The 80 Greatest Moments in TV History


From Johnny Carson’s farewell to 'Soul Train,' Tim Goodman looks at the best of television’s past for THR’s 80th anniversary issue.

31. O.J. slow-speed chase The white Bronco. The riveting pursuit. You couldn’t turn away. It was the ultimate celebrity-meets-reality moment unfolding in the slow lane.

32. Jack Ruby kills Lee Harvey Oswald on live television Chaos, the further tearing of the social contract and visual proof that the world was scary and uncontrollable.


33. Fall of the Berlin Wall The smashing, sure. But the pouring out of people was
the moment.

34. Ellen DeGeneres coming out on television She spoke into a microphone, so there wouldn’t be any mistake. Another small step in the evolution of television

35. The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show Insanity. And people remember it instantly. Probably because their ears are still ringing from the screaming.

36. Elvis presley on Ed Sullivan See above.

37. The “I Want to Believe” poster on The X-Files It not only defined Mulder but everyone who watched.

38. Newhart finale You might not remember many other episodes of the series, but the “dream” and waking up with Suzanne Pleshette was inspired — a twist and a spoof.

39. The Munich Olympics Terror and tragedy on national television.  

40. First video on MTV The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Later, reality nonsense would kill videos.

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