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The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...
English-language
commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective for:) commerce, a system of voluntary exchange of products and se ...
broadcast television Broadcast Broadcasting is the distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notio ...
and
radio network There are two types of radio network currently in use around the world: the one-to-many (simplex communication) broadcast network commonly used for public information and mass media, mass-media entertainment, and the two-way radio (Duplex (telecommu ...

radio network
owned by
Comcast Comcast Corporation (formerly known as American Cable Systems and Comcast Holdings)Before the AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in mult ...
. The network is headquartered at
30 Rockefeller Plaza 30 Rockefeller Plaza is a skyscraper A skyscraper is a large continuously habitable building having multiple floors. Modern sources currently define skyscrapers as being at least 100 metres or 150 metres in height, though there is no univer ...

30 Rockefeller Plaza
in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
, with additional major offices near
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...

Los Angeles
(at
10 Universal City Plaza 10 Universal City Plaza (10 UCP) is a 35-story, rhombic skyscraper in Universal City, California near Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the ...
), and
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago
(at the
NBC Tower The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of fr ...

NBC Tower
). Along with
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
and
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
, NBC is one of the traditional "Big Three" American television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting; it became a part of the network's official emblem in 1979 before being modified to its current form in 1986. Founded in 1926 by the
Radio Corporation of America The RCA Corporation was a major American electronics company, which was founded as the Radio Corporation of America in 1919. It was initially a patent trust owned by General Electric General Electric Company (GE) is an American Multination ...
(RCA), then owned by
General Electric General Electric Company (GE) is an American Multinational corporation, multinational Conglomerate (company), conglomerate incorporated in New York State and headquartered in Boston. Until 2021, the company operated through GE Aviation, aviat ...
(GE), NBC is the oldest major broadcast network in the United States. In 1932, GE was forced to sell RCA and NBC as a result of
antitrust Competition law is a law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is ...
charges. In 1986, control of NBC passed back to GE through its $6.4 billion purchase of RCA. GE immediately began to liquidate RCA's various divisions, but retained NBC. After the acquisition by GE,
Bob Wright Robert Charles Wright (born April 23, 1943) is an American lawyer, businessman, and author. He is a former NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related ...
became
chief executive officer A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of Corporate Executive, corporate executives in charge of managing an organization especially an independent Legal person, legal entity ...
of NBC, and would remain in that position until his retirement in 2007, when he was succeeded by
Jeff Zucker Jeffrey Adam Zucker (born April 9, 1965) is an American media executive. He previously served as president and CEO of NBCUniversal. Zucker served as an executive in residence at Columbia Business School. In November 2012, Zucker was picked to tak ...
. In 2003, French media company
Vivendi Vivendi SE is a French media conglomerate headquartered in Paris. Widely known as the owner of Gameloft, Groupe Canal+, Havas, Editis, Prisma Presse, Prisma Media, Vivendi Village and Dailymotion, the company has activities in television, film, ...

Vivendi
merged its entertainment assets with GE, forming NBC Universal. Comcast purchased a controlling interest in the company in 2011, and acquired General Electric's remaining stake in 2013. Following the Comcast merger, Zucker left NBCUniversal and was replaced as CEO by Comcast executive Steve Burke. NBC has thirteen
owned-and-operated station In the broadcasting industry, an owned-and-operated station (frequently abbreviated as an O&O) usually refers to a television or radio station owned by the network with which it is associated. This distinguishes such a station from an affiliate ...
s and nearly 200 affiliates throughout the United States and its territories, some of which are also available in Canada and/or Mexico via pay-television providers or in border areas over the air; NBC also maintains brand licensing agreements for international channels in South Korea and Germany.


History


Radio


Earliest stations: WEAF and WJZ

During a period of early broadcast business consolidation, radio manufacturer
Radio Corporation of America The RCA Corporation was a major American electronics company, which was founded as the Radio Corporation of America in 1919. It was initially a patent trust owned by General Electric General Electric Company (GE) is an American Multination ...
(RCA) acquired New York City radio station WEAF from
American Telephone & Telegraph AT&T Corporation, originally the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, is the subsidiary of AT&T, AT&T Inc. that provides voice, video, data, and Internet telecommunications and professional services to businesses, consumers, and government ...
(AT&T).
Westinghouse Westinghouse may refer to: Businesses Current companies *Westinghouse Licensing, the brand management division of ViacomCBS, and licensees: **Westinghouse Electric Company, providing nuclear power related services **Westinghouse Electronics, wh ...
, a shareholder in RCA, had a competing outlet in
Newark
Newark
pioneer station WJZ (no relation to the
radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device ...
and
television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Gre ...
station in
Baltimore Baltimore ( , locally: ) is the most populous city The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitutes a city, as not all cities in all jurisdictions are classified using the same criteria. Cities may be defined as the city prop ...

Baltimore
currently using those call letters), which also served as the
flagship A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer The commanding officer (CO) or sometimes, if the incumbent is a general officer A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, spac ...
for a loosely structured network. This station was transferred from Westinghouse to RCA in 1923, and moved to New York City. WEAF acted as a laboratory for AT&T's manufacturing and supply outlet
Western Electric The Western Electric Company was an American electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics ...
, whose products included transmitters and antennas. The
Bell System The Bell System was the system of companies, led by the Bell Telephone Company The Bell Telephone Company, a common law joint stock company, was organized in Boston, Massachusetts on July 9, 1877, by Alexander Graham Bell's father-in-law Ga ...
, AT&T's telephone utility, was developing technologies to transmit voice- and music-grade audio over short and long distances, using both wireless and wired methods. The creation of WEAF in 1922 offered a research-and-development center for those activities. WEAF maintained a regular schedule of radio programs, including some of the first commercially sponsored programs, and was an immediate success. In an early example of "chain" or "networking" broadcasting, the station linked with Outlet Company-owned
WJAR WJAR, virtual channel 10 (ultra high frequency, UHF digital terrestrial television, digital channel 25), branded on-air as NBC 10, is an NBC-network affiliate, affiliated television station city of license, licensed to Providence, Rhode Island, ...
in
Providence, Rhode Island Providence is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, prima ...

Providence, Rhode Island
; and with AT&T's station in Washington, D.C., WCAP. New parent RCA saw an advantage in sharing programming, and after getting a license for radio station WRC in Washington, D.C., in 1923, attempted to transmit audio between cities via low-quality
telegraph line An electrical telegraph is a point-to-point text messaging system, primarily used from the 1840s until the mid 20th century when it was slowly replaced by other telecommunication systems. It used coded pulses of electric current An electric c ...
s. AT&T refused outside companies access to its high-quality phone lines. The early effort fared poorly, since the uninsulated telegraph lines were susceptible to atmospheric and other electrical interference. In 1925, AT&T decided that WEAF and its embryonic network were incompatible with the company's primary goal of providing a telephone service. AT&T offered to sell the station to RCA in a deal that included the right to lease AT&T's phone lines for network transmission.


