Live television
Live television refers to a television production broadcast in real-time, as events happen, in the present
Present is a time that is neither past nor future.Present may also refer to:- Time and timing :* Present tense, the grammatical tense of a verb* Before Present, radiocarbon dates relative to AD 1950* Presenting, a medical term* Presenteeism...

. From the early days of television until about 1958, live television was used heavily, except for film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

ed shows such as I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. The black-and-white series originally ran from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, on the Columbia Broadcasting System...

and Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman MacDonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West....

. Video tape did not exist until 1957. Television networks provide most live television mostly for morning show with television program
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

s such as; Today, CBS This Morning in the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and Daybreak
Daybreak (ITV)
Daybreak is the weekday breakfast television programme on the British commercial ITV network that broadcasts on weekday mornings from 06:00 to 08:30 and is currently presented by Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley from Monday to Thursday with Dan Lobb and Kate Garraway on Fridays...

, BBC Breakfast
BBC Breakfast
BBC Breakfast is the morning television news programme simulcast on BBC One and the BBC News channel. It is presented live from BBC Television Centre in White City, West London, and contains a mixture of news, sport, weather, business and feature items...

, This Morning
This Morning (TV series)
This Morning is a British daytime television programme broadcast on ITV. As of September 2011, its main presenters are Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, and Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes, with various other presenters standing in for illness or contributing to sections of the programme.The...

, etc. in the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...


Most local television station
Television station
A television station is a business, organisation or other such as an amateur television operator that transmits content over terrestrial television. A television transmission can be by analog television signals or, more recently, by digital television. Broadcast television systems standards are...

 newscasts are broadcast live in the U.S.

In general a live television program
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

 was more common for broadcasting content produced specifically for commercial television
Commercial Television
Commercial Television was the third free-to-air broadcast television station in Hong Kong. It first went on air in 1975, and ceased transmissions in 1978.-History:...

 in the early years of the medium, before technologies such as video tape appeared. As video tape recorder
Video tape recorder
A video tape recorder is a tape recorder that can record video material, usually on a magnetic tape. VTRs originated as individual tape reels, serving as a replacement for motion picture film stock and making recording for television applications cheaper and quicker. An improved form included the...

s (VTR) became more prevalent, many entertainment programs were recorded and edited before broadcasting rather than being shown live. Entertainment events such as sports television and The Academy Awards continue to be generally broadcast live.

Uses of live television

Live television is often used as a device, even when it is not necessary, in various types of programming to take advantage of these qualities, often to great success in terms of attracting viewers. The NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 live comedy/variety program Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

, for example, has been on that network continuously since 1975.

On September 25, 1997, NBC broadcast a special live episode of its hospital drama ER
ER (TV series)
ER is an American medical drama television series created by novelist Michael Crichton that aired on NBC from September 19, 1994 to April 2, 2009. It was produced by Constant c Productions and Amblin Entertainment, in association with Warner Bros. Television...

, which at the time ranked as the third most-watched episode
An episode is a part of a dramatic work such as a serial television or radio program. An episode is a part of a sequence of a body of work, akin to a chapter of a book. The term sometimes applies to works based on other forms of mass media as well, as in Star Wars...

 of any medical drama
Medical drama
A medical drama is a television program, in which events center upon a hospital, an ambulance staff, or any medical environment.In the United States, most medical episodes are one hour long and, more often than not, are set in a hospital. Most current medical Dramatic programming go beyond the...

 program ever. Many television news programs, particularly local news
Local news
In journalism, local news refers to news coverage of events in a local context which would not normally be of interest to those of other localities, or otherwise be of national or international scope.-Television:...

 ones in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, have also used live television as a device to gain audience
An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature , theatre, music or academics in any medium...

 viewers by making their programs appear more exciting. With technologies such as production truck
Production truck
Television Production trucks were developed to take television studios on the road so video productions could be made at distant locations for a remote broadcast, outside broadcasting , electronic field production with multiple-camera setup and a support of a number of different technologies to...

s, satellite truck
Satellite truck
A satellite truck is a mobile communications satellite Earth station, typically mounted on a truck chassis on a platform allowing satellite transmission from any location that the production truck can reach, provided a line of sight to the desired satellite is available.-Equipment:Typically a...

 uplinks, a news reporter can report live "on location" from anywhere where a story is happening in the city. This technique has attracted criticism for its overuse (like minor car accidents which often have no injuries) and resulting tendency to make stories appear more urgent than they actually are.

