If you want to be picky, yes, he is a television vampire, but from a made-for-TV movie rather than a serial. And since a third of TV households tuned in to watch The Night Stalker (1972), it deserves a mention.
Set in Las Vegas, the movie features reporter Kolchak investigating what seems to be a serial killer, who is eventually exposed as Janos Skorzeny (played by Barry Atwater), vampire. Needless to say, the local authorities don’t believe in vampires, and wouldn’t care anyway, since they’re all too concerned with keeping their backsides firmly in the Commissioner’s chair, Sheriff’s chair, etc. Only, and surprisingly, Kolchak’s pal from the FBI is sympathetic, if ultimately useless.
The vampire, Skorzeny, is incredibly strong, brutal, and sadistic. All his victims were described as being tough, strong (one was a martial artist), and streetwise, and every woman was killed after a violent struggle. The movie grabs its viewer immediately by showing the vampire, who only snarls like an animal, fighting with the martial artist. They struggle all through the alley behind her apartment, knock over trashcans, and generally create quite a racket before the vampire finally wins. Another victim sics her Doberman on the vampire, and… well, we see Skorzeny pick the dog up by the throat then cut to the victim’s face as we hear the dog’s death whine.
Admittedly, Skorzeny’s strength (tossing police and hospital workers around like ragdolls) is something of a problem today given that it is such a cliche, but back then it, and the idea of a vampire stealing blood from a hospital, would have been new. The bigger problem with the character is that he never speaks, and only expresses himself in terms of hissing, snarling, and other animal-like sounds. It’s inconsistent with his offscreen behavior, where he is apparently quite smooth. It is revealed through narration that he is able to get a showgirl to agree to let him drive her home (only to be killed in her mother’s driveway), and the salesman who sold him the car describes his “brooks-no-dissent” haggling style. Obviously, he needed to be able to speak for both actions, and it would have been good to hear him use his voice for something besides growling when he was onscreen.
Surprisingly, Skorzeny is tech-savvy. Not only does he drive a car, but he knows how to work phlebotomy equipment, and in a truly horrifying reveal, keeps a woman prisoner in his house, hooked up to the blood stolen from the hospital, so he can drink it fresh from her veins. The woman’s pain when Kolchak finds her is quite believable, and no other movie has really gone that direction in terms of how vampires feed themselves.
So, while the creators could, perhaps, have done more with their vampire, the result was nevertheless gripping, and the other characters well-done, too. I wouldn’t bet against this vampire of Vegas.