TV Shows in the 1990s

Saved by the Bell (1990s)

The 1990s had some of the best TV shows ever to grace the small screen — and I’m not talking about Saved by the Bell (which actually was pretty awesome too.)

We’re talking about Seinfeld, Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Twin Peaks, Full House and many more.

Honestly, how can you argue that Seinfeld isn’t the best TV show of all time? It’s absolutely the funniest!

TV Shows in 1990

The Top Ten TV Shows in 1990 were:

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1. Cheers (NBC)
2. 60 Minutes (CBS)
3. Roseanne (ABC)
4. A Different World (NBC)
5. The Cosby Show (NBC)
6. Murphy Brown (CBS)
7. Empty Nest (NBC)
8. America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC)
9. Monday Night Football (ABC)
10. The Golden Girls (NBC)

TV Shows in 1991

In 1991, more Americans were watching a single television broadcast than they had at any other time in history. Hours before, a US-led international coalition had started bombing Iraq and President George Bush, in a televised speech that night, confirmed to the American people the beginning of the Persian Gulf War.

CBS had 5 of the top 10 shows in the fall of 1991. Monday night’s lineup of “Evening Shade,” “Major Dad,” “Murphy Brown,” “Designing Women,” and “Northern Exposure” was the strongest ratings night on television.

The highest rated of the new shows was Tim Allen’s “Home Improvement.”

Home Improvement made its highly successful debut in 1991

Home Improvement made its highly successful debut in 1991

Fox made waves with its high school drama “Beverly Hills 90210” in the summer. The show gained a huge teenage following. “The Simpsons” and “Married… With Children” remained Fox’s most popular shows.

Two major cancellations occurred in 1991. One was mourned by millions when Dallas was cancelled after 14 seasons. Twin Peaks, however liked by hundreds, was not a huge hit and had to be shut down.

In June, Johnny Carson announced that he would leave “The Tonight Show” in May 1992. NBC announced that Jay Leno would replace him.

Two quirky shows debuted in 1991 that my kids still love: Dinosaurs and Eerie, Indiana. The former was a Jim Henson creation.

The Top Ten TV Shows in 1991 were:

1.) 60 Minutes (CBS)
2.) Roseanne (ABC)
3.) Murphy Brown (CBS)
4.) Cheers (NBC)
5.) Home Improvement (ABC)
6.) Designing Women (CBS)
7.) Full House (ABC)
8.) Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
9.) Major Dad (CBS)
10.) Coach (ABC)

TV Shows in 1992

The Top Ten TV Shows in 1992 were:

1. 60 Minutes (CBS)
2. Roseanne (ABC)
3. Home Improvement (ABC)
4. Murphy Brown (CBS)
5. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
6. Coach (ABC)
7. Monday Night Football (ABC)
8. CBS Sunday Night Movie (CBS)
9. Cheers (NBC)
10. Full House (ABC)

TV Shows in 1993

Television in 1993 was rife with sensationalism. In the first week of January, three networks televised docudramas about Amy Fisher, a teenager who shot the wife of her lover.

In April, the FBI’s raid of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas was televised live.

Then came the made-for-TV movie The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom satirized the media’s penchant for lurid docudramas. It aired on HBO in April.

The popular warning: “Due to some violent content, parental discretion is advised” was introduced by all four major networks in 1993.

After 11 wildly successful years, Cheers finally closed their doors.

Conan O'Brien first late night show was in 1993

Conan O’Brien first late night show was in 1993

David Letterman announced on January 14 that his talk show would move from NBC to CBS. Letterman’s show premiered on on August 30 and got off to a fast start. By late October his ratings had surpassed Jay Leno’s. Meanwhile, NBC chose 30-year-old Conan O’Brien as Letterman replacement. O’Brien was a surprising choice, being that he was virtually unknown.

Fox launched its own talk show featuring Chevy Chase, but it bombed harder than Last Action Hero and was cancelled within a month.

NYPD Blue caused a stir in 1993 with its raw language and nudity. 57 of the 225 ABC affiliate stations refused to air the premier. Regardless, it was the hot show of the season.

