In the '80s, networks like CNN help drive the stratospheric rise of cable. The 24-hour news channel's coverage of John Lennon's death at the start of the 80s and the rescue of baby Jessica McClure near the end cemented its place in viewers' homes. Niche channels are spawned, including MTV, QVC and many televangelism networks. The downfall of televangelists Jim and Tammy Bakker becomes must-see TV.
In the early 1980s America emerges from a recession and goes straight into an era of conspicuous consumption. Widely available credit cards spark a spending frenzy and competing brands battle to make a sale. Sex, and controversy, enter the advertiser's toolkit - but one iconic brand is almost brought to its knees when it takes rebranding too far.
For American women in the 1980s, life is not easy. Bullied by their bosses or stuck at home, they find unlikely inspiration and support from stars of the stage and screen. Eighties icons like Madonna, Jane Fonda and Joan Collins encourage them to speak up and break out of traditional gender roles, and by the end of the decade, the difference between men and women is no longer so clearly defined.
The '80s, when nothing succeeds like excess. In Texas, a fictional oil millionaire's lifestyle captures the world's imagination and even changes the world. On Wall Street, a new philosophy breeds a new kind of capitalist, and for yuppies "Greed is Good." In Los Angeles, music and fashion take new heights. But in this era of big hair, big bonuses and even bigger phones, what goes up must come down.