Wednesday 6pm: Max 20th Century – 1971 (Part II)

January 1 – The final cigarette advertisements are televised in the United States, with the final one occurring during that evening’s broadcast of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on NBC.
January 3 – BBC Open University broadcasts begin in the UK.
January 12 – CBS airs the first episode of All in the Family, with a disclaimer at the beginning of the program warning viewers about potentially offensive content. Within a year, it became television’s most popular program, and started a trend toward realism in situation comedies.
January 27 – Valerie Barlow is electrocuted by a faulty hairdryer, and then perishes in a house fire on Coronation Street.
February 23 – The Selling of the Pentagon documentary airs on CBS.
March 2 – On an All in the Family episode, Archie and Edith get brand new next-door neighbors—Michael and Gloria’s best friend, Lionel Jefferson (played by Mike Evans) and his parents. The episode marks Isabel Sanford’s first appearance as Louise Jefferson; George Jefferson would not be depicted on-screen until 1973 (by Sherman Hemsley).
March 11 – ABC cancels The Lawrence Welk Show after sixteen years on the network. The show, however, returns to the airwaves in syndication in September, where it would run for another eleven years.
April 3 – RTÉ launches Color television in Ireland with the Eurovision Song Contest 1971, held in Dublin.
May – CBS debuts its schedule for the fall 1971 season, and cancels, in the words of Pat Buttram, “every show that had a tree in it”, including Buttram’s Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Mayberry R.F.D. Hee Haw was also canceled by CBS, but would continue production for the next two decades in syndication.
April 4 – PBS airs Peter Paul and Mary’s “The Song is Love” movie documentary, directed by the most unlikely of people, horror movie’s Tobe Hooper.
June 7 – The UK children’s magazine show Blue Peter buries a time capsule in the grounds of BBC Television Centre, due to be opened on the first episode of the year 2000.
August 1 – The much-acclaimed 6-hour BBC miniseries The Six Wives of Henry VIII, starring Keith Michell as Henry, makes its U.S. premiere; CBS would air it over 6 consecutive Sundays through September 5.
September 13 – U.S. network prime time programming shrinks as the original Prime Time Access Rule takes effect. NBC, unable to take advantage, immediately feels the pinch and fails to win any of the 1971–72 season’s first thirteen weeks.
October 21 – One-off drama Edna, the Inebriate Woman, starring Patricia Hayes, is shown by BBC One in its Play for Today slot.
November – Top-rated As the World Turns loses the #1 slot in the daytime Nielsens for the first time since 1959.
Michael Zaslow first appears as Roger Thorpe on The Guiding Light. – Wikipedia