The nineties. The decade of the world wide web, Nirvana, O.J. Simpson and Pokémon. New TV networks like FOX and The WB were attracting younger audiences, TV shows aimed at kids were finally employing talented writers, and even animated series had matured in animation quality and writing quality.

1990

  • Mystery drama Twin Peaks premieres on ABC.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210 premieres on FOX.
  • The Fresh Prince of BelAir premieres on NBC.
  • Northern Exposure premieres on CBS.
  • Law & Order premieres on NBC. Lasts until 2010.
  • Seinfeld officially premieres on NBC. Lasts until 1998.
  • Variety series In Living Color premieres on FOX. Lasts until 1994.
  • Wings premieres on NBC.
  • Fox Kids programming block premieres.
  • The Disney Afternoon premieres in syndication.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers premieres on TBS.
  • MTV Unplugged premieres.

1991

  • Comedy Central is launched.
  • Home Improvement premieres on ABC.
  • Blossom premieres on NBC.
  • Dinosaurs premieres on ABC.
  • Step By Step premieres on ABC.
  • The Commish premieres on ABC.
  • The Montel Williams Show premieres in syndication. Lasts until 2008.
  • The Jerry Springer Show premieres in syndication.
  • Charlie Rose premieres on public television.
  • Rugrats, Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show premiere as the first Nick Toons on Nickelodeon.

1992

  • Mad About You premieres on NBC.
  • The Larry Sanders Show premieres on HBO.
  • Dateline NBC premieres.
  • Sketch comedy series The Ben Stiller Show premieres on FOX.
  • Melrose Place premieres on FOX.
  • Martin premieres on FOX.
  • Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper premieres on ABC.
  • Jay Leno replaces Johnny Carson as the host of The Tonight Show. Lasts until 2014.
  • The Real World premieres on MTV.
  • Barney the Dinosaur makes his television debut in Barney and Friends on PBS.
  • World News Now premieres on ABC.
  • SyFy is launched.
  • Cartoon Network is launched.

1993

  • Walker, Texas Ranger premieres on CBS.
  • The Late Show with David Letterman premieres on CBS. Lasts until 2015.
  • Conan O’Brien replaces David Letterman as the host of Late Night. Lasts until 2009.
  • The XFiles premieres on FOX.
  • Cheers spin-off Frasier premieres on NBC. Lasts until 2004.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street premieres on NBC. Lasts until 1999.
  • NYPD Blue premieres on ABC. Lasts until 2005.
  • Beavis and ButtHead premieres on MTV.
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman premieres on CBS.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premieres in syndication.
  • Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers premieres on Fox Kids.
  • Living Single premieres on FOX.
  • Boy Meets World premieres on ABC. Lasts until 2000.
  • The Nanny premieres on CBS.
  • Diagnosis: Murder premieres on CBS. Lasts until 2001.
  • Grace Under Fire premieres on ABC.
  • Ricki Lake premieres in syndication. Lasts until 2004.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy premieres on public television.
  • Animaniacs premieres on Fox Kids.
  • Food Network is launched.
  • The first Got Milk? commercial airs. Directed by Michael Bay.
  • Politically Incorrect premieres on Comedy Central with host Bill Maher.

1994

  • Friends premieres on NBC. Lasts until 2004.
  • Ellen premieres on ABC.
  • Touched By an Angel premieres on CBS.
  • Medical drama ER premieres on NBC. Lasts until 2009.
  • My SoCalled Life premieres on ABC.
  • Party of Five premieres on FOX.
  • All American Girl premieres on ABC.
  • FX is launched.
  • Starz is launched.
  • Turner Classic Movies is launched.
  • IFC is launched.
  • DirecTV begins its direct broadcast satellite service.
  • Johnny Carson makes his final television appearance delivering the Top Ten List to David Letterman on The Late Show.

1995

  • Cybill premieres on CBS. Lasts until 2004.
  • The Drew Carey Show premieres on ABC. Lasts until 2004.
  • Newsradio premieres on NBC.
  • Mr. Show with Bob and David premieres on HBO.
  • Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist premieres on Comedy Central.
  • The Late Late Show premieres on CBS with host Tom Snyder.
  • Kevin Sorbo debuts as Hercules and Lucy Lawless debuts as Xena in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
  • JAG premieres on NBC. Moves to CBS the following year and lasts until 2005.
  • Caroline in the City premieres on NBC.
  • History is launched.
  • The WB is launched.
  • UPN is launched.
  • Rox is the first TV series to be distributed via the internet.
  • Star Trek: Voyager premieres on UPN.

1996

  • One billion homes worldwide own television sets.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun premieres on NBC.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond premieres on CBS. Lasts until 2005.
  • Spin City premieres on ABC.
  • 7th Heaven premieres on The WB. Lasts until 2007.
  • Judge Judy premieres in syndication.
  • Suddenly Susan premieres on NBC.
  • Nash Bridges premieres on CBS.
  • Moesha premieres on UPN.
  • TV Land is launched.
  • Animal Planet is launched.
  • Access Hollywood premieres in syndication.
  • Digital satellite dishes are introduced.
  • Blue’s Clues premieres on Nick Jr.
  • E! True Hollywood Story premieres.
  • FOX News is launched.
  • MSNBC is launched.

1997

  • Television rating system goes into effect.
  • King of the Hill premieres on FOX. Lasts until 2010.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer premieres on The WB.
  • Ally McBeal premieres on FOX.
  • South Park premieres on Comedy Central.
  • Dharma & Greg premieres on ABC.
  • Beavis and ButtHead spin-off Daria premieres on MTV.
  • Just Shoot Me! premieres on NBC.
  • Oz premieres on HBO.
  • The Practice premieres on ABC.
  • Survivor makes its television debut on Sweden.
  • Behind the Music premieres on VH1.
  • The View premieres on ABC.
  • Antiques Roadshow premieres on PBS.
  • The Crocodile Hunter premieres on Animal Planet.
  • Netflix is founded.
  • Emergency Broadcast System is replaced by the Emergency Alert System.

1998

  • Sex and the City premieres on HBO.
  • The King of Queens premieres on CBS. Lasts until 2007.
  • That ’70s Show premieres on FOX.
  • Will & Grace premieres on NBC.
  • Sports Night premieres on ABC.
  • Felicity premieres on The WB.
  • Charmed premieres on The WB.
  • Dawson’s Creek premieres on The WB.
  • The Powerpuff Girls premieres on Cartoon Network.
  • Ion Television is launched.
  • Kids Say the Darndest Things premieres on CBS.
  • Teletubbies premieres on PBS.
  • Celebrity Deathmatch premieres on MTV.
  • Total Request Live (TRL) premieres on MTV.
  • Comedy Central Presents premieres.

1999

  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit premieres on NBC.
  • Jon Stewart takes over The Daily Show. Lasts until 2015.
  • The Sopranos premieres on HBO. Lasts until 2007.
  • Spongebob Squarepants premieres on Nickelodeon.
  • The West Wing premieres on NBC. Lasts until 2006.
  • Freaks and Geeks premieres on NBC.
  • Spaced premieres on Channel 4.
  • Queer as Folk premieres on Channel 4.
  • Family Guy premieres on FOX.
  • Futurama premieres on FOX.
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?premieres on ABC with host Regis Philbin.