1963 in television

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List of years in television (table)

The year 1963 involved some significant events in television. Below are lists of notable TV-related events.


  • January 13 – BBC Television broadcasts the play The Madhouse on Castle Street in the Sunday-Night Theatre strand. The play co-stars a young American folk music singer named Bob Dylan.
  • April 1 – German terrestrial channel ZDF (pronounced tseht-day-ehf) began broadcasting.
  • May 15 – First television pictures transmitted from a US manned space capsule ("Faith 7"). Due to the poor picture quality, only NBC carries the transmission, and on tape-delay, not live.
  • July 22 – Bob Crane quits his DJ job at radio station KNX to become a regular on The Donna Reed Show.
  • September 2 – CBS Evening News becomes network television's first half-hour weeknight news broadcast, when the show is lengthened from 15 to 30 minutes.
  • September 9 – NBC also expands its evening network news program to 30 minutes.
  • September 27 – The Littlest Hobo debuts on TV across North America with the first episode entitled "Blue Water Sailor".
  • September 29 – The Judy Garland Show debuts on CBS.
  • September 30 – BBC Television begins using a globe as their symbol. They would continue to use it in varying forms until 2002.
  • October 1 – ABC News at last drops its dependence on outside sources of news film and begins to rely on its own camera crews.
  • November 22 – All three major U.S. networks start pre-emptions for a week following the news of John F. Kennedy's assassination. The pre-emptions unofficially begin a few minutes after Kennedy was shot; on the top-rated American soap opera As the World Turns, Nancy Hughes (Helen Wagner) was in the middle of a discussion with Grandpa (Santos Ortega) about Bob's (Don Hastings) decision to invite Lisa (Eileen Fulton) to Thanksgiving dinner. Walter Cronkite interrupted Wagner mid-speech to deliver the bulletin. As the World Turns continued for one more scene (at that time, the show was transmitted live) before Cronkite cut in permanently. News of the assassination, and later the funeral procession, were the first television broadcasts across the Pacific Ocean (via Relay 1 satellite).
  • November 23 – UK BBC tv That Was The Week That Was broadcasts its famous dramatic Kennedy tribute episode. William Hartnell stars in the very first episode of Doctor Who (An Unearthly Child). So many people complained of having missed it (because of the disruption to schedules caused by the assassination) that the following Saturday episode 1 was repeated before the broadcast of episode 2.
  • November 24 – Jack Ruby murders John F. Kennedy's suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald live on television.
  • December 7 – Instant Replay is used for the first time during the live transmission of the Army Navy Game by its inventor, director, Tony Verna.
  • For the first time, most Americans say that they get more of their news from television than newspapers.
  • The television remote control is authorized by the FCC.



Ending this year

Date Show Debut
April 2 Hawaiian Eye 1959
May 14 Empire 1962
May 21 Laramie 1959
The Voice of Firestone 1949
June 20 Leave It to Beaver 1957
June 23 The Real McCoys


Date Name Notability
January 4 Dave Foley Canadian comedic actor (The Kids in the Hall)
February 17 Michael Jordan NBA basketball player
February 26 Chase Masterson Actress (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
April 18 Eric McCormack Actor (Will & Grace, Perception)
May 8 Stella Gonet Actress (Holby City)
May 25 Mike Myers Actor (Saturday Night Live)
May 29 Lisa Whelchel Actress (The Facts of Life)
June 9 Johnny Depp Actor (21 Jump Street)
June 15 Helen Hunt Actress (Mad About You)
June 17 Greg Kinnear Actor (Talk Soup)
July 30 Lisa Kudrow Actress (Friends)
August 19 John Stamos Actor (Jesse on Full House)
November 21 Nicollette Sheridan Actress (Knots Landing)
December 18 Brad Pitt Actor


Date Name Age Notability
June 10 Timothy Birdsall 27 English cartoonist (That Was the Week That Was)
November 22 John F. Kennedy 46 35th President of the United States