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430 1980s TV Trivia Questions, Answers, and Fun Facts

How much do you know about 1980s TV? This category is for trivia questions and answers related to 1980s TV (Television). Each one is filled with fun facts and interesting information.
Related Questions & Answers:   Sitcoms of 1980s    1980s Movies (Movies by Year)   1950s TV    1970s TV    1990s TV    The 1980s (Entertainment by Decade)  
1 What 1970s era cop bombed as Rick Blaine in a 1983 television remake of the legendary film "Casablanca"?
Answer: David Soul

David Soul attempted (and failed) to channel Humphrey Bogart in the very short lived "Casablanca" (1983). The show was on the air for only three episodes before getting canceled in April 1983. Soul was considerably more successful as Detective Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson in "Starsky and Hutch" (1975-1979). "Casablanca" also features a young Ray Liotta just two years into his acting career. Scatman Crothers played Sam, the piano player. The show was ranked number 17 on the TV Guide list of "Worst Shows of All Time."

Remarkably, "Casablanca" did win an Emmy Award. Cinematographer Joseph Biroc won for "The Masterbuilder's Woman," the show's second episode.

Robert Blake played Tony Barretta in the show of the same name from 1975 to 1978. Telly Savalas was NYPD Lieutenant Theo Kojak in the eponymous series which ran from 1973 to 1978. And Michael Douglas was Steve Keller in "The Streets of San Francisco" (1972-77).
  From Quiz: Don't Blink Television: 1980s Edition
2 The Seaver family, including Mike, Carol and Ben were on what show?
Answer: Growing Pains

"Growing Pains" debuted in 1985 and ran for seven seasons. The show followed eldest son Mike Seaver as he navigated growing up, in later years the focus shifted to his younger siblings.
  From Quiz: 1980's TV Characters
3 1980: The top rated show for this year often ended with one of the series regulars voicing a complaint that began with: "Did you ever wonder...". Which show was this?
Answer: 60 Minutes

Andy Rooney began his segment "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" in 1978. It replaced Shana Alexander's and James Kilpatrick's "Point/Counterpoint" which was the basis for a famous Saturday Night Live spoof in which Dan Aykroyd yelled at Jane Curtain, "Jane, you ignorant slut."
    Your options: [ The Cosby Show ] [ 60 Minutes ] [ M*A*S*H ] [ Monday Night Football with Howard Cosell ]
  From Quiz: They Said It In The 80s
4 A kids' game show which began in the late 1980s was hosted by Mario Cantone. He would ask players trivia questions and watch them run a maze. He would also yell and throw things over the course while they ran. What show was this?
Answer: Steampipe Alley

The show aired on WWOR, a network based in Secaucus, New Jersey. "Steampipe Alley" ran from 1987 to 1993 and has become a cult classic. Cantone went on to star in several television shows, and continued a successful stand-up comedy career.
    Your options: [ Engine Works ] [ Steampipe Alley ] [ Super Fun Station ] [ World of Adventure ]
  From Quiz: 1980s TV Potpourri
5 Following an extensive and expensive promotional campaign, the ABC Television Network premiered their new drama series, "MacGruder and Loud" on Sunday, January 20, 1985. In the series, Malcolm MacGruder and Jenny Loud worked together in what profession?
Answer: police officers

Malcolm MacGruder (John Getz) and Jenny Loud (Kathryn Harrold) were married uniformed police patrol officers in a large Los Angeles Police Department-type agency, where a strict anti fraternization between officers was enforced. MacGruder and Loud worked hard to keep their marriage secret from police department officials, especially their immediate supervisor, Sgt. Hanson, played by Lee De Brock.

The ABC Network aggressively advertised and hyped the new series from Aaron Spelling Productions, and scheduled the series to premier immediately follow ABC's broadcast of the 1982 Super Bowl game.
The initial ratings, as anticipated by ABC executives were high. What was not anticipated was the steady drop in audience and ratings for the series over the next few months.
After only three weeks and poor ratings, the series was canceled after airing only 14 episodes.
ABC's intent in hastily producing the series was to attract some of the considerable audience of another buddy police series airing on the CBS Network, "Cagney and Lacey" (1982).

