBS White Shadow CBS Tuesday Night Movie
NBC Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo B.J. and the Bear Steve Allen Comedy Hour
Shows that aired on Wednesdays ABC Eight is Enough Taxi Soap Vega$
CBS Enos CBS Wednesday Night Movie
NBC Real People Diff'rent Strokes Facts of Life Quincy, M.E.
Shows that aired on Thursdays ABC Mork & Mindy Bosom Buddies Barney Miller It's A Living 20-20
CBS Waltons Magnum P.I. Knots Landing
NBC Games People Play NBC Thursday Night Movie
Shows that aired on Fridays ABC Benson I'm a Big Girl Now ABC Friday Night Movie
CBS Incredible Hulk Dukes of Hazzard Dallas
NBC Marie Speak Up America NBC Magazine with David Brinkley
Shows that aired on Saturdays ABC Breaking Away Love Boat Fantasy Island
CBS WKRP in Cincinnati Tim Conway Show Freebie and the Bean Secrets of Midland Heights
NBC Barbara Mandrell & the Mandrell Sisters Walking Tall Hill Street Blues
Shows that aired on Sundays ABC Charlie's Angels ABC Sunday Night Movie
CBS Archie Bunker's Place One Day at a Time Alice Jeffersons Trapper John, M.D.
NBC CHiPS Big Event
    8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30

Note: Television seasons have generally begun in September of each year. And new shows often do not last the entire season. The shows below began the new season but did not necessarily run all the way through to summer reruns.
Continued - Indicates show began before the time period indicated. 

1980-81 Ratings

Rank Show Network Estimated
1. Dallas CBS 27,565,500
2. Dukes of Hazzard CBS 21,812,700
3. 60 Minutes CBS 21,573,000
4. M*A*S*H CBS 20,534,300
5. Love Boat ABC 19,415,700
6. Jeffersons CBS 18,776,500
7. Alice CBS 18,297,100
8. House Calls CBS 17,897,600
9. Three's Company ABC 17,897,600
10. Little House on the Prairie NBC 17,657,900
11. One Day at a Time CBS 17,578,000
12. Real People NBC 17,178,500
13. Archie Bunker's Place CBS 17,098,600
14. Magnum P.I. CBS 16,779,000
15. Happy Days ABC 16,619,200
16. Too Close for Comfort ABC 16,619,200
17. Fantasy Island ABC 16,539,300
18. Trapper John, M.D. CBS 16,539,300
19. Diff'rent Strokes NBC 16,539,300
20. Monday Night Football ABC 16,459,400
21. Laverne & Shirley ABC 16,459,400
22. That's Incredible! ABC 16,379,500
23. Hart to Hart ABC 15,900,100
24. ABC Sunday Night Movie ABC 15,500,600
25. CHiPS NBC 15,500,600
26. Facts of Life NBC 15,420,700
27. Lou Grant CBS 15,260,900
28. Knots Landing CBS 15,181,000
29. NBC Monday Night Movie NBC 15,021,200
30. Waltons CBS 14,861,400
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