January 28 - NASA's Space Shuttle Challenger spacecraft explodes, live on television.
February 11 - Culture Club lead singer Boy George appears on an episode of The A-Team
February 14 - Frank Zappa appears on an episode of the popular television series Miami Vice. Zappa portrays a crime boss named "Mr. Frankie".
February 22 - In honor of the 20th anniversary of The Monkees premiering on television, MTV broadcasts "Pleasant Valley Sunday," a 22-hour marathon of Monkees episodes.
May 10 - Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe marries actress Heather Locklear.
May 22 - Cher calls David Letterman an "A**hole" on the air during a taping of Late Night with David Letterman.
July 18 - A tornado is broadcast live on KARE TV in Minnesota when the station's helicopter pilot makes a chance encounter.
September 8 - A.M. Chicago changes its name to the Oprah Winfrey Show and premieres on national television
October - The FOX Broadcasting Company becomes the United States' fourth commercial broadcast television network.
Designing Women (1986-1993)
The Disney Sunday Movie (1986-1990) (revival of 1954-1983 series)
Pee-Wee's Playhouse (1986-1991)
Popular Television Shows
The A-Team (1983-1987)
All My Children (1970-present)
The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
Dr Who (1963-1989)
The Facts of Life (1979-1988)
Family Ties (1982-1989)
The Golden Girls (1985-1992)
Hill Street Blues (1981-1987)
Late Night with David Letterman (1982-1993)
Miami Vice (1984-1989)
Saturday Night Live (1975-present)
Sesame Street (1969-present)
St. Elsewhere (1982-1988)
The Tonight Show (1954-present)
Wheel of Fortune (1975-present)
Ending this year
Diff'rent Strokes (1978-1986)
The Fall Guy (1981-1986)
Knight Rider (1982-1986)
Search for Tomorrow (1951-1986) (soap opera)
Trapper John, M.D (1979-1986)
April 2 - Christopher Walberg, voice actor ("Stinky Peterson" from Hey Arnold)
June 13 - The Olsen twins
November 18 - Joseph Ashton, voice actor ("Otto Rocket" from Rocket Power)
January 14 - Donna Reed, actress
January 24 - Gordon MacRae, actor, singer
May 28 - Don MacLaughlin, longtime actor on As the World Turns
July 15 - Florence Halop, actress
November 2 - Paul Frees, voice actor
December 2 - Desi Arnaz, actor, musician