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The Most Controversial TV Moment From The Year You Were Born

Updated August 3, 2020 63.2k views36 items

At least once per year, something happens on TV that shocks viewers, generates thousands of angry phone calls and letters (remember the pre-internet era??), changes the TV landscape forever, or just gets talked about endlessly for weeks afterwards.The most controversial TV moments from the year you were born may have been the result of a simple accident or came out of a well-orchestrated plot twist. Either way, the most thought-provoking, conversation-stimulating, outrageous moments from TV continue to shock, surprise, and provoke. 

Here are the most controversial TV moments by year, going back decades. Which ones still grab your attention? 

  • 1970: Vinko Bogataj Has A Brutal Ski Jumping Wipeout On Live TV

    1970: Vinko Bogataj Has A Brut is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Controversial TV Moment From The Year You Were Born
    Video: YouTube

    Slovenian ski jumper Vinko Bogataj became synonymous with the "Agony of Defeat" when his failed jump at the World Ski Championships in West Germany became part of the opening for ABC's Wide World of Sports

  • 1971: The 'Rural Purge' - CBS Mass-Cancels 'Green Acres,' 'The Beverly Hillbillies,' 'Hee-Haw,' And Every Other 'Folksy' Show

    1971: The 'Rural Purge' - CBS  is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Controversial TV Moment From The Year You Were Born
    Video: YouTube

    A television moment that spanned across shows, the so-called "Rural Purge" saw the mass cancellation of nine shows on CBS. As networks shifted to more "urban" themes with shows like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, CBS, "canceled everything with a tree — including Lassie," according to Pat Buttram of Green Acres.

  • 1972: Terrorists Take Over The Munich Olympics

    1972: Terrorists Take Over The is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Controversial TV Moment From The Year You Were Born
    Video: YouTube

    When a group of Palestinian terrorists took hostages from the Israeli team at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, events unfolded in real-time. German authorities exchanged gunfire with the terrorists as the media offered updates to millions of viewers worldwide. 

  • 1973: The 'Battle Of The Sexes' Between Billie Jean King And Bobby Riggs

    1973: The 'Battle Of The Sexes is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Controversial TV Moment From The Year You Were Born
    Video: YouTube

    The tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs resulted from a challenge by King after Riggs's repeated assertions about the superiority of men. Ninety million people watched as King beat Riggs in straight sets, 6–4, 6–3, 6–3.

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