1980-00-00 Private Screenings (PAY) was launched.
1980-00-00 Escapade (PAY) was launched.
1980-01-01 The Movie Channel became a 24-hour standalone service. To make the time expansion possible, it discontinued its time-lease agreement with Nickelodeon and moved to another transponder channel.
1980-01-25 BET (Black Entertainment Network) was launched part-time on the UA-Columbia feed.
1980-04-09 the UA-Columbia feed was converted into USA Network and gradually became a consumer end cable network. The new network was formed by UA-Columbia Cablevision and Madison Square Garden Corp., which ran the regional Madison Square Garden Network. C-SPAN continued to share satellite transponder space with USA Network for the time being. C-SPAN was not part of the USA Network channel per se; BET, however, was part of the USA Network programming schedule until BET spun itself off onto its own channel later.
1980-04-22 The Getty Oil Company and four film companies announced they were going to create a competing pay service, Premiere, that would have limited the availability of the partners' feature films to other pay TV networks such as HBO, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Cinemax and others. At the end of the year, a Federal judge blocked the creation.
1980-06-00 National Christian Network was launced.
1980-06-00 The Women's Channel (part of SPN Network).
1980-06-01 CNN (Cable News Network) was launched on satellite by Ted Turner's company The Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). It was the first live all-news cable channel.
1980-08-01 Cinemax (PAY) was launched as a companion channel to HBO. Unlike most of the cable and pay channels already on the air at the time of its launch (CNN launched two months before as a 24-hour network), Cinemax broadcasted a 24-hour day schedule since its launch.
1980-09-01 ESPN began broadcasting 24 hours a day.
1980-11-00 Appalachian Community Service Network was renamed The Learning Channel.
1980-12-01 Bravo (PAY) was launched. It was the first fine arts and film network. The first month of programming included original productions of symphony, ballet and opera; the first of such events was produced expressly for cable television.
1980-12-31 a Federal court judge blocked The Getty Oil Company and four film companies from creating a competing pay service, Premiere, in an antitrust case ruling. Premiere would have limited the availability of the partners' feature films to other pay TV networks such as HBO, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Cinemax and others.
1980-12-32 (date unknown but existed in 1981) NASA Select was launched soon after The Learning Channel was launched.
1980-12-32 HBO's Take 2 channel (PAY) aimed at families may have gone dark at the end of the year after a short existence.
In 1980, Cablevision Systems Corporation forms Rainbow Programming [now Rainbow Media] to fulfill the growing need for diversified cable programming.
In 1980, The FCC repeals rules which limit a cable system’s ability to import distant signals and the rules which require program exclusivity on local cable systems.
Source: The Cable Center website: Cable History Timeline: http://www.cablecenter.org/resources/exhibits/cable-history-timeline.html