Total Nerd

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

Jonathan H. Kantor
3.1k votes 1.1k voters 80k 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. 

Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

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

More The A-Team

#91 of 1064 on The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #76 of 291 on The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time #33 of 598 on The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #31 of 67 on The Best Sitcoms of the 1980s

see more on The A-Team
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

When it comes to successful animated television series, it's impossible to discount the achievements of The Simpsons. The series is about an American family who is inexplicably yellow, and follows the adventures of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and a supporting cast comprised of hundreds of characters. The premise began with shorts that were featured on the Tracy Ullman Show but has since become a staple of American televisionThe Simpsons first aired on December 17, 1989 and has continued for well over 600 episodes. 

Actors: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner

Premiered: 1989

Number of Seasons: 24

More The Simpsons

#28 of 758 on The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #3 of 765 on The Best Cartoons of All Time featuring The Funniest Business Names in The Simpsons Ridiculously Smart Simpsons Jokes You Haven't Been Getting for the Last 20 Years

see more on The Simpsons
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

Happy Days didn't premiere in 1976, but that was the year that the show really hit its stride. The show first entered the airwaves in January of 1974, and went on to air 255 30-minute episodes about life in the '50s and early '60s. 

Happy Days stars Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham, but the show quickly shifts focus to its most popular character, Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler). In its day, Happy Days was so popular that it spawned seven spin-off series including Mork & Mindy and Joanie Loves Chachi.

Actors: Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross

Premiered: 1974

Number of Seasons: 11

More Happy Days

#39 of 1064 on The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #79 of 185 on The Greatest TV Shows for Women #18 of 290 on The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History featuring The Best Happy Days Episodes

see more on Happy Days
Ranker Video
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

More Home Improvement

#74 of 1064 on The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #43 of 389 on The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #26 of 290 on The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History #53 of 477 on The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

see more on Home Improvement