Red and Blue Networks

RCA spent $1 million to purchase WEAF and Washington sister station WCAP, shutting down the latter station, and merged its facilities with surviving station WRC; in late 1926, it subsequently announced the creation of a new division known as the National Broadcasting Company. The division's ownership was split among RCA (a majority partner at 50%), its founding corporate parent
General Electric General Electric Company (GE) is an American Multinational corporation, multinational Conglomerate (company), conglomerate incorporated in New York State and headquartered in Boston. Until 2021, the company operated through GE Aviation, aviat ...
(which owned 30%) and Westinghouse (which owned the remaining 20%). NBC officially started broadcasting on November 15, 1926. WEAF and WJZ, the flagships of the two earlier networks, were operated side by side for about a year as part of the new NBC. On January 1, 1927, NBC formally divided their respective marketing strategies: the "
Red Network The NBC, National Broadcasting Company's NBC Radio Network (known as the NBC Red Network prior to 1942) was an American commercial radio network which was in operation from 1926 through 2004. Along with the Blue Network, NBC Blue Network it was o ...
" offered commercially sponsored entertainment and music programming; the "
Blue Network The Blue Network (previously the NBC Blue Network) was the on-air name of a now defunct American radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of ...
" mostly carried sustaining – or non-sponsored – broadcasts, especially news and cultural programs. Various histories of NBC suggest the color designations for the two networks came from the color of the
pushpin
pushpin
s NBC engineers used to designate affiliate stations of WEAF (red) and WJZ (blue), or from the use of double-ended red and blue colored pencils. On April 5, 1927, NBC expanded to the West Coast with the launch of the NBC Orange Network, also known as the Pacific Coast Network. This was followed by the debut of the NBC Gold Network, also known as the Pacific Gold Network, on October 18, 1931. The Orange Network carried Red Network programming, and the Gold Network carried programming from the Blue Network. Initially, the Orange Network recreated Eastern Red Network programming for West Coast stations at KPO in San Francisco. In 1936, the Orange Network affiliate stations became part of the Red Network, and at the same time, the Gold Network became part of the Blue Network. In 1927, NBC moved its operations to 711 Fifth Avenue in
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
, occupying the upper floors of a building designed by architect Floyd Brown. NBC outgrew the Fifth Avenue facilities in 1933. In the 1930s, NBC also developed a network for
shortwave Shortwave radio is radio transmission using shortwave (SW) radio frequencies. There is no official definition of the band, but the range always includes all of the High frequency, high frequency band (HF), which extends from 3 to 30 MHz (100 ...

shortwave
radio stations, called the NBC White Network. In 1930, General Electric was charged with
antitrust Competition law is a law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is ...
violations, resulting in the company's decision to divest itself of RCA. The newly separate company signed leases to move its corporate headquarters into the new
Rockefeller Center Rockefeller Center is a large complex consisting of 19 commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adje ...

Rockefeller Center
in 1931.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. John Davison Rockefeller Jr. (January 29, 1874 – May 11, 1960) was an American financier and philanthropist, and the only son of Standard Oil Standard Oil Co. was an American oil An oil is any nonpolar chemical substance A chemic ...
, founder and financier of Rockefeller Center, arranged the deal with GE chairman and RCA president
David Sarnoff David Sarnoff (February 27, 1891 – December 12, 1971) was an American businessman and pioneer of American radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is t ...
. When it moved into the complex in 1933, RCA became the lead tenant at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, known as the "RCA Building" (later the GE Building, now the Comcast Building), which housed NBC's production studios as well as theaters for RCA-owned
RKO Pictures RKO Pictures was an American film production and distribution company. In its original incarnation, as RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. (a subsidiary of Radio-Keith-Orpheum, aka: RKO) it was one of the Big FiveBig Five may refer to: Animals * th ...
.


Chimes

The iconic three-note
NBC chimes The NBC chimes are a sequence of three tones played on National Broadcasting Company The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommun ...
came about after several years of development. The three-note sequence, G-E'-C', was first heard over Red Network affiliate WSB in
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Georgia (U.S. state), most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the List of United ...

Atlanta
, with a
second inversion The second inversion Inversion or inversions may refer to: Arts * , a French gay magazine (1924/1925) * Inversion (artwork), ''Inversion'' (artwork), a 2005 temporary sculpture in Houston, Texas * Inversion (music), a term with various meanings ...
as its outline. An executive at NBC's New York headquarters heard the WSB version of the notes during the networked broadcast of a
Georgia Tech football The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team represents the Georgia Institute of Technology in the sport of American football. The Yellow Jackets team competes in the NCAA Division I#Division I-Bowl Subdivision, Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) ...
game and asked permission to use it on the national network. NBC started to use the chimes sequence in 1931, and it eventually became the first audio trademark to be accepted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A variant sequence with an additional note, G-E'-C'-G, known as "the fourth chime", was used during significant events of extreme urgency (including during World War II, especially in the wake of the December 1941
attack on Pearl Harbor The Attack on Pearl HarborAlso known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike In the United States Armed Forces, military of the United States, strikes and raids are a group of military operations that, alongside quite ...

attack on Pearl Harbor
; on
D-Day The Normandy landings were the landing operation Allied invasion of Sicily, 1943 A landing operation is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended fo ...

D-Day
and during disasters). The NBC chimes were mechanized in 1932 by Rangertone founder Richard H. Ranger; their purpose was to send a low-level signal of constant amplitude that would be heard by the various switching stations staffed by NBC and AT&T engineers, and to be used as a system cue for switching individual stations between the Red and Blue network feeds. Contrary to popular legend, the G'-E'-C' notes were not originally intended to reference General Electric (an early shareholder in NBC's founding parent RCA and whose radio station in
Schenectady, New York Schenectady () is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be de ...
, WGY, was an early affiliate of NBC Red). The three-note sequence remains in use by the NBC television network, most notably incorporated into the
John Williams John Towner Williams (born February 8, 1932) is an American composer A composer (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken ...
-composed theme music used by NBC News, " The Mission" (first composed in 1985 for ''
NBC Nightly News ''NBC Nightly News'' (titled as ''NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt'' for its weeknight broadcasts since June 22, 2015) is the flagship daily evening News broadcasting#Television, television news program for NBC News, the news division of the NBC ...
''). In the late 1930s, NBC reached an agreement with the
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first common carrier railroad and the oldest railroads in North America, oldest railroad in the United States, with its first section opening in 1830. Merchants from the city of Baltimore, which had benef ...
(which folded into
CSX Transportation CSX Transportation , known colloquially as simply CSX, is a Class I freight railroad operating in the eastern United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a ...
in 1987) to use the former's chimes to summon the railroad's passengers on its trains.
CSX CSX Transportation , known colloquially as simply CSX, is a Class I freight railroad operating in the eastern United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a ...

