TV In The 70s
By the time 70s rolled around, it is safe to say that most Americans owned a TV.
In addition, most of those TV sets in the 70s – at least by the middle of the decade – were color.
Some Americans were now able to get more than 3 or 4 TV channels, thanks to UHF (ultra-high frequency) stations and – by the end of the decade – the beginnings of cable television.
When watching TV In the 70s, families still gathered around the living room and watched together, but there were TV shows that began to appear that weren’t necessarily appropriate for the the younger viewing audience in America.
TV Shows like All in the Family, which premiered in 1971, involved characters that were very controversy, It remained at the top of the ratings for five years.
Adults also stayed up late to watch Saturday Night Live (originally NBC’s Saturday Night), a rib-busting variety/comedy show that didn’t hesitate to parody even what some considered the most sacred subjects.
Premiering in 1975, the TV show went on to win 21 Primetime Emmy Awards.
There were still lots of TV shows, however, that were family-friendly and enjoyed by all ages. These put forth good values, just like shows of the 50s and 60s, but were certainly a bit more cutting-edge than those of the previous decades.
America watched a single woman struggling in the workplace in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, smiled at the antics of a blended family in The Brady Bunch, watched a fatherless clan make it in the world of music in The Partridge Family, and got a look at the Great Depression and days-gone-by on The Waltons.
Other popular shows that were on TV in the 70s were Shows like Flip Wilson, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Chico and the Man.
Cop/detective shows were quite popular as well but much less graphic than those that appear on 21st century television. In the 70s, families watched Hawaii Five-O, Cannon, Charlie’s Angels, ChiPs, Barretta, and several others.
TV In the 70s, brought us both the past and the future. One of the most popular shows of the 70s decade were M*A*S*H, which brought the Korean War to life in a comedy that remains one of the biggest hits of the 20th century;
Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley, throw-backs to the 50s; and Little House on the Prairie, a charming TV show about 19th century life on the harsh Midwestern prairie. Futuristic shows included The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, and Mork and Mindy.
Lots of viewers regularly watched the Tuesday night ABC Movie of the Week and the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie, but a new genre also came to TV in the 70s – the mini-series.