The unedited nature of live television can pose problems for television network
Television network
A television network is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, whereby a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay TV providers. Until the mid-1980s, television programming in most countries of the world was dominated by a small...

s because of the potential for mishaps. To enforce the Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 (FCC) regulations, television networks often broadcast live programs on a slight broadcast delay
Broadcast delay
In radio and television, broadcast delay refers to the practice of intentionally delaying broadcast of live material. A short delay is often used to prevent profanity, bloopers, violence, or other undesirable material from making it to air, including more mundane problems such as technical...

 to give them the ability to censor
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

 words and images while keeping the broadcast as "live" as possible.

Memorable events on live television

Many events have happened on live television broadcasts that are well-remembered, sometimes because they were part of a major breaking news
Breaking news
Breaking news, also known as a special report or news bulletin, is a current event that broadcasters feel warrants the interruption of scheduled programming and/or current news in order to report its details. Many times, breaking news is used after the news network has already reported on this story...

 story already, and always because they happened unexpectedly and before audiences of thousands or millions of viewers.


  • September 4, 1951 - The first national live television broadcast in the U.S. took place on when President Harry Truman
    Harry S. Truman
    Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

    's speech at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference
    Treaty of San Francisco
    The Treaty of Peace with Japan , between Japan and part of the Allied Powers, was officially signed by 48 nations on September 8, 1951, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, California...

     in San Francisco, California
    San Francisco, California
    San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

     was transmitted over AT&T
    AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Whitacre Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States. It is the largest provider of mobile telephony and fixed telephony in the United States, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services...

    's transcontinental cable
    Coaxial cable
    Coaxial cable, or coax, has an inner conductor surrounded by a flexible, tubular insulating layer, surrounded by a tubular conducting shield. The term coaxial comes from the inner conductor and the outer shield sharing the same geometric axis...

     and microwave radio relay system to broadcast stations in local markets.
  • June 2, 1953 - the coronation
    Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
    The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was the ceremony in which the newly ascended monarch, Elizabeth II, was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon, and Pakistan, as well as taking on the role of Head of the Commonwealth...

     of Her Majesty Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
    Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
    Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

     was the first to be televised live on British television
    British television
    Public television broadcasting started in the United Kingdom in 1936, and now has a collection of free and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, through which there are over 480 channelsTaking the base Sky EPG TV Channels. A breakdown is impossible due to a) the number of...

  • November 24, 1963 - Lee Harvey Oswald
    Lee Harvey Oswald
    Lee Harvey Oswald was, according to four government investigations,These were investigations by: the Federal Bureau of Investigation , the Warren Commission , the House Select Committee on Assassinations , and the Dallas Police Department. the sniper who assassinated John F...

     (the alleged assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy
    John F. Kennedy
    John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

    ) was shot in Dallas
    Dallas, Texas
    Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

     by nightclub owner Jack Ruby
    Jack Ruby
    Jacob Leon Rubenstein , who legally changed his name to Jack Leon Ruby in 1947, was convicted of the November 24, 1963 murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Ruby, who was originally from Chicago, Illinois, was then a nightclub operator in Dallas, Texas...

     while being transferred to a county jail. Oswald was taken to Parkland Hospital, the same hospital in which President Kennedy and Governor Connally had been treated two days before, but died within approximately two hours after being shot.
  • November 25, 1963 - President John F. Kennedy
    John F. Kennedy
    John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

    's funeral was broadcast on live TV . It was seen by perhaps what was the largest viewing audience up to then. It was the first live TV coverage of a Presidential funeral. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, Texas
    Dallas, Texas
    Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

     three days before, on November 22, 1963. The assassination initiated four days of non-stop live television news coverage seen by millions.
  • December 7, 1963 - Instant replay
    Instant replay
    Instant replay is the replaying of video footage of an event or incident very soon after it has occurred. In television broadcasting of sports events, instant replay is often used during live broadcast, to show a passage of play which was important or remarkable, or which was unclear on first...

     is used for the first time during the live transmission of the Army–Navy Game by its inventor, director Tony Verna.
  • November 13, 1965 - Critic and author Kenneth Tynan
    Kenneth Tynan
    Kenneth Peacock Tynan was an influential and often controversial English theatre critic and writer.-Early life:...

     became the first person to say the word "fuck
    "Fuck" is an English word that is generally considered obscene which, in its most literal meaning, refers to the act of sexual intercourse. By extension it may be used to negatively characterize anything that can be dismissed, disdained, defiled, or destroyed."Fuck" can be used as a verb, adverb,...