CSX
's predecessor, the
New York Central Railroad The New York Central Railroad was a railroad primarily operating in the Great Lakes region, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The railroad primarily connected New York metropolitan area, gr ...
, also followed.


New beginnings: The Blue Network becomes ABC

In 1934, the
Mutual Broadcasting System The Mutual Broadcasting System (commonly referred to simply as Mutual; sometimes referred to as MBS, Mutual Radio or the Mutual Radio Network) was an American commercial radio network in operation from 1934 to 1999. In the Old-time radio, golden ...
filed a complaint to the
Federal Communications Commission The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in different jurisdictions. I ...
(FCC), following the government agency's creation, claiming it ran into difficulties trying to establish new radio stations in a market largely controlled by NBC and the Columbia Broadcasting System (
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
). In 1938, the FCC began a series of investigations into the effects of network broadcasting. A report published by the commission in 1939 found that NBC's two networks and its owned-and-operated stations dominated audiences, affiliates and advertising in American radio; this led the commission to file an order to RCA to divest itself of either NBC Red or NBC Blue. After Mutual's appeals were rejected by the FCC, RCA filed its own appeal to overturn the divestiture order. However, in 1941, the company decided to sell NBC Blue in the event its appeal was denied. The Blue Network was formally named NBC Blue Network, Inc. and NBC Red became NBC Red Network, Inc. for corporate purposes. Both networks formally divorced their operations on January 8, 1942, with the Blue Network being referred to on-air as either "Blue" or "Blue Network", and Blue Network Company, Inc. serving as its official corporate name. NBC Red, meanwhile, became known on-air as simply "NBC". Investment firm
Dillon, Read & Co. Dillon, Read & Co. was an investment bank based in New York City. In 1991, it was acquired by Barings Bank and, in 1997, it was acquired by Swiss Bank Corporation, which was in turn acquired by UBS in 1998. History Carpenter & Vermilye Dillon Read ...
placed a $7.5 million bid for NBC Blue, an offer that was rejected by NBC executive Mark Woods and RCA president
David Sarnoff David Sarnoff (February 27, 1891 – December 12, 1971) was an American businessman and pioneer of American radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is t ...
. After losing on final appeal before the
U.S. Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a coun ...

U.S. Supreme Court
in May 1943, RCA sold Blue Network Company, Inc., for $8 million to the American Broadcasting System, a recently founded company owned by
Life Savers Life Savers is an American brand of ring-shaped hard and soft candy. Its range of mints and fruit-flavored candies is known for its distinctive packaging, coming in paper-wrapped aluminum foil rolls. Candy manufacturer Clarence Crane of Ga ...
magnate Edward J. Noble. After the sale was completed on October 12, 1943, Noble acquired the rights to the Blue Network name, leases on landlines, the New York studios, two-and-a-half radio stations (WJZ in Newark/New York City; KGO in San Francisco and WENR in
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago
, which shared a frequency with Prairie Farmer station WLS); contracts with actors; and agreements with around 60 affiliates. In turn, to comply with FCC radio station ownership limits of the time, Noble sold off his existing New York City radio station WMCA. Noble, who wanted a better name for the network, acquired the branding rights to the "
American Broadcasting Company The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is an American multinational commercial broadcast television network A television network or broadcaster is a telecommunications network A telecommunications network is a group of nodes intercon ...
" name from George B. Storer in 1944. The Blue Network became ABC officially on June 15, 1945, after the sale was completed.


Defining radio's golden age

NBC became home to many of the most popular performers and programs on the air.
Bing Crosby Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer, comedian and actor. The first multimedia star, Crosby was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He was a leader ...

Bing Crosby
,
Al Jolson Al Jolson (born Asa Yoelson; c. 1885 – October 23, 1950) was an American singer, comedian, and actor. Jolson was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer" at the peak of his career and has been referred to by modern critics as "the king of bla ...

Al Jolson
,
Jack Benny Benjamin Kubelsky (February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974), known professionally as Jack Benny, was an American entertainer, who evolved from a modest success playing violin on the vaudeville Vaudeville (; ) is a of born in France at th ...
,
Edgar Bergen Edgar John Bergen (born Edgar John Berggren; February 16, 1903 – September 30, 1978) was an American actor, comedian, vaudevillian and radio performer, best known for his proficiency in ventriloquism Ventriloquism, or ventriloquy, i ...
,
Bob Hope Leslie Townes "Bob" Hope (May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003) was a British-American British American usually refers to Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, natio ...

Bob Hope
,
Fred Allen John Florence Sullivan (May 31, 1894 – March 17, 1956), known professionally as Fred Allen, was an American comedian. His absurdist, topically pointed radio program '' The Fred Allen Show'' (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and for ...

Fred Allen
, and
Burns and Allen Burns and Allen was an American comedy duo A double act (also known as a comedy duo) is a form of comedy originating in the British music hall tradition, and American vaudeville, in which two comedians perform together as a single act. Pairing ...
called NBC home, as did
Arturo Toscanini Arturo Toscanini (; ; March 25, 1867January 16, 1957) was an Italian conductor Conductor or conduction may refer to: Music * Conductor (music), a person who leads a musical ensemble like, for example, an orchestra. * Conductor (album), '' ...
's
NBC Symphony Orchestra The NBC Symphony Orchestra was a radio orchestra A radio orchestra (or broadcast orchestra) is an orchestra An orchestra (; ) is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted ...
, which the network helped him create. Other programs featured on the network included ''
Vic and Sade ''Vic and Sade'' was an American radio program created and written by Paul Rhymer. It was regularly broadcast on radio from 1932 to 1944, then intermittently until 1946, and was briefly adapted to television Television (TV), sometimes s ...
'', ''
Fibber McGee and Molly ''Fibber McGee and Molly'' was a 1935–1959 American radio comedy series. The situation comedy A sitcom, Clipping (morphology), clipping for situational comedy (situation comedy in the U.S.), is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of ...
'', ''
The Great Gildersleeve ''The Great Gildersleeve'' is a radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities ...
'' (arguably broadcasting's first
spin-off A spin-off is something that was created as a byproduct of something else. Types of spin-offs include: *Spin-off (media), a new media product derived from an existing product or franchise *Corporate spin-off, a type of corporate transaction formin ...
program, from ''Fibber McGee''), ''
One Man's Family ), Mrs. Barbour (Minetta Ellen), Claudia (Kathleen Wilson), Paul (Michael Raffetto), Hazel (Bernice Berwin), Mr. Barbour (J. Anthony Smythe). ''One Man's Family'' is an American radio soap opera, heard for almost three decades, from 1932 to 1959. C ...
'', ''
Ma Perkins ''Ma Perkins'' (sometimes called ''Oxydol's Own Ma Perkins'') is an American radio soap opera A soap opera or ''soap'' for short is a radio or television dealing especially with domestic situations and frequently characterized by , s, and . ...
'' and ''
Death Valley Days ''Death Valley Days'' is an American old-time radio The Golden Age of Radio, also known as the old-time radio (OTR) era, was an era of radio in the United States where it was the dominant electronic home entertainment medium. It began with ...
''. NBC stations were often the most powerful, and some occupied unique
clear-channel A clear-channel station is an AM broadcasting, AM radio station in North America that has the highest protection from Interference (communication), interference from other stations, particularly concerning night-time skywave propagation. The system ...
national frequencies, reaching hundreds or thousands of miles at night. In the late 1940s, rival CBS gained ground by allowing radio stars to use their own production companies to produce programs, which became a profitable move for much of its talent. In the early years of radio, stars and programs commonly hopped between networks when their short-term contracts expired. During 1948 and 1949, beginning with the nation's top radio star, Jack Benny, many NBC performers – including Edgar Bergen and
Charlie McCarthy Charlie McCarthy is Edgar Bergen's famed ventriloquist dummy partner. Charlie was part of Bergen's act as early as high school, and by 1930, was attired in his famous top hat, tuxedo, and monocle. The character was so well-known that his popularit ...
, Burns and Allen and
Frank Sinatra Francis Albert Sinatra (; December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer and actor who is generally viewed as one of the greatest musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, hav ...

