Total Nerd What Was The Most Popular TV Show The Year You Were Born  

Jonathan H. Kantor
2.5k votes 919 voters 70.5k views 26 items

List Rules Vote up the shows that best represent the year in which they reached peak popularity.

Television is a big part of our lives. Most people spend a few hours a night sitting in front of their idiot box, and it's easy to recall your favorite shows throughout major periods of your life. However, most folks don't remember much from their time spent as an infant, so you might not have ever asked yourself what was the biggest TV show the year you were born?

It might surprise you to find out the biggest TV show of your birth year, even if the show persisted well into your childhood. This knowledge can offer some insight into what actors your parents enjoyed before you came along and forced them to watch Big Bird and Elmo. Not many of these series are still on television, but every one of them is remembered among the most successful TV shows of their time. 


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Video: YouTube

Home Improvement is one of the most successful series of the '90s. The show first aired on September 17, 1991, and introduced audiences to Tim Allen and Pamela Anderson. Allen plays Tim Taylor, an inept but optimistic host of a local home improvement television show called Tool Time. He constantly hurts hsimself or does foolish things while his more competent assistant, Al Boreland (Richard Karn), fixes his mistakes. 

Actors: Tim Allen, Patricia Richardson, Earl Hindman

Premiered: 1991

Number of Seasons: 8

Also Ranked

#50 on The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

#34 on The Most Important TV Sitcoms

#15 on Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Time

#49 on The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

134 61
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2 148 VOTES

1983 — The A-Team


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Though its run was relatively short-lived (1983 to 1987), The A-Team remains a cultural influence in modern television. The series stars a group of former US Special Forces members who are court-martialed for crimes they never committed. The group escapes, and goes on the run to work as soldiers of fortune. The A-Team helped make the career of Mr. T and even spawned a feature film, which was released by 20th Century Fox in 2010.

Actors: George Peppard, Mr. T, Dwight Schultz

Premiered: 1983

Number of Seasons: 5

Also Ranked

#36 on The Best Sitcoms of the 1980s

#32 on The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

#95 on The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time

#99 on The All-Time Greatest TV Pilots

105 43
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3 176 VOTES

1996 — Friends


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When it first aired on September 22, 1994, nobody could have predicted that Friends would develop into a cultural phenomenon that would launch the careers of Jenifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Courtney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow. What began as a show about a bunch of 20-somethings chilling out at a coffee shop quickly birthed characters the audience could relate to and love. Friends ran for a total of 10 seasons consisting of 236 episodes and spawned a spin-off called Joey, which ran for two seasons.

Actors: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow

Premiered: 1994

Number of Seasons: 10

Also Ranked

#10 on The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch

#5 on The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

#33 on The TV Shows with the Best Writing

#3 on The Greatest TV Shows for Women

121 55
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4 122 VOTES

1982 — Magnum, P.I.


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Video: YouTube

Magnum, P.I. is a crime drama series starring Tom Selleck as the titular Thomas Magnum. Set in Oahu, HI, the series first premiered in 1980 and ran through 1988 with a total of 162 episodes. Although Selleck had been working consistently since 1969, his role on the series helped establish him as a Hollywood heartthrob and is perhaps the most memorable part of his career. Magnum, P.I. won numerous Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Awards through its broadcast run.

Actors: Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley

Premiered: 1980

Number of Seasons: 8

Also Ranked

#45 on The Best Sitcoms of the 1980s

#40 on Shows with the Best Freakin' Series Finales of All Time

#17 on The Best CBS Shows of All Time

#57 on The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

88 34
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