    " on British television on the live satirical programme BBC-3
    BBC-3 (TV series)
    BBC-3 was a BBC television programme, devised and produced by Ned Sherrin and hosted by Robert Robinson, which aired for twenty-four hour-long editions during the winter of 1965-1966....

    while commenting on censorship during a TV debate.
  • December 24, 1968 - Apollo 8 Genesis reading
    Apollo 8 Genesis Reading
    On December 24, 1968, in what was the most watched television broadcast at the time, the crew of Apollo 8 read in turn from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon...

     during the 9th orbit of the moon.
  • July 20, 1969 - Apollo 11
    Apollo 11
    In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

     the first moon landing
    Moon landing
    A moon landing is the arrival of a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. This includes both manned and unmanned missions. The first human-made object to reach the surface of the Moon was the Soviet Union's Luna 2 mission on 13 September 1959. The United States's Apollo 11 was the first manned...

     by humans.
  • November 7, 1970 - Felix Dennis
    Felix Dennis
    Felix Dennis is a British magazine publisher, poet, and philanthropist. His privately owned company, Dennis Publishing, pioneered computer and hobbyist magazine publishing in the United Kingdom...

    , in a group interview on The Frost Programme
    David Frost
    Sir David Frost is a British broadcaster.David Frost may also refer to:*David Frost , South African golfer*David Frost , classical record producer*David Frost *Dave Frost, baseball pitcher...

    , becomes the first person to say "cunt
    Cunt is a vulgarism, primarily referring to the female genitalia, specifically the vulva, and including the cleft of Venus. The earliest citation of this usage in the 1972 Oxford English Dictionary, c 1230, refers to the London street known as Gropecunt Lane...

    " on live TV.
  • July 15, 1974 - Christine Chubbuck
    Christine Chubbuck
    Christine Chubbuck was an American television news reporter who committed suicide during a live television broadcast.-Early life and education:...

    , a television news reporter for station WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Florida, committed suicide on live television by firing a revolver shot into her head.
  • January 28, 1986 - The Challenger explosion was seen on live TV by millions in the U.S.
  • January 22, 1987 - Budd Dwyer
    Budd Dwyer
    Robert Budd Dwyer was an American politician in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He served from 1971 to 1981 as a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate representing the state's 50th district...

     committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth with a revolver during a televised press conference.
  • November 9, 1989 - Live coverage of the abolishment of travel restrictions and the opening of the border to West Berlin
    West Berlin
    West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

     after mass panic and jubilation from East Germans.
  • June 17, 1994 - The slow-speed chase of a vehicle containing American football star and murder suspect O. J. Simpson
    O. J. Simpson
    Orenthal James "O. J." Simpson , nicknamed "The Juice", is a retired American collegiate and professional football player, football broadcaster, and actor...

     was broadcast live throughout the U.S., with NBC interrupting its coverage of the 1994 NBA Finals to do so.
  • April 30, 1998 - Daniel V. Jones, a cancer and HIV-positive patient apparently frustrated with his HMO coverage, ended a live televised stand-off with police on a Los Angeles freeway by committing suicide, shooting himself in the chin with a shotgun. The event, which took place on a Thursday afternoon, was witnessed by many children whose after-school cartoons had been interrupted in order to broadcast the incident, which originally began as a high-speed pursuit, and led many to criticize Los Angeles television stations' practice of airing police pursuits live.
  • September 11, 2001 - At 09:03am Eastern Daylight Time, United Airlines Flight 175
    United Airlines Flight 175
    United Airlines Flight 175 was United Airlines' daily scheduled morning transcontinental flight, from Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California...

     crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center
    World Trade Center
    The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

    , in front of millions of viewers who were already watching live coverage of the unfolding terrorist attacks of that day. Major networks had broken into regular programming just minutes earlier with live shots of the twin towers after American Airlines Flight 11
    American Airlines Flight 11
    American Airlines Flight 11 was American Airlines' daily scheduled morning transcontinental flight from Logan International Airport, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles, California...

     crashed into the north tower at 08:46am. Millions of viewers around the world watching live coverage of the attacks saw both buildings collapse.
  • March 23, 2003 - Sky News
    Sky News
    Sky News is a 24-hour British and international satellite television news broadcaster with an emphasis on UK and international news stories.The service places emphasis on rolling news, including the latest breaking news. Sky News also hosts localised versions of the channel in Australia and in New...

     broadcast live coverage of US forces attacking an Iraqi position. Sky reporter David Bowden, embedded with the US Marines, gave a live running commentary on the battle, something viewers had not seen before.
  • July 7, 2005 - A live television report on the unfolding situation on the 7 July 2005 London bombings
    7 July 2005 London bombings
    The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks in the United Kingdom, targeting civilians using London's public transport system during the morning rush hour....

     captured the sound of the Tavistock Square bus explosion at 09:46 British Summer Time.
  • September 21, 2005 - JetBlue Airways Flight 292
    JetBlue Airways Flight 292
    JetBlue Airways Flight 292 was a scheduled flight from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. On September 21, 2005, flight 292 executed an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport after the nose wheels jammed in an...

