Histories Of The Broadcast Networks

Networks, Producers & Distributors

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Corporate Histories of the Networks from their founding to present day including major people, events, corporate performance and recent series.

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NBC was an outgrowth of Radio Corp. of America, General Electric and Westinghouse. These three companies jointly launched a network in 1926 with 31 stations, 25 in a network called Red and 6 in a network called Blue. A year later, it was forced to sell the Blue network to ABC,

keeping for itself the one known as Red. Television began for NBC in 1928, when on April 4, it acquired from the FCC a permit to operate an experimental station, W2XBS. Actual transmission from the Empire State Building did not begin until October 30, 1931. Eight years later, the network began broadcasting on a regular basis, beginning with the opening of the New York World’s Fair on April 30, 1939.

NBC became a TV network on January 12, 1940, when two stations, WNBC-TV, New York, and WRGB-TV, Schenectady, New York, carried the first network programming. In June, 1941, the FCC granted NBC the first commercial TV license and a month later it had four advertisers signed up. After World War II, NBC scored two big “firsts.” On June 19, 1946, Gillette became the first advertiser to sponsor a TV network show, the Joe Louis-Billy Conn boxing match. That same year, Bristol-Myers became the first sponsor of a network TV series, “Geographically Speaking.” NBC can also claim to be the first to introduce coast-to-coast network TV coverage. On September 4, 1951, when the U.S.-Japanese peace treaty was signed in San Francisco, NBC cameras were on hand. In 1952, NBC pioneered early-morning programming when it introduced “The Today Show.” NBC can also claim the first regularly scheduled network color series “The Marriage,” launched in 1954. That same year it achieved the first west-to-east TV transmission with the telecast of the Tournament of Roses Parade in color. At the start of the 1965-66 season, NBC declared it was the “only all-color network.” In 1968, NBC introduced new forms of TV programming with “The Name of the Game,” a series that incorporated feature [continued]