Frank Sinatra
– jumped to CBS. In addition, NBC stars began migrating to television, including comedian
Milton Berle Milton Berle (born Mendel Berlinger; ; July 12, 1908 – March 27, 2002) was an American comedian and actor. Berle's career as an entertainer spanned over 80 years, first in silent films and on stage as a child actor, then in radio, movies and te ...
, whose ''
Texaco Star Theater ''Texaco Star Theater'' was an American comedy-variety show, broadcast on radio from 1938 to 1949 and telecast from 1948 to 1956. It was one of the first successful examples of American television broadcasting, remembered as the show that gave Mi ...
'' on the network became television's first major hit. Conductor
Arturo Toscanini Arturo Toscanini (; ; March 25, 1867January 16, 1957) was an Italian conductor Conductor or conduction may refer to: Music * Conductor (music), a person who leads a musical ensemble like, for example, an orchestra. * Conductor (album), '' ...
conducted the
NBC Symphony Orchestra The NBC Symphony Orchestra was a radio orchestra A radio orchestra (or broadcast orchestra) is an orchestra An orchestra (; ) is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted ...
in ten television concerts on NBC between 1948 and 1952. The concerts were broadcast on both television and radio, in what perhaps was the first such instance of
simulcast Simulcast (a portmanteau A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "Portmanteau (luggage), portmanteau") is a Blend word, blend of words
ing. Two of the concerts were historic firsts – the first complete telecast of
Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 Ludwig van Beethoven (; ; baptised 17 December 177026 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. Beethoven remains one of the most admired composers in the history of Western music; his works rank amongst the most performed of the classic ...
, and the first complete telecast of
Verdi Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (; 9 or 10 October 1813 – 27 January 1901) was an Italian composer best known for his opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by Si ...

Verdi
's ''
Aida ''Aida'' () is an opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by Singing, singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" (the literal translation of the Italian word ...

Aida
'' (starring
Herva Nelli Herva Nelli (January 9, 1909May 31, 1994) was an Italian American, Italian-American operatic soprano. Biography Named after the French socialist Gustave Hervé, she was born in Florence, where she attended a convent school. At the age of ten, howev ...
and Richard Tucker), performed in concert rather than with scenery and costumes. Aiming to keep classic radio alive as television matured, and to challenge CBS's Sunday night radio lineup, which featured much of the programs and talent that had moved to that network following the defection of Jack Benny to CBS, NBC launched '' The Big Show'' in November 1950. This 90-minute variety show updated radio's earliest musical variety style with sophisticated comedy and dramatic presentations. Featuring stage legend
Tallulah Bankhead Tallulah Brockman Bankhead (January 31, 1902 – December 12, 1968) was an American stage and screen actress. She was a member of the List of United States political families (B)#Bankheads and Brockmans, Bankhead and Brockman family, a prominent ...
as hostess, it lured prestigious entertainers, including Fred Allen,
Groucho Marx Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx (; October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977) was an American comedian, actor, writer, stage, film, radio, and television star. He is generally considered to have been a master of quick wit and one of America's greatest come ...

Groucho Marx
,
Lauritz Melchior Lauritz Melchior (20 March 1890 – 18 March 1973) was a Danish-American opera singer. He was the preeminent Wagnerian tenor of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s and has come to be considered the quintessence of his voice type. Late in his career, Me ...

Lauritz Melchior
,
Ethel Barrymore Ethel Barrymore (born Ethel Mae Blythe; August 15, 1879 – June 18, 1959) was an American actress and a member of the Barrymore family The Barrymore family is an American acting family. The Barrymores are also the inspiration of a Broadwa ...

Ethel Barrymore
,
Louis Armstrong Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed "Satchmo", "Satch", and "Pops", was an American and . He is among the most influential figures in . His career spanned five decades and different eras in the history of j ...

Louis Armstrong
,
Ethel Merman thumbtime=270, start=270, end=448, ''Time on My Hands'' (1932) Ethel Merman (born Ethel Agnes Zimmermann, January 16, 1908 – February 15, 1984) was an American actress, artist, and singer.Obituary '' Variety'', February 22, 1984. Known prima ...
, Bob Hope,
Danny Thomas Danny Thomas (born Amos Muzyad Yaqoob Kairouz; January 6, 1912 – February 6, 1991) was an American actor, singer, nightclub comedian, producer, and philanthropist Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the public good, foc ...
, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and
Ella Fitzgerald Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) was an American jazz singer, sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, timing, int ...

Ella Fitzgerald
. However, ''The Big Show''s initial success did not last despite critical praise, as most of its potential listeners were increasingly becoming television viewers. The show lasted two years, with NBC losing around $1 million on the project (the network was only able to sell advertising time during the middle half-hour of the program each week). NBC's last major radio programming push, beginning on June 12, 1955, was ''
Monitor Monitor or monitor may refer to: Places * Monitor, Alberta * Monitor, Indiana, town in the United States * Monitor, Kentucky * Monitor, Oregon, unincorporated community in the United States * Monitor, Washington * Monitor, Logan County, West Virg ...
'', a creation of NBC President Sylvester "Pat" Weaver, who also created the innovative programs ''
Today Today (archaically to-day) may refer to: * Day of the present, the time that is perceived directly, often called ''now'' * Current era, present Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Today'' (1930 film), a 1930 American drama film directed ...
'', ''
The Tonight Show ''The Tonight Show'' is an American late-night talk show currently broadcast from the NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center Rockefeller Center is a large complex consisting of 19 commerce, commercial buildings covering between 48th Street (Manh ...
'' and ''Home'' for the companion television network. ''Monitor'' was a continuous all-weekend mixture of music, news, interviews, and features, with a variety of hosts including well-known television personalities
Dave GarrowayDave may refer to: Film, television, and theater * ''Dave'' (film), a 1993 film starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver * ''Dave'' (musical), a 2018 stage musical adaptation of the film * Dave (TV channel) Dave is a British free-to-air tele ...
,
Hugh Downs Hugh Malcolm Downs (February 14, 1921July 1, 2020) was an American radio and television broadcaster, announcer and programmer; television host; news anchor; TV producer; author; game show host; talk show ; and music composer. A regular televisio ...
,
Ed McMahon Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr. (March 6, 1923 – June 23, 2009) was an American announcer, game show host, comedian, actor, singer and combat aviator. McMahon and Johnny Carson began their association in their first TV series, the ABC game sho ...