     made an emergency landing in Los Angeles
    Los Ángeles
    Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

    . The passengers were able to watch the incident unfold on live television.
  • August 16, 2008 - Georgian
    Georgia (country)
    Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

     president Mikhail Saakashvili chewed a tie during the news headlines on the BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

  • April 30, 2009 - During live coverage of a parade on the Dutch holiday Koninginnedag
    Koninginnedag or Queen's Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 30 April , Koninginnedag is Queen Beatrix's official birthday. Though Queen Beatrix was born on 31 January, the holiday is observed on 30 April as it was the birthday of her mother and...

     in the city of Apeldoorn
    Apeldoorn is a municipality and city in the province of Gelderland, about 60 miles south east of Amsterdam, in the centre of the Netherlands. It is a regional centre and has 155,000 . The municipality of Apeldoorn, including villages like Beekbergen, Loenen and Hoenderloo, has over 155,000...

    , Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

     an attack took place on the Dutch Royal Family
    2009 attack on the Dutch royal family
    The 2009 attack on the Dutch Royal Family occurred in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, where a man drove his car at high speed into a parade which included Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-Alexander and other members of the Dutch Royal Family; the attack happened on 30 April, the Dutch national holiday of...

     after Karst R. Tates drove a car into a crowd of people before crashing into a monument. Although the royal family themselves were unharmed, the incident resulted in a total of 8 fatalities leaving many others injured.
  • August 23 2010- The tourist bus have been hostage in Qurino Granstand in Metro Manila Philippines killing 9 people including the hostage taker Rolando Mendoza

  • April 29, 2011- The Royal Wedding of Prince William (Duke of Cambridge) and Catherine Middleton
    Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
    The wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine Middleton took place on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London. Prince William, the eldest son of Charles, Prince of Wales, first met Catherine Middleton in 2001, when both were studying at the University of St Andrews. Their...

     was watched live by over 2 billion people worldwide.


  • November 30, 1958 - Midway through transmission of the Armchair Theatre
    Armchair Theatre
    Armchair Theatre is a British television drama anthology series, which ran on the ITV network from 1956 to 1974. It was originally produced by Associated British Corporation, and later by Thames Television after 1968....

    play Underground
    Underground (1958 TV play)
    Underground was a science fiction television play presented as part of the British anthology series Armchair Theatre which was broadcast live by the ITV commercial network on 30 November 1958...

    on the British ITV
    ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

     network, actor Gareth Jones
    Gareth Jones (actor)
    Gareth Jones was a British actor, chiefly remembered for the circumstances of his death....

     died off-camera, forcing the video production
    Video production
    Video production is videography, the process of capturing moving images on electronic media even streaming media. The term includes methods of production and post-production...

     to improvise for the remainder of the broadcast.
  • September 17, 1967 - While The Doors
    The Doors
    The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore, and guitarist Robby Krieger...

     performed "Light My Fire
    Light My Fire
    "Light My Fire" is a song by The Doors which was recorded in August 1966 and released the first week of January 1967 on the Doors' debut album. Released as a single in April, it spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and one week on the Cash Box Top 100, nearly a year after...

    " on The Ed Sullivan Show
    The Ed Sullivan Show
    The Ed Sullivan Show is an American TV variety show that originally ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948 to Sunday June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan....

    , frontman
    Lead vocalist
    The lead vocalist is the member of a band who sings the main vocal portions of a song. They may also play one or more instruments. Lead vocalists are sometimes referred to as the frontman or frontwoman, and as such, are usually considered to be the "leader" of the groups they perform in, often the...

     Jim Morrison
    Jim Morrison
    James Douglas "Jim" Morrison was an American musician, singer, and poet, best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band The Doors...

     used the word "higher" instead of the previously agreed-upon change "better".
  • March 5, 1975 - Graham Kennedy
    Graham Kennedy
    Graham Cyril Kennedy, AO was an Australian radio, television and film performer, often called Gra Gra and The King of Australian television.-Childhood:...

     mimicked a crow call ("faaaaaaark") remniscient of the word fuck
    "Fuck" is an English word that is generally considered obscene which, in its most literal meaning, refers to the act of sexual intercourse. By extension it may be used to negatively characterize anything that can be dismissed, disdained, defiled, or destroyed."Fuck" can be used as a verb, adverb,...

     during a hairspray ad on The Graham Kennedy Show
    The Graham Kennedy Show
    The Graham Kennedy Show was an Australian talk show that debuted on 19 September 1972, on the Nine Network.On 23 December 1969, host Graham Kennedy has quit as host of In Melbourne Tonight, exhausted, and rested for two years. In spite of his fame and fortune, he later described that period as...

    on the Nine Network
    Nine Network
    The Nine Network , is an Australian television network with headquarters based in Willoughby, a suburb located on the North Shore of Sydney. For 50 years since television's inception in Australia, between 1956 and 2006, it was the most watched television network in Australia...

     in Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

    . He was banned from live TV indefinitely for the stunt. He quits the network on April 17 after the network took advantage of the pre-taping to delete a speech critical of Senator Doug McClelland (the then Minister for the Media).
  • October 11, 1975- First episode of Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

  • December 1, 1976 - Appearing in a live interview on the Thames Television
    Thames Television
    Thames Television was a licensee of the British ITV television network, covering London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays from 30 July 1968 until 31 December 1992....

