English (United States)
Poll: The First Day of Christmas
Which of these US TV firsts do you feel is most significant? Discuss the list here
Poll by: yrnej
Created Dec 25 2016
President Franklin Roosevelt at his home in Hyde Park, NY, 1937
Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first sitting US president to appear on television when he gave the opening address at the 1939 New York World's Fair.
Mary Kay Stearns and John Stearns in Mary Kay and Johnny (1947)
The first show to depict a couple in bed together was Mary Kay and Johnny in 1947, starring in which the two stars, Mary Kay Stearns and John Stearns were married in real life.
Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949)
In 1949 Captain Video and His Video Rangers was the first sci-fi series on TV; the props budget was $25 per episode.
Duncan Renaldo in The Cisco Kid (1950)
The duel honor of being the first hit series in syndication and the first TV show to broadcast in color was earned by The Cisco Kid, which started broadcasting in 1950.
Dave Garroway and J. Fred Muggs in Today (1952)
Premiering in 1952, NBC's Today starring Dave Garroway and chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs was the first early morning network news show. Shockingly, Muggs is still alive and lives in retirement in Tampa Bay, FL.
Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy (1951)
Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo was the first TV character to be depicted as pregnant, though the word "expecting" was used describe her condition. Desi Arnaz, playing Lucy's husband Ricky became the first Hispanic TV star on network television.
Susan Trustman in Another World (1964)
Nine years before Roe vs. Wade, daytime soap opera Another World depicted one of the characters getting an illegal abortion, the first time the procedure had ever been discussed on TV.
Bill Cosby and Robert Culp in I Spy (1965)
With Bill Cosby as Alexander Scott, I Spy is the first to have a black actor in a starring role in 1965
William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek (1966)
During a 1968 episode of Star Trek (1966) William Shatner playing James T. Kirk and Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura executed the first lip-to-lip interracial kiss on TV. Some may point to Sammy Davis Jr. kissing Nancy Sinatra on a TV special as the first but that kiss was lips to cheek. Star Trek was also the first TV show in which the word h--- was uttered.
Cher in The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (1971)
After being censored on shows like I Dream of Jeannie, Gilligan's Island and Star Trek, the first female belly button, gracing the exceptionally long torso of Cher, was shown on an episode of the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.
Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers, Carroll O'Connor, and Jean Stapleton in All in the Family (1971)
Norman Lear's 1971 show All in the Family had many firsts: the first series to be videotaped in front of a live studio audience; the first time a toilet was heard being flushed; the first time a gay character was shown on a network show; and the first time the words g-------t, fairy, spade and n----- were used.
Dan Blocker in Bonanza (1959)
When Dan Blocker, who was playing Hoss on Bonanza, died in 1972 it was the first time a TV show ever had to deal with the death of an actor starring in a prime time show. The producers decided his character would be killed in an accident.
Former Vegas showgirl Valerie Perrine was the first actress to go nude in 1973 on a PBS show called Steambath.
"M.A.S.H." Gary Burghoff circa 1980
The first instance of male nudity on TV was by Gary Burghoff as Radar on M*A*S*H, when his bum was glimpsed as he ran across the camp.
Christine Chubbuck in Kate Plays Christine (2016)
In 1974 newscaster Christine Chubbuck pulled out a gun and committed suicide on the air during her news program. While a tape was made of the event (at Chubbuck's insistence) it has supposedly never aired since.
James Cromwell, Conchata Ferrell, Lee Bergere, Henry Calvert, Al Freeman Jr., Stan Gottlieb, Gloria LeRoy, Jeannie Linero, Richard Masur, and Robin Wilson in Hot l Baltimore (1975)
Running for only 13 episodes in 1975, Hot L Baltimore was the first TV show to have a warning at the start cautioning that the show contained mature themes. The series had several controversial elements, including two lead characters who were prostitutes (and one of which was an illegal immigrant) and one of the first gay couples on network television.
Nick Nolte and Peter Strauss in Rich Man, Poor Man - Book II (1976)
1976's Rich Man, Poor Man became the first TV mini-series.
Charles Rocket in Saturday Night Live (1975)
Charles Rocket was the first person to say f--- on TV when he let it slip during a 1981 episode of Saturday Night Live.
Dick Clark and Sugarhill Gang in Episode #24.43 (1981)
When Sugar Hill Gang performed "Rapper's Delight" on American Bandstand in 1981, it was the first time a rap/hip-hop song was performed on TV.
Adriana Lima, Karolina Kurkova, Selita Ebanks, Izabel Goulart, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Candice Swanepoel, Chanel Iman, and Erin Heatherton in The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (2010)
In 1987, Playtex was the first company to air a lingerie commercial using real models.
Ken Hudson Campbell, Molly Hagan, Rick Lawless, Peter Mackenzie, and William Ragsdale in Herman's Head (1991)
The Fox Network aired the first condom ad (for Trojans) on national TV during a 1991 episode of Herman's Head (1991)
Amanda Donohoe and Michele Greene in L.A. Law (1986)
In a 1991 episode LA Law featured the first lesbian kiss, between Maggie Perkins (Michele Greene) and CJ Lamb (Amanda Donohoe).
Abdul Salaam El Razzac, Stephen Poletti, and Richard Roundtree in Roc (1991)
The first homosexual marriage occurred on a 1991 episode of Roc between Roc's uncle Russell (Richard Roundtree) and his lover Chris Daily (Stephen Poletti).
Wilson Cruz in My So-Called Life (1994)
On the 1994 TV show My So-Called Life, Wilson Cruz played Rickie Vasquez, the first openly gay teenager shown in prime time.
Mark Harmon in Chicago Hope (1994)
The first uncensored usage of the word s--- on television was by Mark Harmon in a 1999 episode of Chicago Hope.
Kerr Smith and Adam Kaufman in Dawson's Creek (1998)
Ethan, played by Adam Kaufman, and Jack (Kerr Smith) shared the first homosexual male kiss on an episode of Dawson's Creek in 2000. The first male-on-male kiss had been scheduled to happen two years earlier on Melrose Place but it was cancelled when advertisers threatened to pull their ads.
William Baldwin and Candis Cayne in Dirty Sexy Money (2007)
Dirty Sexy Money was the first TV show to feature a transgender actress in a reoccurring role when Candis Cayne played Patrick's mistress starting in 2007.
Phil Harris in Deadliest Catch (2005)
Phil Harris from Deadliest Catch was the first reality show persona to have an on-screen death.
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