Twenty years ago, the nation was also enthralled by prime-time soap operas. "Dallas" had been on the air for four years, "Knots Landing" and "Falcon Crest" were about to celebrate third birthdays, and "Dynasty" was just a little more than a year old. "Dallas" was the No. 2 rated show for the season, and the other three were all in the top 30.
There were other wildly popular series that season that we've forgotten today or we'd like to, anyway. For example, "Three's Company" had been running for five years and was still ranked No. 6. "The A-Team" was a favorite, as were "9 to 5" and a spinoff from "All in the Family" called "Gloria." ("All in the Family" had been renamed "Archie Bunker's Place" after Edith died of a stroke, but it nevertheless was still on the air, tied for No. 22 with "That's Incredible.")
Now for the show that came in dead last in the top 30 that year: "The Dukes of Hazzard" was halfway through its six-year run. Oddly, the show and its souped-up Dodge Charger named "General Lee" still resonates today, not in the annals of television so much as in the annals of Virginia politics. (Although the series' star car never seemed to show a scratch on television, close to 300 lookalikes were smashed up during filming.)
Only one show from that season, and it was the No. 1 show, still lives on in prime-time TV today. "60 Minutes" was created in 1968 by Don Hewitt, who will forever be remembered for another TV invention "supers," those ubiquitous identifying labels that pop up under the faces of TV's talking heads. Hewitt still runs "60 Minutes," but just one of the newsmagazine's original correspondents remains with the show. Mike Wallace is still there every Sunday night on CBS.
When Emmy night rolled around for the 1982-83 season, Academy voters named "Cheers," which was not a top-30 show, as the best comedy series and "Hill Street Blues," which viewers rated No. 21, as the best drama series.
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