The series represented one of the few failures of television series produced by Aaron Spelling Productions.
  From Quiz: Television in the 1980s ... Remember?
6 In which 1980s sitcom, featuring a group of teenagers, was Charlie Moore a leading character?
Answer: Head of The Class

Charlie Moore was the teacher in "Head of the Class", played by Howard Hesseman. The show focused on a group of over achieving honour students at Manhattan's Milliard Fillmore High school. The show ran from 1986 to 1991.
    Your options: [ Saved By The Bell ] [ Head of The Class ] [ Doogie Howser ] [ Growing Pains ]
  From Quiz: Can You Name These TV Actors From The 80s?
7 "We're off to Button Moon_____." What comes next in this theme tune?
Answer: We'll follow Mr Spoon

The main characters in 'Button Moon' were made out of old kitchen equipment. There was Mr and Mrs Spoon and their daughter Tina, who all had wooden spoons for arms and little Egbert who was made out of an egg cup.
  From Quiz: Back to the 80s!
8 Which show featured the following characters: Blair, Jo, Natalie, Tootie and Mrs. Garrett?
Answer: 'The Facts of Life'

George Clooney was a semi-regular on this show.
    Your options: [ 'The Facts of Life' ] [ 'Hello Larry' ] [ 'Diff'rent Strokes' ] [ 'Charles in Charge' ]
  From Quiz: Those 80's Shows
9 1 - 'The Cosby Show'; 2 - 'Cheers'; 3 - 'The Golden Girls'; 4 - 'Growing Pains'; and 5 - 'Night Court'. What year was this, the first for 'A Different World'?
Answer: 1987

'A Different World' starred Jasmine Guy and Kadeem Hardison from 1987 to 1993. The year 1987 was a milestone in that over 50 milloion American families had cable TV. Other popular shows: 'Married...with Children' and 'Thirtysomething'.
  From Quiz: Name the Television Year: 1980s
10 At the time 'Cheers' ended, how many children did Carla have?
Answer: 8

When the show started she had 4. She had the fifth baby in the second season, the sixth in the third season and then twins in the seventh season.
  From Quiz: 1980s Television
11 'Amen'
Answer: Philadelphia
    Your options: [ New York City ] [ Washington, D.C. ] [ Pittsburgh ] [ Philadelphia ]
  From Quiz: 1980s TV Cities
12 Alice Hyatt on 'Alice'
Answer: Waitress

Played by Linda Lavin
    Your options: [ Hotel desk clerk ] [ Short order cook ] [ Waitress ] [ Author ]
  From Quiz: 1980s What's Their Line?
13 While a show based on "Westworld" was successful 35 years later, what science fiction writer bombed with a spinoff called "Beyond Westworld" in 1980?
Answer: Michael Crichton

Crichton attempted to create a "Westworld" television show, and it failed after only three episodes. It is probably most notable as an early acting credit of Connie Selleca of "Greatest American Hero" (1981-86) fame. The basic storyline was about a corporate security chief trying to stop a mad scientist from taking over the world with killer robots.

Crichton was one of the more successful screenwriters of the 1970s, with "Westworld" (1973), "The Andromeda Strain" (1971) and "Coma" (1978) among his credits. He also created the "Jurassic Park" universe and "ER" (1994-2009), one of the most successful medical dramas in television history.
  From Quiz: Don't Blink Television: 1980s Edition
14 Michael Knight and K.I.T.T. appeared in what show?
Answer: Knight Rider

Starring David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, the show ran from 1982-86 in the U.S.

The show put Knight inside a specially built Trans Am that had more gadgets than a typical "James Bond" car. Knight and the car solved various crimes in each episode.
  From Quiz: 1980's TV Characters
15 1981: Which television journalist ended the CBS Evening News with his signature phrase "and that's the way it is" for the last time on March 6, 1981?
Answer: Walter Cronkite

"Uncle Walter" has been called "America's most trusted man." After he left the CBS News in 1981 he later said he may have retired too soon. He was replaced by Dan Rather, who himself was replaced in 2006 by Katie Couric.
    Your options: [ Chet Huntley ] [ Walter Cronkite ] [ John Chancellor ] [ David Brinkley ]
  From Quiz: They Said It In The 80s
16 What host of a variety show wore a checkered black and white suit, sometimes with a flowerpot on his head, and was known to walk off the set during skits?
Answer: Uncle Floyd