    Watershed (television)
    In television, the term watershed denotes the time period in a television schedule during which programs with adult content can air....

     programme Today as last-minute replacements for fellow EMI artists Queen, the Sex Pistols
    Sex Pistols
    The Sex Pistols were an English punk rock band that formed in London in 1975. They were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians...

     were interviewed by Bill Grundy
    Bill Grundy
    William "Bill" Grundy was an English television presenter and former host of Today, a regional news programme broadcast on Thames Television...

     to promote their recently released Anarchy in the UK single. During the interview, Steve Jones said the band had "fucking spent" its label advance and Johnny Rotten used the word "shit." Pistols guitarist
    A guitarist is a musician who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass guitars. Some guitarists accompany themselves on the guitar while singing.- Versatility :The guitarist controls an extremely...

     Steve Jones
    Steve Jones (musician)
    Stephen Philip "Steve" Jones is an English rock guitarist, singer and actor, best known as guitarist and founding member of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols.-Childhood:...

     called Grundy a "dirty sod" and a "dirty old man", leading Grundy to goad the band into swearing on live TV, and Jones ended the interview with "you dirty bastard," "you dirty fucker," and "what a fucking rotter". Grundy was fired by ITV and Today was cancelled.
  • February 20, 1981 - Appearing on the live ABC
    American Broadcasting Company
    The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

     comedy show Fridays
    Fridays is the name of ABC's weekly late-night live comedy show, which aired on Friday nights from April 11, 1980 to April 23, 1982 with repeats airing until October 22, 1982...

    as guest host, comedian Andy Kaufman
    Andy Kaufman
    Andrew Geoffrey "Andy" Kaufman was an American entertainer, actor and performance artist. While often referred to as a comedian, Kaufman did not consider himself one...

     refused to read his lines during the last sketch, to the annoyance of the cast and crew. The situation escalated into a minor brawl, and the network cut off the broadcast. Kaufman later admitted that the fight was planned by him and some of the cast and crew.
  • April 15, 1984 - Comedian Tommy Cooper
    Tommy Cooper
    Thomas Frederick "Tommy" Cooper was a very popular British prop comedian and magician from Caerphilly, Wales.Cooper was a member of The Magic Circle, and respected by traditional magicians...

     collapsed and subsequently died of a heart attack in front of millions of viewers on Live From Her Majesty's
    Live From Her Majesty's
    Live From Her Majesty's was a Sunday night live variety show which was produced by London Weekend Television for the ITV network and ran from 1982 to 1988...

    . The audience carried on laughing thinking it was part of his act, before the programme took a commercial break.
  • January 4, 1987 - A massive bench-clearing brawl occurred in the World Junior Hockey Championships between Canada and the Soviet Union. After Pavel Kostichkin took a two handed slash at Theoren Fleury, the Soviet Union's Evgeny Davydov came off the bench, eventually leading to both benches clearing. The officials walked off the ice and tried shutting off the arena lights, but the brawl lasted for 20 minutes until the IIHF
    International Ice Hockey Federation
    The International Ice Hockey Federation is the worldwide governing body for ice hockey and in-line hockey. It is based in Zurich, Switzerland, and has 70 members...

     declared the game null and void. Both teams were ejected from the tournament, and the Soviet team were barred from attending the end-of-tournament dinner.
  • October 17, 1989 - Right before Game 3 of The 1989 World Series
    1989 World Series
    †: Game 3 was originally slated for October 17 at 5:35 pm; however, it was postponed when an earthquake occurred at 5:04 pm.-Game 1:Saturday, October 14, 1989 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California...

     between the San Francisco Giants
    San Francisco Giants
    The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

     and the Oakland Athletics
    Oakland Athletics
    The Oakland Athletics are a Major League Baseball team based in Oakland, California. The Athletics are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From to the present, the Athletics have played in the Coliseum....

    , the Loma Prieta earthquake
    Loma Prieta earthquake
    The Loma Prieta earthquake, also known as the Quake of '89 and the World Series Earthquake, was a major earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay Area of California on October 17, 1989, at 5:04 p.m. local time...

