What Was On TV When



(Above: Rugrats and other shows scheduled for August 11, 1991, from the New York Times "Television" magazine; image from microfilm. © 1991 New York Times Company.)

And now, here's a look at the shows, channels and events that lit up the screens the week Rugrats first went on the air in August 1991.

(Above: 1991 Ad from Sound Advice,
a Florida electronics chain, advertising
TVs, plugging The Simpsons on the side.)


The top 10 TV shows for the week ending 8/4/1991, according to Nielsen:
(When Rugrats premiered, it was during the summer repeat season.)

1. Roseanne, ABC
2. 60 Minutes, CBS
3. Coach, ABC
4. Designing Women, CBS
5. Unsolved Mysteries, NBC
6. Murphy Brown, CBS
7. Cheers, NBC
8. 20/20, ABC
9. Northern Exposure, CBS
10. Murder, She Wrote; CBS

Among other notable shows:

13. Full House (ABC)
15. In The Heat Of The Night (the series) (NBC)
17. Fresh Prince (NBC)
22. Married With Children (Fox)
23. Beverly Hills 90210 (Fox)
25. The Cosby Show (NBC)
26. Evening Shade (CBS)
29. America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC)
31. Circus Of The Stars (CBS)
32. Doogie Howser, MD (ABC)
33. Growing Pains (ABC)
34. Night Court (NBC)
35. Matlock (NBC)
37. In Living Color (special) (Fox)
38. Perfect Strangers (ABC)
39. Law And Order (NBC)
42. Hi Honey, I'm Home (ABC)
43. MacGyver (ABC)
45. LA Law (NBC)
46. The Simpsons (Fox)
47. Wonder Years (ABC)
50. Seinfeld (NBC)
52. Golden Girls (NBC)
53. In Living Color (regular) (Fox)
58. Thirtysomething (ABC)
63. Police Squad (repeats of 1982 ABC series) (CBS)
66. Get A Life (Fox)
67. America's Most Wanted (Fox)
72. Life Goes On (ABC)
73. Cops (Fox)

And now, the bottom 10 shows for that week. Remember these?

75. Verdict (CBS)
76. Whose Side Are You On? (CBS)
77. Morton & Hayes (CBS)
78. Parker Lewis Can't Lose (Fox)
79. Big Deals (ABC)
80. Totally Hidden Video (Saturday) (Fox)
81. Totally Hidden Video (Sunday) (Fox)
82. Comic Strip Live (Fox)
83. Turner and Hooch (The Series) (NBC)
84. Babes (Fox)

Melanie Chartoff Can't Lose

Above: Fox network ad for Parker Lewis Can't Lose, from the Western Illinois edition of the 8/10/1991 issue of TV Guide. The second season opener of Parker Lewis was on the same day as the start of Rugrats on Nickelodeon (this was at a time when Fox started most of their new shows in August, rather than September or October). Also, Melanie Chartoff was a busy actress on TV at the time -- in addition to being the voice of Didi on Rugrats, she was also school principal Ms. Musso on Parker Lewis. And if you wanted to catch her on both shows that night, no problem -- Parker Lewis was on at 7:30PM ET, while the repeat of the Rugrats' debut was at 8:30PM ET. In case you're wondering -- on that night's episode, the students and their parents participate in a toaster-building contest.

© 1991 Fox Broadcasting Company; TV Guide provided by TV Guide Specialists.

Nickelodeon in 1991

Here is Nickelodeon's schedule for the week of August 10, 1991; all times ET.

* indicates a special showing; beginning 8/18/1991; all 3 Nicktoons would only have one showing each a week, on Sunday mornings. Normally, what's seen on Nick-At-Nite Saturday nights would also be seen Sunday nights.

Left: Examples of some of the original programming that appeared on Nickelodeon in 1991 -- Make The Grade, Kids' Court and Family Double Dare. All of these shows were taped at Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios Florida (now Universal Orlando). Universal Studios Florida opened in 1989, while Nick Studios opened a year later, in 1990.

(From a sign that introduced visitors to Nick Studios, sold on eBay; ©1990 Viacom.)