Ed McMahon
,
Joe Garagiola Joseph Henry Garagiola Sr. (February 12, 1926 – March 23, 2016) was an American professional baseball catcher Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes their at bat, turn to hit, the catcher crouches be ...
, and
Gene Rayburn Gene Rayburn (born Eugen Peter Jeljenic; December 22, 1917 – November 29, 1999) was an American radio and television personality. He is best known as the host of various editions of the American television game show '' Match Game'' for over two ...
. The potpourri show tried to keep vintage radio alive by featuring segments from Jim and Marian Jordan (in character as Fibber McGee and Molly); Peg Lynch's dialog comedy ''
Ethel and Albert ''Ethel and Albert'' (aka ''The Private Lives of Ethel and Albert'') was a radio and television comedy series about a married couple, Ethel and Albert Arbuckle, living in the small town of Sandy Harbor. Created by Peg Lynch (1916-2015), who script ...
'' (with Alan Bunce); and iconoclastic satirist
Henry Morgan Sir Henry Morgan ( cy, Harri Morgan; 1635 – 25 August 1688) was a Welsh privateer, plantation owner, and, later, Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica. From his base in Port Royal, Jamaica, he raided settlements and shipping on the Spanish Main, ...
. ''Monitor'' was a success for a number of years, but after the mid-1960s, local stations, especially those in larger markets, were reluctant to break from their established formats to run non-conforming network programming. One exception was ''Toscanini: The Man Behind the Legend'', a weekly series commemorating the great conductor's NBC broadcasts and recordings which ran for several years beginning in 1963. After ''Monitor'' ended its 20-year run on January 26, 1975, little remained of NBC network radio beyond hourly newscasts and news features, and Sunday morning religious program ''
The Eternal Light ''The Eternal Light'' was an American radio and television program on the NBC Radio Network, produced in conjunction with the Jewish Theological Seminary, that was broadcast between 1944 and 1989. Featuring interviews, commentary, and award-winni ...
''.


Decline

On June 18, 1975, NBC launched the NBC News and Information Service (NIS), which provided up to 55 minutes of news per hour around the clock to local stations that wanted to adopt an
all-news radio All-news radio is a radio format A radio format or programming format (not to be confused with broadcast programming) describes the overall content broadcast on a radio station , Sweden , Norway Radio broadcasting is transmission of audio s ...
format. NBC carried the service on WRC in Washington, and on its owned-and-operated FM stations in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco. NIS attracted several dozen subscribing stations, but by the fall of 1976, NBC determined that it could not project that the service would ever become profitable and gave its affiliates six months' notice that it would be discontinued. NIS ended operations on May 29, 1977. In 1979, NBC launched The Source, a modestly successful secondary network providing news and short features to FM
rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, chemical composition and the way in w ...
stations. The NBC Radio Network also pioneered personal advice call-in national
talk radio Talk radio is a radio format A radio format or programming format (not to be confused with broadcast programming Broadcast programming is the practice of organizing and/or ordering (scheduling) of broadcast media shows, typically radio and ...
with a satellite-distributed evening talk show, TalkNet; the program featured Bruce Williams (providing personal financial advice), Bernard Meltzer (personal and financial advice) and
Sally Jessy Raphael Sally Lowenthal (born February 25, 1935), better known as Sally Jessy Raphaël, is an United States, American former tabloid talk show Television presenter, host known for her program ''Sally (talk show), Sally'' (originally titled ''The Sally Je ...

Sally Jessy Raphael
(personal and romantic advice). While never much of a ratings success, TalkNet nonetheless helped further the national talk radio format. For affiliates, many of them struggling AM stations, TalkNet helped fill evening time slots with free programming, allowing the stations to sell local advertising in a dynamic format without the cost associated with producing local programming. Some in the industry feared this trend would lead to increasing control of radio content by networks and syndicators. General Electric acquired RCA in 1986, and with it NBC, signaling the beginning of the end of NBC Radio. Three factors led to the radio division's demise: GE decided that radio did not fit its strategy, while the radio division had not been profitable for many years. In addition, FCC ownership rules at the time prevented companies acquiring broadcast properties from owning both a radio and television division. In the summer of 1987, GE sold NBC Radio's network operations to
Westwood One Westwood One is an American radio network There are two types of radio network currently in use around the world: the one-to-many (simplex communication) broadcast network commonly used for public information and mass media, mass-media enterta ...
, and sold off the NBC-owned stations to various buyers. By 1990, the NBC Radio Network as an independent programming service had been dissolved, becoming a brand name for content produced by Westwood One, and ultimately by
CBS Radio CBS Radio was a radio broadcasting company and radio network operator owned by CBS Corporation The second incarnation of CBS Corporation (the first being a short-lived rename of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation The Westinghouse Ele ...
. The Mutual Broadcasting System, which Westwood One had acquired two years earlier, met the same fate, and essentially merged with NBC Radio. GE's divestiture of NBC's entire radio division was the first cannon shot of what would play out in the national broadcast media, as each of the Big Three broadcast networks were soon acquired by other corporate entities. NBC was a particularly noteworthy case in that it was the first to be acquired – and was bought by a conglomerate ''outside'' the broadcast industry as GE otherwise primarily served as a manufacturing company. Prior to the GE acquisition, NBC operated its radio division partly out of tradition, and partly to meet its then-FCC-mandated requirement to distribute programming for the public good (the broadcast airwaves are owned by the public; as that broadcast spectrum is limited and only so many broadcast stations existed, this served as the basis for government regulation requiring broadcasters to provide certain content that meets the needs of the public). Syndicators such as Westwood One were not subject to such rules as they did not own any stations. GE's divestiture of NBC Radio – known as "America's First Network" – in many ways marked the "beginning of the end" of the old era of regulated broadcasting and the ushering in of the new, largely unregulated industry that is present today. By the late 1990s, Westwood One was producing NBC Radio-branded newscasts on weekday mornings. These were discontinued in 1999 (along with Mutual branded newscasts), and the few remaining NBC Radio Network affiliates became affiliates of
CNN Radio Cable News Network (CNN) is a multinational news-based pay television Pay television also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription-based tel ...