"The Uncle Floyd Show" was legendary for its weird atmosphere and many technical difficulties. The credits would sometimes roll while Floyd was still talking to a guest, and Floyd might leave during filming if he felt like it. The host's full name is Floyd Vivino. He was born in 1951 in Paterson, New Jersey. After the television show ended its run, Vivino continued to perform as a comedian. In 2008, he began a radio show based in New Rochelle, New York.
  From Quiz: 1980s TV Potpourri
17 The popular and successful series, "Cagney and Lacey" (1982) ran for seven years on the CBS Television Network. The series starred Tyne Daly as New York City Police Detective Mary Beth Lacey, and Sharon Gless as her partner, Detective Christine Cagney. Among the cast members was Sidney Clute, who played Detective Paul La Guardia. Clute appeared in only 36 episodes in the first years of the series (1982-1985), however, his name and picture appeared in the opening credits for the entire run of the series (125 episodes). Why did Clute's opening credit remain long after he departed the series?
Answer: to honor Clute, who died during production of the series

Sidney Clute passed away on October 2, 1985, while the series was in production. It was the decision on the shows producers to continue to include his name and picture in the opening credits, as a tribute to the late actor.

Sharon Gless was the third actress to play opposite Tyne Daly, in the role of Christine Cagney. For the first six episodes in 1982, the role was played by Meg Foster.
In the television movie which lead to the weekly series, Christine Cagney was played by Loretta Swit, who had gained fame in the role of Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan on the series, "M*A*S*H" (1972).

For each of the six full seasons that Daly and Gless were features in the starring roles, one of them won the Emmy Award for "Best Actress in a Drama Series". Daly won four awards (1983, 1984,1985, and 1988), while Gless won two awards (1986 and 1987).
  From Quiz: Television in the 1980s ... Remember?
18 Ricky Stratton was a leading character in this 80s sitcom, about a teenager's life and lessons he learns along the way. What was the show called?
Answer: Silver Spoons

Ricky Schroder played Ricky Stratton. He was a serious twelve year old boy who went to live with his father, a wealthy man who acted like an over grown kid. Ricky teaches his father how to be a parent and his father teaches him how to have fun. The show ran from 1982 to 1987.
  From Quiz: Can You Name These TV Actors From The 80s?
19 What's the name of Dangermouse's sidekick?
Answer: Penfold

She-ra is He-man's twin sister, Raphael is one of the 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' and Denver is the star of 'Denver the Last Dinosaur.'
  From Quiz: Back to the 80s!
20 On 'Family Ties', who played the role of Alex P. Keaton's (Michael J. Fox) girlfriend in a few episodes?
Answer: Courteney Cox

'Family Ties' aired from 1982 to 1989. Meredith Baxter (Elise), Michael Gross (Steven), Justine Bateman (Mallory) and Tina Youthers (Jennifer) were the other regulars.
  From Quiz: Those 80's Shows
21 1 - 'Dynasty'; 2 - 'Dallas'; 3 - '60 Minutes'; 4 - 'The A Team'; and 5 - 'Simon and Simon'. What was this year, the first for 'Dr. Huxtable' on 'The Cosby Show'?
Answer: 1984

'The Cosby Show' had an 8 year run from 1984 to 1992. 'Murder, She Wrote' also premiere this year. Other popular shows: 'Miami Vice' and 'Highway to Heaven'.
  From Quiz: Name the Television Year: 1980s
22 When the series "Roseanne" debuted in 1988, where was the title character, Roseanne Conner, working?
Answer: A plastics factory

"The Cosby Show's" executive producers, Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner, were also responsible for "Roseanne", and the two shows couldn't have been more opposite. Unlike Clair Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad), who raked in big bucks as an attorney, Roseanne Conner worked a number of blue-collar jobs during the show's run.
  From Quiz: TV Decade - The 1980s
23 On 'The Cosby Show', what were Cliff and Clair's occupations (Cliff's first, Clair's second)?
Answer: Doctor and Lawyer