    Saturday              Sunday           Weekdays
6AM                                                    Lassie
6:30AM                                Littl' Bits Kidsworld
7AM                         Eureeka's Castle Mr. Wizard's World
7:30AM                             Kid's Court Yogi Bear
8AM                          Cound Duckula Inspector Gadget
8:30AM                                                  Heathcliff
9AM Inspector Gadget Cartoon Kablooey Lassie
9:30AM Inspector Gadget Maya The Bee
10AM Yogi Bear Doug Eureeka's Castle
10:30AM Rugrats
11AM Out Of Control Ren & Stimpy The Elephant Show
(Sharon, Lois & Bram)
11:30AM SK8TV Salute Your Shorts Fred Penner's Place
12 Noon Dennis The Menace
(1960's sitcom)
Wild & Crazy Kids David The Gnome
12:30PM Clarissa Explains It All The Little Koala
1PM Lassie Fifteen Noozles
1:30PM Flipper Welcome Freshmen Maya The Bee
2PM Special Delivery:
Special Delivery:
"Adventures Of Tom Sawyer"
Littl' Bits
2:30PM Lassie
3PM Special Delivery:
"Drawing A Blank"
3:30PM Special Delivery:
"The Tin Soldier"
Special Delivery:
"Pardon Me For Living"
Looney Tunes
4PM             You Can't Do That On Television Heathcliff
4:30PM                       Make The Grade Yogi Bear
5PM                    Family Double Dare Mork & Mindy
5:30PM Salute Your Shorts Fifteen Hey Dude
6PM                                            Wild & Crazy Kids
6:30PM Welcome Freshman Clarissa Explains It All Get The Picture
7PM                                            Inspector Gadget
7:30PM                                              Looney Tunes
8PM Looney Tunes Doug* Mork & Mindy
8:30PM Bewitched Rugrats* Bewitched
9PM Donna Reed Ren & Stimpy* Get Smart
9:30PM                             Mister Ed Dragnet (' 67 - ' 70)
10PM                        My Three Sons Alfred Hitchcock Presents
10:30PM                    The Patty Duke Show Green Acres
11PM Dobie Gillis Hi Honey, I'm Home
(repeat of latest ABC episode)
The Best of Saturday Night Live
11:30PM                  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Mister Ed
12 Mid                            Bewitched Looney Tunes
12:30AM                          Green Acres Dobie Gillis
1AM             The Best Of Saturday Night Live The Patty Duke Show
1:30AM           America 2 Night (Fernwood 2 Night) My Three Sons
2AM Dragnet (' 67 - ' 70) Infomercials Donna Reed
(except Wednesday: Infomercial)
2:30AM Donna Reed America 2 Night
(Fernwood 2 Night)
3AM Mister Ed Mork & Mindy
3:30AM My Three Sons Get Smart
4AM                   The Patty Duke Show Dragnet (' 67 - ' 70)
4:30AM                         Dobie Gillis Alfred Hitchcock Presents
5AM            America 2 Night (Fernwood 2 Night) Mister Ed
5:30AM                    Dragnet (' 67 - ' 70) Dobie Gillis

Saturday Morning in August 1991

At the time, all three of the big three -- ABC, NBC and CBS -- offered Saturday morning cartoons in their line-up. Fox was just getting their feet wet, while Nickelodeon had less-than-stellar repeats of shows such as Inspector Gadget and Yogi Bear.

Here are the Saturday morning schedules for ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. All times ET; some shows may have been delayed or pre-empted in your area at the time.
8AM Winnie The Pooh Camp Candy Muppet Babies Peter Pan & The Pirates
8:30AM The Wizard Of Oz Captain N and the
Adventures of
Super Mario Bros.
Bobby's World
9AM Slimer! And The
Real Ghostbusters
Garfield And Friends Tom & Jerry Kids
9:30AM Rick Moranis in
Gravedale High
10AM Beetlejuice Kid N' Play Teenage Mutant
Ninja Turtles
Piggsburg Pigs!
10:30AM A Pup Named
Scooby Doo
The Chipmunks
Go to The Movies
Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes
11AM The Bugs Bunny
& Tweety Show
Saved By The Bell Bill and Ted's
Excellent Adventures
(Local Programming)
11:30AM The Adventures of
Raggedy Ann & Andy*
12 Noon Little Rosey Saturday Videos
(ran only a half-hour
on some stations)
Dink, The Little Dinosaur
12:30PM New Kids On The Block CBS Storybreak

* -- Raggedy Ann & Andy was originally seen on on CBS from 1988 to 1990, but starting 7/27/1991, reruns were brought in as a permanent (until the end of August) replacement for Pee Wee's Playhouse (see below).

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