CNN Radio
, carrying the Westwood-owned service's hourly newscasts 24 hours a day. In 2003, Westwood One began distributing NBC News Radio, a new service featuring minute-long news updates read by television anchors and reporters from NBC News and MSNBC, with content written by Westwood One employees.


Restoration

On March 1, 2012,
Dial Global Westwood One is an American radio network owned by Cumulus Media. The company broadcast syndication, syndicates talk, music, and sports programming. The company takes its name from an earlier network also named Westwood One (1976–2011), Wes ...
announced that it would discontinue CNN Radio, and replace it with an expansion of NBC News Radio on April 1, 2012. This marked the first time since Westwood One's purchase of NBC Radio and its properties that NBC would have a 24-hour presence on radio. A previous program, ''First Light'', placed new emphasis on the NBC brand after diminishing it over the years. With the change, NBC News Radio expanded its offerings from 60-second news updates airing only on weekdays to feature two hourly full-length newscasts 24 hours a day. Subsequently, on September 4, 2012, Dial Global launched a sports-talk radio service,
NBC Sports Radio NBC Sports Radio was a sports radio network that debuted on September 4, 2012. The network content was produced by NBC Sports#NBC Sports Group, NBC Sports Group and distributed by Westwood One (current), Westwood One, which is the corporate succe ...
.
NBC News Radio NBC News is the news division of the American broadcast television network NBC. The division operates under NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, a division of NBCUniversal, which is, in turn, a subsidiary of Comcast. The news division's va ...
has been distributed by
iHeartMedia iHeartMedia, Inc., formerly CC Media Holdings, Inc., is an American mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media Media may refer to: Physical means Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver infor ...
and its TTWN Networks since July 2016. It is provided to the network's 24/7 News Source affiliates and includes a top-of-the-hour newscast along with other audio content which is heard on over 1000 radio stations.


Television

For many years, NBC was closely identified with David Sarnoff, who used it as a vehicle to sell consumer electronics. RCA and Sarnoff had captured the spotlight by introducing all-electronic television to the public at the 1939–40 New York World's Fair, simultaneously initiating a regular schedule of programs on the NBC-RCA television station in New York City. President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
appeared at the fair before the NBC camera, becoming the first U.S. president to appear on television on April 30, 1939
an actual, off-the-monitor photograph
of the FDR telecast is available at the David Sarnoff Library). The broadcast was transmitted by NBC's New York television station
W2XBS WNBC, virtual channel In most telecommunications organizations, a virtual channel is a method of remapping the ''program number'' as used in H.222 Program Association Tables and Program Mapping Tables to a channel number that can be entered ...

W2XBS
Channel 1 (later WNBC-TV; now
WNBC WNBC, virtual channel 4 (ultra high frequency, UHF digital terrestrial television, digital channel 35), is the flagship (broadcasting), flagship station of the NBC television network, city of license, licensed to New York City, New York, New Y ...
, channel 4) and was seen by about 1,000 viewers within the station's roughly coverage area from its transmitter at the
Empire State Building The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before . Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furnit ...

Empire State Building
. The following day (May 1), four models of RCA television sets went on sale to the general public in various department stores around New York City, which were promoted in a series of splashy newspaper ads.
DuMont Laboratories Allen B. DuMont Laboratories, Inc. (printed on products as Allen B. Du Mont Laboratories, Inc., commonly referred to as DuMont Laboratories, shortened to DuMont Labs; referred to on company documents as DuMont) was an American television equipment ...
(and others) had actually offered the first home sets in 1938 in anticipation of NBC's announced April 1939 television launch. Later in 1939, NBC took its cameras to professional football and baseball games in the New York City area, establishing many "firsts" in television broadcasting. Reportedly, the first NBC Television "network" program was broadcast on January 12, 1940, when a play titled ''Meet The Wife'' was originated at the W2XBS studios at Rockefeller Center and rebroadcast by W2XB/W2XAF (now
WRGB WRGB, virtual and VHF Very high frequency (VHF) is the designation for the range of s (s) from 30 to 300 (MHz), with corresponding wavelengths of ten meters to one meter. Frequencies immediately below VHF are denoted (HF), and the next ...
) in Schenectady, which received the New York station directly off-air from a tower atop a mountain and relayed the live signal to the
Capital District A capital district, capital region or capital territory is normally a specially designated administrative division where a country's seat of government is located. As such, in a Federation, federal model of government, no State (administrative div ...
. About this time, occasional special events were also broadcast in
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
(over W3XE, later called WPTZ, now known as
KYW-TV KYW-TV, virtual channel 3 (ultra high frequency, UHF digital terrestrial television, digital channel 30), is a CBS Owned-and-operated station, owned-and-operated television station city of license, licensed to Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Penn ...
) as well as Schenectady. The most ambitious NBC television "network" program of the pre-war era was the telecast of the
Republican National Convention The Republican National Convention (RNC) is a series of presidential nominating conventions held every four years since 1856 by the United States Republican Party The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP ("Grand Old Party"), is on ...

Republican National Convention
held in Philadelphia in the summer of 1940, which was fed live to the New York City and Schenectady stations. However, despite major promotion by RCA, television sales in New York from 1939 to 1942 were disappointing, primarily due to the high cost of the sets, and the lack of compelling regularly scheduled programming. During this period, less than 8,000 television sets were sold in the New York area, most of which were sold to bars, hotels and other public places, where the general public viewed special sports and news events. One special event was Franklin D. Roosevelt's second and final appearance on live television, when his speech at Madison Square Garden on October 28, 1940, was telecast over W2XBS to receivers in the New York City area. Television's experimental period ended, as the FCC allowed full-fledged commercial television broadcasts to begin on July 1, 1941. NBC station W2XBS in New York City received the first commercial license, adopting the call letters WNBT. The first official, paid television advertisement broadcast by any U.S. station was for watch manufacturer
Bulova Bulova is an American watch brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for ...

Bulova
, which aired that day, just before the start of a
Brooklyn Dodgers The Brooklyn Dodgers were founded a Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specif ...
baseball telecast on WNBT. The ad consisted of test pattern, featuring the newly assigned WNBT call letters, which was modified to resemble a clock – complete with functioning hands – with the Bulova logo (featuring the phrase "Bulova Watch Time") in the lower right-hand quadrant of the test pattern (a photograph of the NBC camera setting up the test pattern-advertisement for that ad can be seen a
this page
. Among the programs that aired during the first week of WNBT's new, commercial schedule was ''The Sunoco News'', a simulcast of the
Sun Oil Sunoco LP is an American master limited partnership organized in Delaware and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, that is a wholesale distributor of motor fuels. It distributes fuel to more than 7,300 Sunoco-branded gas stations, almost all of whi ...
-sponsored NBC Radio program anchored by
Lowell Thomas Lowell Jackson Thomas (April 6, 1892 – August 29, 1981) was an American writer, actor, Television presenter, broadcaster, and traveler, best remembered for publicising T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). He was also involved in promoting the Ci ...