  • February 1, 2004 - During a performance by singers Justin Timberlake
    Justin Timberlake
    Justin Randall Timberlake is an American pop musician and actor. He achieved early fame when he appeared as a contestant on Star Search, and went on to star in the Disney Channel television series The New Mickey Mouse Club, where he met future bandmate JC Chasez...

     and Janet Jackson
    Janet Jackson
    Janet Damita Jo Jackson is an American recording artist and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 25 years...

     at the Super Bowl XXXVIII half time show
    Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy
    Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was broadcast live on February 1, 2004 from Houston, Texas on the CBS television network in the United States, was noted for a controversial halftime show in which Janet Jackson's breast, adorned with a nipple shield, was exposed by Justin Timberlake for about half a...

    , Timberlake pulled off a part of Jackson's leather corset, revealing her right breast covered by a piece of jewelry attached to her nipple. He later described the incident as a "wardrobe malfunction
    Wardrobe malfunction
    A wardrobe malfunction is a euphemism for accidental exposure of intimate parts. It is different from flashing, as the latter implies a deliberate exposure...

    ". The incident caused outrage among religious groups and demands for the FCC
    Federal Communications Commission
    The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

     to crack down on indecency on television and radio.
  • April 21, 2004 - After commenting on a UEFA Champions League
    UEFA Champions League
    The UEFA Champions League, known simply the Champions League and originally known as the European Champion Clubs' Cup or European Cup, is an annual international club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations since 1955 for the top football clubs in Europe. It...

     match on ITV1
    ITV1 is a generic brand that is used by twelve franchises of the British ITV Network in the English regions, Wales, southern Scotland , the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. The ITV1 brand was introduced by Carlton and Granada in 2001, alongside the regional identities of their...

    , Ron Atkinson
    Ron Atkinson
    Ronald Ernest Atkinson, commonly known as "Big Ron" and "Bojangles" is an English former football player and manager. In recent years he has become one of Britain's best-known football pundits...

     thought that the broadcast had finished. However, although transmission in the UK had finished, he was still on air to various countries in the Middle East and proceeded to say that "...he is what is known in some schools as a fucking lazy thick nigger" towards Marcel Desailly
    Marcel Desailly
    Marcel Desailly is a retired Ghanaian born French footballer and star of the France national football team squad, with whom he won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000...

    . He resigned with immediate effect.
  • August 20, 2006 - During a live dance performance of "Crazy Love Song" by the female pop trio Seeya on the Korean television program SBS Inkigayo
    The Music Trend
    The Music Trend is a South Korean music program broadcast by SBS. It airs live every Sunday at 3:50 PM KST. The show features some of the latest and most popular artists who perform on stage. It is currently hosted by Goo Ha-ra, IU and Nicole.- History :...

    , a backup dancer who suffered from epilepsy
    Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

     had a seizure in the middle of the song. The performers ignored the interruption and completed the performance normally after the dancer was carried off the stage.
  • April 14, 2007 - At the conclusion of an AFL match between Fremantle
    Fremantle Football Club
    The Fremantle Football Club, nicknamed The Dockers, is an Australian rules football team which plays in the Australian Football League . The club is based in the port city of Fremantle at the mouth of the Swan River in Western Australia...

     and West Coast
    West Coast Eagles
    The West Coast Eagles are an Australian rules football club which plays in the Australian Football League. The club is based in Perth, Western Australia. The club was founded in 1986 and played its first games in the 1987 season. Its current home ground is Subiaco Oval...

     on Network Ten
    Network Ten
    Network Ten , is one of Australia's three major commercial television networks. Owned-and-operated stations can be found in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, while affiliates extend the network to cover most of the country...

    , Eagles player Michael Braun concluded his Ross Glenndenning Medal acceptance speech with "Let's have a fucking good year" in front of a TV audience of 550,000 and a crowd of 42,051. Braun was fined $5,500 by the AFL for the incident.

Live television episodes

Although all programs were once live, the use of video tape means that very few television programs in the modern era have ever attempted such a feat. In the U.S., soap opera
Soap opera
A soap opera, sometimes called "soap" for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming. The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers, such as Procter & Gamble,...

s including As the World Turns
As the World Turns
As the World Turns is an American television soap opera that aired on CBS from April 2, 1956 to September 17, 2010. Irna Phillips created As the World Turns as a sister show to her other soap opera Guiding Light...

and The Edge of Night
The Edge of Night
The Edge of Night is an American television mystery series/soap opera produced by Procter & Gamble. It debuted on CBS on April 2, 1956, and ran as a live broadcast on that network until November 28, 1975; the series then moved to ABC, where it aired from December 1, 1975, until December 28, 1984...

were broadcast live until 1975
1975 in television
The year 1975 in television involved some significant events.Below is a list of television-related events in 1975.For the American TV schedule, see: 1975-76 United States network television schedule.-Events:...