Cliff was an OBGYN. Clair was a terrific lawyer.
  From Quiz: 1980s Television
24 'Cheers'
Answer: Boston
    Your options: [ Hartford ] [ Los Angeles ] [ Chicago ] [ Boston ]
  From Quiz: 1980s TV Cities
25 Dick Loudon on 'Newhart'
Answer: Innkeeper

Played by Bob Newhart
    Your options: [ Detective ] [ Psychologist ] [ Innkeeper ] [ Butler ]
  From Quiz: 1980s What's Their Line?
26 Which member of the cast of "Friends" has "Misfits of Science" (1985) on their resume?
Answer: Courtney Cox

"Misfits of Science" managed to last 16 episodes before NBC effectively pulled the plug on it in February 1986. Cox starred as Gloria Dinallo, a young woman with telekinesis. The show is about a team of wannabe superheroes who fight crime for a scientific institute. The producers did have some legal wrangles with Marvel over similarities with "X-Men."

Cox played Alex Keaton's girlfriend Lauren on "Family Ties" (1987-1989). She had a second bomb with "The Trouble with Larry", a sitcom starring Bronson Pinchot in 1993.

Jennifer Aniston was on the short-lived series "Molloy" (1990), "Ferris Bueller" (1990-91) and "Muddling Through" (1994) before getting "Friends" (1994-2004).

Matt LeBlanc starred in the short-lived shows "Top of the Heap" (1991) and "Vinnie and Bobby" (1992) before getting "Friends."

Lisa Kudrow gained fame as ditzy waitress Ursula on "Mad About You" (1992-1999).
    Your options: [ Jennifer Aniston ] [ Matt LeBlanc ] [ Lisa Kudrow ] [ Courtney Cox ]
  From Quiz: Don't Blink Television: 1980s Edition
27 Tony, Angela, Mona and Sam were all together in which show?
Answer: Who's the Boss?

Starring Tony Danza and the break out role for Alyssa Milano, "Who's the Boss" was an instant hit from its debut in 1984 until it went off the air in 1992.

The premise had Tony and his daughter Sam (Milano) move in with a highly successful female advertising executive, Angela, to be her housekeeper. Of course having a male housekeeper led to interesting story lines throughout the show.
    Your options: [ Who's the Boss? ] [ 7 Days ] [ The Almighty Johnsons ] [ Remington Steele ]
  From Quiz: 1980's TV Characters
28 1982: Though not a popular saying, this Eddie Murphy character on Saturday Night Live taught us a new way to pronounce the name of a Lionel Richie hit. Which Murphy character gave the world the song "Unce, Tice, Fee Tines a Mady"?
Answer: Buckwheat

During the 1981-82 season of 'SNL' Murphy's character Buckwheat premiered in a sketch promoting his first album "Buh-Weet Sings." He opened the skit with "Hi, Ah'm Buh-Weet. Amembah me?"
    Your options: [ Mr. Robinson ] [ Buckwheat ] [ Little Richard Simmons ] [ Gumby ]
  From Quiz: They Said It In The 80s
29 In the mid-1980s, an independent video channel based in New Jersey had an open-ended playlist which endeared it to fans and musicians alike. It played songs like "Do Fries Go with That Shake?" and "Go For a Soda." What was it?
Answer: U68

The station could be seen in the New York and New Jersey areas. U68's stock of songs tended to be much more varied than larger networks like MTV. It featured many guest spots by local and national artists.
    Your options: [ L12 ] [ U68 ] [ Pi 16 ] [ Quartz ]
  From Quiz: 1980s TV Potpourri
30 During the 1980's, which popular situation comedy series won the most number of Emmy Awards for "Best Comedy Series"?
Answer: Cheers

"Cheers" (1982) won the Emmy Award three times (1984, 1985, and 1989).

"Taxi" (1978) won the Emmy Award twice, in 1980 and in 1981.

"The Golden Girls" (1985) won the Emmy Award twice, in 1986, and then again in 1987.

