Top 10 Memorable TV Moments Ever

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by: Meredith Bower
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The 1960 presidential debate between Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Sen. John F. Kennedy ushered in a new era of made-for-TV political discourse.
AP Photo

What's your most memorable TV moment? Was it watching the events unfold on Sept. 11, or the excitement built around the finale of your favorite sitcom? The thrill of following breaking news keeps some people glued to their sets, while others enjoy TV's sheer entertainment value. No matter how you watch it -- via broadcast, cable or delayed by a DVR -- there's no question television shapes our culture.

Inventors in the 19th century theorized about and even attempted to construct devices that would transmit moving images. The first television station began broadcasting in Wheaton, Md., in 1929 [source: FCC]. By 1960, nine out of 10 U.S. households had a black and white TV set, and 12 years later half the country was watching TV in color [source: Elert]. Similarly, programming experienced explosive growth from a handful of networks to hundreds of cable and satellite stations [source: FCC].

From TV's infancy, when audiences were captivated by the many firsts in broadcast history, to today, when the airing of iconic images can effect change, television's memorable events differ from person to person and generation to generation.

Still trying to narrow your list of outstanding moments in television history? Keep reading to discover 10 that made their mark on the past half-century.

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