. The most recent scripted series to do so on a regular basis was the Charles S. Dutton
Charles S. Dutton
Charles Stanley Dutton is an American stage, film, and television actor and director. He is perhaps best known for his roles as "Fortune" in the film Rudy and "Dillon" in Alien 3...

 series Roc in the 1992-93 season.

However, on occasion, scripted series will do an episode
An episode is a part of a dramatic work such as a serial television or radio program. An episode is a part of a sequence of a body of work, akin to a chapter of a book. The term sometimes applies to works based on other forms of mass media as well, as in Star Wars...

 live to attract ratings. In the U.S. and Canada, the episode is occasionally performed twice: once for the east coast which is composed of the Eastern time zone
Eastern Time Zone
The Eastern Time Zone of the United States and Canada is a time zone that falls mostly along the east coast of North America. Its UTC time offset is −5 hrs during standard time and −4 hrs during daylight saving time...

 and Central time zone
Central Time zone
In North America, the Central Time Zone refers to national time zones which observe standard time by subtracting six hours from UTC , and daylight saving, or summer time by subtracting five hours...

 and again three hours later for the west coast which is composed of the Mountain time zone
Mountain Time Zone
The Mountain Time Zone of North America keeps time by subtracting seven hours from Coordinated Universal Time, also known as Greenwich Mean Time, during the shortest days of autumn and winter , and by subtracting six hours during daylight saving time in the spring, summer, and early autumn...

 and the Pacific time zone
Pacific Time Zone
The Pacific Time Zone observes standard time by subtracting eight hours from Coordinated Universal Time . The clock time in this zone is based on the mean solar time of the 120th meridian west of the Greenwich Observatory. During daylight saving time, its time offset is UTC-7.In the United States...

. Notable examples of shows that have had a live episode include:
  • Gimme a Break!
    Gimme a Break!
    Gimme a Break! is an American sitcom which aired on NBC from October 29, 1981, until May 12, 1987. The series stars Nell Carter as the housekeeper for a widowed police chief and his three daughters.-Premise:...

  • Roc
    Roc (TV series)
    Roc is an American comedy-drama television series which ran on Fox from August 1991 to May 1994. The series stars Charles S. Dutton as Baltimore garbage collector Roc Emerson and Ella Joyce as his wife Eleanor.-Early episodes:...

     (The entire second season, 1993)
  • ER
    ER (TV series)
    ER is an American medical drama television series created by novelist Michael Crichton that aired on NBC from September 19, 1994 to April 2, 2009. It was produced by Constant c Productions and Amblin Entertainment, in association with Warner Bros. Television...

  • Coronation Street
    Coronation Street
    Coronation Street is a British soap opera set in Weatherfield, a fictional town in Greater Manchester based on Salford. Created by Tony Warren, Coronation Street was first broadcast on 9 December 1960...

    (for its 40th anniversary
    Coronation Street: 40th anniversary live episode
    Coronation Street Live is a live episode of the British soap opera Coronation Street which was broadcast on Friday 8 December 2000 as part of the show's 40th anniversary celebrations...

     in 2000 & its 50th anniversary in 2010)
  • The Drew Carey Show
    The Drew Carey Show
    The Drew Carey Show is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from 1995 to 2004. The show was set in Cleveland, Ohio, and revolved around the retail office and home life of "everyman" Drew Carey, a fictionalized version of the actor....

    (1999, 2000, & 2001)
  • The Bill
    The Bill
    The Bill is a police procedural television series that ran from October 1984 to August 2010. It focused on the lives and work of one shift of police officers, rather than on any particular aspect of police work...

    (2003 & 2005)
  • The Daily Show
    The Daily Show
    The Daily Show , is an American late night satirical television program airing each Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central. The half-hour long show premiered on July 21, 1996, and was hosted by Craig Kilborn until December 1998...

    (2004, 2008, 2009)
  • Blue Heelers
    Blue Heelers
    Blue Heelers is an Australian police drama series which depicted the lives of police officers stationed at the fictional Mount Thomas police station in a small town in Victoria.- Overview :...

  • Will & Grace
    Will & Grace
    Will & Grace was an American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 21, 1998 to May 18, 2006 for a total of eight seasons. Will & Grace remains the most successful television series with gay principal characters...

    (2005 & 2006)
  • Air Farce Live
    Air Farce Live
    Air Farce Live is a comedy album, performed by the Royal Canadian Air Farce comedy troupe. It was released in 1983. The sketches were performed live during the "Air Farce Live at the Bayview" performance in 1983, at the Bayview Theatre in Toronto....