"The Cosby Show" (1984) won the Emmy Award in 1985.
    Your options: [ The Golden Girls ] [ Taxi ] [ Cheers ] [ The Cosby Show ]
  From Quiz: Television in the 1980s ... Remember?
31 This 80s show ran for over a decade. Norm Peterson was one of the main characters. Which show was it?
Answer: Cheers

George Wendt played the character of Norm Peterson. The show Cheers was about a Boston bar where everyone came to drink and share their stories with each other. The show ran from 1982 to 1993.
    Your options: [ Alf ] [ Cheers ] [ Family Ties ] [ Facts of Life ]
  From Quiz: Can You Name These TV Actors From The 80s?
32 What happens to Eric Wimp if he eats a banana?
Answer: He turns into a super hero

Eric is the star of the show 'Bananaman.' Bananaman's allies were a crow and a policeman called Chief O'Reilly.
  From Quiz: Back to the 80s!
33 Two of my favorite shows of the 1980's were 'Cheers' and 'Night Court'. Which of the following stars won the most Emmys for their role on these shows?
Answer: John Laroquette

John Laroquette (Dan Fielding on 'Night Court') won 4 Emmys. George Wendt (Norm on 'Cheers') was nominated 6 times but never won. John Ratzenberger (Cliff on 'Cheers') received 2 Emmy nominations but never won either. Markie Post played Christine Sullivan on 'Night Court'.
    Your options: [ John Laroquette ] [ John Ratzenberger ] [ George Wendt ] [ Markie Post ]
  From Quiz: Those 80's Shows
34 1 - 'The Cosby Show'; 2 - 'Family Ties'; 3 - 'Murder, She Wrote'; 4 - 'Cheers'; and 5 - '60 Minutes'. What year was this, the first for 'Pee Wee's Playhouse'?
Answer: 1986

'Pee Wee's Playhouse' lasted four years until 1990. Another one of the year's most popular shows was 'ALF'.
  From Quiz: Name the Television Year: 1980s
35 What was the name of the prime-time series that ran intermittently from 1988 to 1990 and featured the Peanuts gang?
Answer: "This is America, Charlie Brown"

The Peanuts gang--Charlie Brown, Snoopy, et al--had been featured in a number of prime-time specials through the years. But it wasn't until the 80s that they had their own prime-time series. "This is America, Charlie Brown" featured the Peanuts re-enacting various events in American history.
  From Quiz: TV Decade - The 1980s
36 Which 'Friends' star had a part on 'Family Ties'?
Answer: Courteney Cox

She played Alex's girlfriend.
    Your options: [ David Schwimmer ] [ Jennifer Aniston ] [ Courteney Cox ] [ Lisa Kudrow ]
  From Quiz: 1980s Television
37 'Designing Women'
Answer: Atlanta
    Your options: [ Miami ] [ Memphis ] [ New Orleans ] [ Atlanta ]
  From Quiz: 1980s TV Cities
38 Joyce Davenport on 'Hill Street Blues'
Answer: Public defender

Played by Veronica Hamel
    Your options: [ Newspaper reporter ] [ Police officer ] [ Public defender ] [ Store clerk ]
  From Quiz: 1980s What's Their Line?
39 What future A-List actress was in the cast of the very short-lived 1980 police drama "B.A.D. Cats"?
Answer: Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer played Samantha "Sunshine" Jensen, an LAPD detective who was part of the Burglary Auto Detail (hence BAD). The show lasted six episodes in January and February of 1980.

It was not Pfeiffer's first role in television; that would be "Delta House" (1979), a short-lived spinoff of "Animal House" in which Pfeiffer was known as "The Bombshell."

Pfeiffer got her big break in "Grease 2" (1983) and since then has starred in many Hollywood films, including "The Witches of Eastwick" (1987), "The Fabulous Baker Boys" (1989) and "White Oleander" (2002).
  From Quiz: Don't Blink Television: 1980s Edition
40 Mike Torello often battled crime boss Ray Luca in what show that ran from 1986-88 on the US airwaves?
Answer: Crime Story

The show struggled for ratings with the more popular "Miami Vice" airing at the same time in the United States. Due to the struggle for ratings, the critically successful show was short lived.

The show followed Dennis Farina's Torello, a Chicago cop as he worked to best local mob boss Ray Luca, played by Anthony Denison.
  From Quiz: 1980's TV Characters
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