Lowell Thomas
; amateur boxing at Jamaica Arena; the Eastern Clay Courts tennis championships; programming from the
USO The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) is an American nonprofit-charitable corporation that provides live entertainment, such as comedians, actors and musicians, social facilities, and other programs to members of the United States Armed Fo ...

USO
; the spelling bee-type game show ''Words on the Wing''; a few feature films; and a one-time-only, test broadcast of the game show ''
Truth or Consequences ''Truth or Consequences'' is an American game show originally hosted on NBC radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30  ...
'', sponsored by
Lever Brothers Lever Brothers was a British manufacturing company founded in 1885 by two brothers: William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme (1851–1925), and James Darcy Lever (1854–1916). They invested in and successfully promoted a new soap-making proc ...
. Prior to the first commercial television broadcasts and paid advertisements on WNBT, non-paid television advertising existed on an experimental basis dating back to 1930. NBC's earliest non-paid television commercials may have been those seen during the first
Major League Baseball Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball Professional baseball is organized baseball in which players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system. It is played in baseball league, leag ...
game ever telecast, between the Brooklyn Dodgers and
Cincinnati Reds The Cincinnati Reds are an American professional baseball team based in Cincinnati. The Reds compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) National League Central, Central division, and were a charter membe ...

Cincinnati Reds
, on August 26, 1939, over W2XBS. In order to secure the rights to televise the game, NBC allowed each of the Dodgers' regular radio sponsors at the time to have one commercial during the telecast. The ads were conducted by Dodgers announcer Red Barber: for Ivory Soap, he held up a bar of the product; for
Mobil Mobil Corporation, (originally Standard Oil Company of New York and then Socony-Vacuum Oil Company) was an American oil company that merged with Exxon Exxon is the brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature th ...

Mobil
gas he put on a filling station attendant's cap while giving his spiel; and for
Wheaties Wheaties is a brand of breakfast cereal Cereal, often called breakfast cereal (and further categorized as cold cereal or warm cereal), is a traditional breakfast Breakfast is the first meal of the day eaten after waking up, usually in the mo ...
he poured a bowl of the product, added milk and bananas, and took a big spoonful. Limited, commercial programming continued until the U.S. entered World War II. Telecasts were curtailed in the early years of the war, then expanded as NBC began to prepare for full-time service upon the end of the war. Even before the war concluded, a few programs were sent from New York City to affiliated stations in Philadelphia (
WPTZ WPTZ, virtual channel In most telecommunications organizations, a virtual channel is a method of remapping the ''program number'' as used in H.222 Program Association Tables and Program Mapping Tables to a channel number that can be entered vi ...

WPTZ
) and Albany/Schenectady (WRGB) on a regular weekly schedule beginning in 1944, the first of which is generally considered to be the pioneering special interest/documentary show ''The Voice of Firestone Televues'', a television offshoot of ''
The Voice of Firestone ''The Voice of Firestone'' was a long-running radio and television program of classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both Religious music, liturgical (Religion, religious) ...
'', a mainstay on NBC radio since 1928, which was transmitted from New York City to Philadelphia and Schenectady on a regular, weekly basis beginning on April 10, 1944. The series is considered to be the NBC television network's first regularly scheduled program. On
V-E Day Victory in Europe Day is the day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II : Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill meeting at the Cairo Conference (1943), Cairo Conference in 1943 ...
, May 8, 1945, WNBT broadcast several hours of news coverage and remotes from around New York City. This event was promoted in advance by NBC with a direct-mail card sent to television set owners in the New York area. At one point, a WNBT camera placed atop the marquee of the
Hotel Astor Hotel Astor was a hotel located in the Times Square Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center, and neighborhood in the Midtown Manhattan section of New York City New York City (NYC) ...
panned the crowd below celebrating the end of the war in Europe. The vivid coverage was a prelude to television's rapid growth after the war ended. The NBC television network grew from its initial post-war lineup of four stations. The
1947 World Series The 1947 World Series matched the 1947 New York Yankees season, New York Yankees against the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers season, Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankees won the Series in seven games for their first title since , and their 11th World Series champ ...
featured two New York City area teams (the
Yankees The New York Yankees are an American professional baseball team based in the New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. Wi ...
and the Dodgers), and television sales boomed locally, since the games were being telecast in the New York market. Additional stations along the East Coast and in the Midwest were connected by coaxial cable through the late 1940s, and in September 1951 the first transcontinental telecasts took place. The post-war 1940s and early 1950s brought success for NBC in the new medium. Television's first major star, Milton Berle, whose ''Texaco Star Theatre'' began in June 1948, drew the first large audiences to NBC Television. Under its innovative president, Sylvester "Pat" Weaver, the network launched ''Today'' and ''The Tonight Show'', which would bookend the broadcast day for over 50 years, and which still lead their competitors. Weaver, who also launched the genre of periodic 90-minute network "spectaculars", network-produced motion pictures and the live 90-minute Sunday afternoon series '' Wide Wide World'', left the network in 1955 in a dispute with its chairman David Sarnoff, who subsequently named his son Robert Sarnoff as president. In 1951, NBC commissioned Italian-American composer
Gian Carlo Menotti Gian Carlo Menotti (, ; July 7, 1911 – February 1, 2007) was an Italian American, Italian-American composer, libretto, librettist, director, and playwright who is primarily known for his output of 25 operas. Although he often referred to himse ...
to compose the first opera ever written for television; Menotti came up with ''
Amahl and the Night Visitors ''Amahl and the Night Visitors'' is an opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by Singing, singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" (the literal translatio ...
'', a 45-minute work for which he wrote both music and libretto, about a disabled shepherd boy who meets the
Three Wise Men 3 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 3, three, or III may also refer to: * AD 3 __NOTOC__ AD 3 (III) or 3 AD was a common year starting on Monday or Common year starting on Tuesday, Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian ca ...

Three Wise Men
and is miraculously cured when he offers his crutch to the newborn
Christ Child The Christ Child, also known as Divine Infant, Baby Jesus, Infant Jesus, Child Jesus, the Holy Child, and Santo Niño, refers to Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, ...

Christ Child
. It was such a stunning success that it was repeated every year on NBC from 1951 to 1966, when a dispute between Menotti and NBC ended the broadcasts. However, by 1978, Menotti and NBC had patched things up, and an all-new production of the opera, filmed partly on location in the Middle East, was telecast that year.