    (All episodes from October 2007 - December 2008)
  • The West Wing (2005) - An episode ("The Debate
    The Debate
    "The Debate" is episode 139 of The West Wing. The episode was broadcast live with the NBC watermark on screen. Because of this, there are actually two versions of this episode; one performed live for east coast audiences and a second performed a few hours later for west coast broadcast...

    ") was presented as a live debate between presidential candidates
  • Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps
    Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps
    Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps was a BBC sitcom created and written by Susan Nickson. It is set in the town of Runcorn in Cheshire, England, and initially revolves around the lives of five twenty-somethings, played by Ralf Little , Sheridan Smith , Will Mellor , Natalie Casey and...

  • EastEnders
    EastEnders is a British television soap opera, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 19 February 1985 and continuing to today. EastEnders storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in the fictional London Borough of Walford in the East End...

    (for its 25th anniversary
    EastEnders Live
    "EastEnders Live" is a live episode of the British television soap opera EastEnders, broadcast on BBC One on 19 February 2010. The episode was commissioned as part of the show's 25th anniversary celebrations, and was the first EastEnders episode to be broadcast live...

     in 2010)
  • 30 Rock
    30 Rock
    30 Rock is an American television comedy series created by Tina Fey that airs on NBC. The series is loosely based on Fey's experiences as head writer for Saturday Night Live...

    , season five
    30 Rock (season 5)
    The fifth season of 30 Rock, an American television comedy series on the NBC network in the United States, began airing on September 23, 2010. NBC announced on March 5, 2010 that 30 Rock would be returning for a fifth season in the 2010–2011 television season...

    , "Live Show
    Live Show
    "Live Show" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of the American television comedy series 30 Rock, and the 84th overall episode of the series. It was directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller, and co-written by series creator Tina Fey and co-showrunner and executive producer Robert Carlock...

    " (2010)

In recent years there have been a number of special films broadcast live as well. These include the remakes of Fail Safe (2000) and The Quatermass Experiment
The Quatermass Experiment (2005)
The Quatermass Experiment was a 2005 live remake of the 1953 TV series of the same name by Nigel Kneale.-Production:The remake was commissioned as part of a "TV on Trial" season being run by BBC Four, examining past television trends and productions...


A live television advertisement was shown for the first time in 40 years to celebrate the arrival of the new Honda Accord in the United Kingdom. It was broadcast on Channel Four on 29 May 2008 at 20:10 during a special episode of 'Come Dine With Me'.

Live television specials

Many live television specials were telecast during the pre-videotape era. Among the most successful were the 1955 and 1956 telecasts of Peter Pan
Peter Pan (1954 musical)
Peter Pan is a musical adaptation of J. M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan and Barrie's own novelization of it, Peter and Wendy. The music is mostly by Mark "Moose" Charlap, with additional music by Jule Styne, and most of the lyrics were written by Carolyn Leigh, with additional lyrics by Betty...

, a 1954 musical adaptation of J.M. Barrie's 1904 play, starring Mary Martin
Mary Martin
Mary Virginia Martin was an American actress and singer. She originated many roles over her career including Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Maria in The Sound of Music. She was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1989...

, and Cyril Ritchard
Cyril Ritchard
Cyril Ritchard was an Australian stage, screen and television actor, and director. He is probably best remembered today for his performance as Captain Hook in the Mary Martin musical production of Peter Pan....

. This was such a hit that the show was restaged and rebroadcast (this time on videotape) with the same two stars and most of the rest of the cast in 1960, and rerun several times after that. The Peter Pan telecasts marked the first-ever telecasts of a complete Broadway musical with most of its original cast.

Further reading

  • No Retakes, by Sandra Grabman and Wright King. BearManor Media, 2008.
  • Caesar's Hours: My Life in Comedy, with Love and Laughter, by Sid Caesar with Eddy Friedfeld. Public Affairs, 2003.
  • The Box: An Oral History of Television 1920-1961, by Jeff Kisseloff. Penguin Books, 1995.
  • The Live Television Generation of Hollywood Film Directors, by Gorham Kindem. McFarland, 1994.
  • Live Television: The Golden Age of 1946-1958 in New York, by Frank Sturcken. McFarland, 1990.
  • Golden Age of Television: Notes from the Survivors, by Max Wilk
    Max Wilk
    Max Wilk was an American playwright, screenwriter and author of fiction and nonfiction book.Formerly a resident of Ridgefield, Connecticut, he moved to Westport, Connecticut, where lived until his death February 19, 2011, at age 90...

    . Moyer Bell Limited, 1989.
  • Where Have I Been? An Autobiography, by Sid Caesar with Bill Davidson, Crown Publishers, Inc., 1982.
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