1961 in television
The year 1961 in television involved some significant events. Below is a list of television-related events during 1961.
- January 20 – John F. Kennedy is the first U.S. president to be inaugurated with a color telecast. NBC covers the inauguration in color.
- January 25 – John F. Kennedy held the first live televised presidential press conference.
- Danger Man (United Kingdom) (1960–1961, 1964–1966) is cancelled due to lack of interest from Australian broadcasters. The series would be revived later.
- February 19 – CFTM-TV, future flagship station of Quebec's TVA network, begins broadcasting in Montreal.
- April 11 – the Eichmann trial was the first televised trial, shown on a one-day delay basis in the U.S. with videotape flown in daily from Jersualem
- April 29 – Westward Television, the first ITV franchise for South West England, begins broadcasting.
- May 5 – Alan B. Shepard, the first U.S. astronaut in space aboard the spacecraft Freedom 7 in a 15-min. suborbital flight. The launch is watched by 45 million U.S. viewers.
- May 9 – In a speech on "Television and the Public Interest" to the National Association of Broadcasters in the United States, Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton N. Minow describes commercial television programming as a "vast wasteland" and tells the broadcasters that they could do a better job of serving the public.
- May 29 – Dave Garroway announces his decision to quit the Today show.
- July 1 – The soap opera series The Brighter Day airs its first episode after taping locations are moved from New York City to Los Angeles. As a result, key character Babby Dennis and her love interest are written out of the series; the actors who played them didn't want to relocate.
- September 1 – Border Television, the ITV franchise for the English-Scottish Border and Isle of Man, begins broadcasting.
- September 23 – NBC begins its long-running NBC Saturday Night at the Movies participating, with a broadcast of the 1953 Marilyn Monroe picture How to Marry a Millionaire.
- September 30 – Grampian Television, the ITV franchise for North East Scotland, begins broadcasting.
- October 1 – CTV Television Network (CTV) is launched in Canada, the first privately owned network in the country.
- October 29 - DZBB-TV Channel 7, the third television station in the Philippines owned by Republic Broadcasting System (now GMA Network) of American war correspondent Robert "Uncle Bob" Stewart, was launched after the success of radio station DZBB.
- November 4 – (Radiotelevisione italiana)'s second television channel (now named Rai Due) first broadcasts to 52% of the available households in Italy.
- November 19 – Lucille Ball marries Gary Morton.
- December 15 – Sam and Friends broadcasts their last episode.
- December 31 – Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) starts television broadcasts, bringing television to the Republic of Ireland for the first time.
- WBNB airs the first television broadcast in the Virgin Islands. (The station would be destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.)
- January 5 – Mister Ed (1961–1966)
- January 7 – The Avengers on ITV in UK (1961–1969)
- January 23 – The Americans on NBC
- March 17 – Five Star Jubilee on NBC
- April 29 – ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961–2006)
- August 19 – Four Corners, Australia's first current affairs program (1961–present)
- September 9 – The Jo Stafford Show on ITV (1961)
- September 17 – Car 54, Where Are You? on NBC (1961–1963)
- September 28 – Hazel on NBC (1961–1966)
- October 1 –
- October 2 –
- October 3 – The Dick Van Dyke Show on CBS (1961–1966)
- October 7 – It's Academic (1961–present)
- November 8 – KVN (Клуб, Весёлых и Находчивых, Klub Vesyólykh i Nakhódchivykh, "Club of the Funny and Inventive") on The First Channel in the Soviet Union (1961–1972, 1986–present)
- December 11 – The Mike Douglas Show (1961–1981)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962)
- American Bandstand (1952–1989)
- Armchair Theatre (UK) (1956–1968)
- As the World Turns (1956–2010)
- Blue Peter (UK) (1958–present)
- Bonanza (1959–1973)
- Bozo the Clown (1949–present)
- Bringing Up Buddy, 1960–1961
- Candid Camera (1948–present)
- Captain Kangaroo (1955–1984)
- Cheyenne (1955–1962)
- Come Dancing (UK) (1949–1995)
- Coronation Street (UK) (1960–present)
- Danger Man (UK) (1960–1961, 1964–1966)
- Dixon of Dock Green (UK) (1955–1976)
- Face the Nation (1954–present)
- Grandstand (UK) (1958–2007)
- Gunsmoke (1955–1975)
- Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951–present)
- Hancock's Half Hour (1956–1962)
- Hawaiian Eye (1959–1963)
- Juke Box Jury (1959–1967, 1979, 1989–1990)
- Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963)
- Love of Life (1951–1980)
- Margie, 1961–1962
- Meet the Press (1947–present)
- My Three Sons (1960–1972)
- Opportunity Knocks (UK) (1956–1978)
- Panorama (UK) (1953–present)
- Rocky and His Friends (1959-1961) ends earlier in 1961 to resume later in 1961 on NBC as The Bullwinkle Show (1961–1964)
- Search for Tomorrow (1951–1986)
- The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952–1966)
- The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968)
- The Alvin Show (1961-1962)
- The Bell Telephone Hour (1959–1968)
- The Bugs Bunny Show (1960-2000)
- The Donna Reed Show (1958–1966)
- The Ed Sullivan Show (1948–1971)
- The Edge of Night (1956–1984)
- The Flintstones (1960–1966)
- The Good Old Days (UK) (1953–1983)
- The Guiding Light (1952–2009)
- The Huckleberry Hound Show (1958–1962)
- The Jack Benny Show (1950–1965)
- The Lawrence Welk Show (1955–1982)
- The Milton Berle Show (1954–1967)
- The Price Is Right (1956–1965)
- The Quick Draw McGraw Show (1959–1962)
- The Secret Storm (1954–1974)
- The Sky at Night (UK) (1957–present)
- The Yogi Bear Show (1961-1962)
- The Today Show (1952–present)
- The Tonight Show (1954–present)
- The Twilight Zone (1959–1964, 1985–1989, 2002–2003)
- The Voice of Firestone (1949–1963)
- This Is Your Life (UK) (1955–2003)
- Top Cat (1961-1962)
- Truth or Consequences (1950–1988)
- Walt Disney Presents (1958–1961) ends on September 17 to resume on September 24 on NBC as Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (1961–1969)
- What the Papers Say (UK) (1956–2008)
- What's My Line (1950–1967)
- Window on Main Street (1961–1962)
- Zoo Quest (UK) (1954–1964)
Ending this year
|January 1||General Motors Presents (Can)||1958|
|May 15||The Americans||1961|
|June 20||The Army Game (UK)||1957|
|June 29||The Ford Show||1956|
|June 30||Hancock's Half Hour|
|September 18||Peter Gunn||1958|
|September 22||Five Star Jubilee||1961|
|Unknown||This Is Your Life (US)||1952|
Changes of network affiliation
|Show||Moved from||Moved to|
|Walt Disney Presents||ABC||NBC|
|Rocky and His Friends|
|February 3||Anna May Wong||56||American actress|
|May 22||Joan Davis||53||Actress (I Married Joan)|
|August 26||Gail Russell||36||American actress|
|August 30||Charles Coburn||84||Actor|
|September 10||Leo Carrillo||80||Actor (The Cisco Kid)|
|October 11||Chico Marx||74||Actor (member of the Marx Brothers)|
|November 24||Ruth Chatterton||68||Actress|