This was Television on March 24

1980: Nightline debuts

Created by ABC News president Roone Arledge, the weekly late-night newsmagazine began life as a series of special reports dedicated to the Iran hostage crisis in November 1979. It evolved into its best-known format on this date, with the adoption of the Nightline name and the debut of Ted Koppel as anchor—a role he would fill until 2005. One of the most respected news programs of its era, Nightline ran in the 11:30 pm timeslot into the 21st century, when the pressures of competing against the entertainment-oriented talk shows in that slot led ABC to push the program past midnight. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Louie Anderson, comic (60); Joseph Barbera, cartoonist (d. 2006); Lake Bell, TV doctor (34); Lara Flynn Boyle, Twin Peaksian (43); Robert Carradine, Disney dad (58); R. Lee Ermey, military man (69); Norman Fell, landlord (d. 1988); Alyson Hannigan, witch (39); Connie Hines, talking horse co-owner (d. 2009); Peter Jacobson, doctor (48); Star Jones, talk show host (51); Jim Parsons, physicist (40); Donna Pescow, state senator (59); William Smith, character actor (80).

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