Influenced by the success of Seinfeld, many new programs starred stand-up comics. Harry Anderson played Dave Barry in “Dave’s World”; Richard Lewis and Don Rickles played father and son in “Daddy Dearest”; and Brett Butler portrayed a divorced mom in “Grace Under Fire,” which went on to be a very successful show.

Steven Spielberg tried his hand at TV in 1993, with an underwater adventure series full of computer generated graphics and special effects called “seaQuest DSV.” It had a quick start, but people were generally bored with it. Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, however, was a surprise hit.

In an effort to boost ratings, Connie Chung became co-anchor of the “CBS Evening News” with Dan Rather.

ESPN2 was introduced in 1993, but that wasn’t the big news in cable TV. The merger of Bell Atlantic and TCI promised to bring the “information superhighway” closer to reality. The plan was to combine video, telephone, cable and computer technologies so that television can provide viewers with a vast number of channels, databases and interactive services.

The Top Ten TV Shows in 1993 were:

1. 60 Minutes (CBS)
2. Home Improvement (ABC)
3. Seinfeld (NBC)
4. Roseanne (ABC)
5. Grace Under Fire (ABC)
6. Coach (ABC)
7. Frasier (NBC)
8. Monday Night Football (ABC)
9. Murphy Brown (CBS)
10. CBS Sunday Night Movie (CBS)

TV Shows in 1994

The Top Ten TV Shows in 1994 were:

1. Seinfeld (NBC)
2. ER (NBC)
3. Home Improvement (ABC)
4. Grace Under Fire (ABC)
5. Monday Night Football (ABC)
6. 60 Minutes (CBS)
7. N.Y.P.D. Blue (ABC)
8. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
9. Friends (NBC)
10. Roseanne (ABC)

TV Shows in 1995

The Top Ten TV Shows in 1995 were:

1. ER (NBC)
2. Seinfeld (NBC)
3. Friends (NBC)
4. Caroline in the City (NBC)
5. Monday Night Football (ABC)
6. The Single Guy (NBC)
7. Home Improvement (ABC)
8. Boston Common (NBC)
9. 60 Minutes (CBS)
10. N.Y.P.D. Blue (ABC)

TV Shows in 1996

The Top Ten TV Shows in 1996 were:

1. ER (NBC)
2. Seinfeld (NBC)
3. Suddenly Susan (NBC)
4. Friends (NBC)
5. The Naked Truth (NBC)
6. Fired Up (NBC)
7. Monday Night Football (ABC)
8. The Single Guy (NBC)
9. Home Improvement (ABC)
10. Touched by an Angel (CBS)

TV Shows in 1997

The Top Ten TV Shows in 1997 were:

1. Seinfeld (NBC)
2. ER (NBC)
3. Veronica’s Closet (NBC)
4. Friends (NBC)
5. Monday Night Football (ABC)
6. Touched by an Angel (CBS)
7. 60 Minutes (CBS)
8. Union Square (NBC)
9. CBS Sunday Movie (CBS)
10. Frasier (NBC)

TV Shows in 1998

The Top Ten TV Shows in 1998 were:

1. ER (NBC)
2. Friends (NBC)
3. Frasier (NBC)
4. Monday Night Football (ABC)
5. Veronica’s Closet (NBC)
6. Jesse (NBC)
7. 60 Minutes (CBS)
8. Touched by an Angel (CBS)
9. CBS Sunday Movie (CBS)
10. Home Improvement (ABC)

TV Shows in 1999

The Top Ten TV Shows in 1999 were:

1. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (ABC)
2. ER (NBC)
3. Friends (NBC)
4. Monday Night Football (ABC)
5. Frasier (NBC)
6. 60 minutes (CBS)
7. The Practice (ABC)
8. Touched by an Angel (CBS)
9. Law & Order (NBC)
10. Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)

Browse 1990s TV Shows below!

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Sam Beckett is the man (he ALWAYS kisses the girl!) and Al is as pervy as they come. I love how every show has a strong moral. So much better script writing than today's shows.
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Last modified: Apr 19, 2013 | Written by Paul Phipps