Color television

While rival
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
broadcast the first color television programs in the United States, their system was incompatible with the millions of black and white sets in use at the time. After a series of limited, incompatible color broadcasts (mostly scheduled during the day), CBS abandoned the system and broadcasts. This opened the door for the RCA-compatible color system to be adopted as the U.S. standard. RCA convinced the FCC to approve its color system in December 1953. NBC was ready with color programming within days of the commission's decision. NBC began the transition with a few shows in 1954, and broadcast its first program to air all episodes in color beginning that summer, '' The Marriage''. In 1955, NBC broadcast a live production in color of ''
Peter Pan Peter Pan is a fictional character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A free-spirited and mischievous young boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the mythi ...
'', a new
Broadway Broadway may refer to: Theatre * Broadway Theatre (disambiguation) * Broadway theatre, theatrical productions in professional theatres near Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, U.S. ** Broadway (Manhattan), the street **Broadway Theatre (53rd Str ...
musical adaptation of J. M. Barrie's beloved play, on the ''
Producers' Showcase ''Producers' Showcase'' is an American anthology television series that was telecast live during the 1950s in compatible color by NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial radio ...
'' anthology series, The first such telecast of its kind, the broadcast starred the musical's entire original cast, led by
Mary Martin Mary Virginia Martin (December 1, 1913 – November 3, 1990) was an American actress and singer. A muse In ancient Greek religion Ancient Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs, rituals, and Greek mythology, mythology originat ...

Mary Martin
as Peter and
Cyril Ritchard Cyril Joseph Trimnell-Ritchard (1 December 1898 – 18 December 1977), known professionally as Cyril Ritchard, was an Australian stage, screen and television actor, and director. He is best remembered today for his performance as Captain Hook ...
in a dual role as Mr. Darling and
Captain Hook Captain James Hook is a fictional character, the main antagonist of J. M. Barrie's 1904 play ''Peter and Wendy, Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up'' and its various adaptations, in which he is Peter Pan's archenemy. The character is a p ...

Captain Hook
. The broadcast drew the highest ratings for a television program for that period. It was so successful that NBC restaged it as a live broadcast a mere ten months later; in 1960, long after ''Producers' Showcase'' had ended its run, ''Peter Pan'', with most of the 1955 cast, was restaged again, this time as a standalone
special Special or specials may refer to: Policing * Specials, Ulster Special Constabulary, the Northern Ireland police force * Specials, Special Constable, an auxiliary, volunteer, or temporary; police worker or police officer Literature * ''Special ...
, and was videotaped so that it would no longer have to be performed live on television. In 1956, NBC started a subsidiary, (CNP), for merchandising, syndication and NBC opera company operations with the production of Silent Services. By 1957, NBC planned to remove the opera company from CNP and CNP was in discussion with
MGM Television MGM Television Worldwide Group and Digital (alternatively Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television Group and Digital, commonly known as MGM Television and then-known as MGM/UA Television; common Metonym: Lion) is an American television production/Broad ...
about handling syndication distribution for MGM series. During a
National Association of Broadcasters The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is a trade association A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by businesses t ...
meeting in Chicago in 1956, NBC announced that its owned-and-operated station in that market, WNBQ (now
WMAQ-TV WMAQ-TV, virtual channel In most telecommunications organizations, a virtual channel is a method of remapping the ''program number'' as used in H.222 Program Association Tables and Program Mapping Tables to a channel number that can be entere ...
), had become the first television station in the country to broadcast its programming in color (airing at least six hours of color broadcasts each day). In 1959, NBC premiered a televised version of the radio program ''
The Bell Telephone Hour ''The Bell Telephone Hour'' (also known as ''The Telephone Hour'') is a concert series that began April 29, 1940, on NBC Radio, and was heard on NBC until June 30, 1958. Sponsored by Bell System, Bell Telephone as the name implies, it showcased t ...
'', which aired in color from its debut; the program would continue on the NBC television network for nine more years until it ended in 1968. In 1961, NBC approached Walt Disney about acquiring the rights to his
anthology series An anthology series is a radio programming, radio, television program, television, or film series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode, Season (television)#Seasons.2Fseries, season, segment or short f ...
, offering to produce the program in color. Disney was in the midst of negotiating a new contract to keep the program (then known as ''Walt Disney Presents'') on ABC; however, ABC president
Leonard Goldenson Leonard H. Goldenson (December 7, 1905 – December 27, 1999) was the founder and president of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous ...
said that it could not counter the offer, as the network did not have the technical and financial resources to carry the program in color. Disney subsequently struck a deal with NBC, which began airing the anthology series in the format in September 1961 (as ''Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color''). As many of the Disney programs that aired in black-and-white on ABC were actually filmed in color, they could easily be re-aired in the format on the NBC broadcasts. In January 1962, NBC's telecast of the Rose Bowl became the first
college football College football (french: football universitaire) is gridiron football Gridiron football,
game ever to be telecast in color. By 1963, much of NBC's
prime time The prime time or the peak time is the block of broadcast programming Broadcast programming is the practice of organizing and/or ordering (scheduling) of broadcast media shows, typically radio and television, in a daily, weekly, monthly, qu ...
schedule was presented in color, although some popular series (such as ''
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ''The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'' is an American spy fiction television series produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television and first broadcast on NBC. The series follows secret agents, played by Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, who work for a sec ...
'', which premiered in late 1964) were broadcast in black-and-white for their entire first season. In the fall of 1965, NBC was broadcasting 95% of its prime time schedule in color (with the exceptions of ''
I Dream of Jeannie ''I Dream of Jeannie'' is an American fantasy Fantasy is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular ...
'' and ''
Convoy A convoy is a group of vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor vehicles (motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses), railed vehicles (trains, trams), watercraft ...
''), and began billing itself as "The Full Color Network." Without television sets to sell, rival networks followed more slowly, finally committing to an all-color lineup in prime time in the 1966–67 season. ''
Days of Our Lives ''Days of Our Lives'' (also stylized as ''Days of our Lives''; simply referred to as ''Days'' or ''DOOL'') is an American television daytime On Earth, daytime is the period of the day during which a given location experiences Daylight, n ...
'' became the first soap opera to premiere in color, when it debuted in November 1965. NBC contracted with
Universal Studios Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, or simply Universal; common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an int ...

Universal Studios
in 1964 to produce the first feature-length film produced for television, '' See How They Run'', which first aired on October 17, 1964; its second television movie, '' The Hanged Man'', aired six weeks later on November 28. Even while the presentations performed well in the ratings, NBC did not broadcast another made-for-TV film for two years. In 1967, NBC reached a deal with
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures or MGM) is an American media company, founded in 1924, that produces and distributes feature films and television programs. It is based in Beverly Hills, California ...
(MGM) to acquire the broadcast rights to the classic 1939 film ''
The Wizard of Oz ''The Wizard of Oz'' may refer to: *''The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'', a 1900 American novel by L. Frank Baum **Wizard of Oz (character), from the Baum novel series The Wizard of Oz may also refer to: Adaptations of the novel Film * The Wonderful ...
''. CBS, which had televised the film annually since 1956, refused to meet MGM's increased fee to renew its television rights. ''Oz'' had been, up to then, one of the few programs that CBS had telecast in color. However, by 1967, color broadcasts had become standard on television, and the film simply became another title in the list of specials that NBC telecast in the format. The film's showings on NBC were distinctive as it televised ''The Wizard of Oz'' without a hosted introduction, as CBS had long done; it was also slightly edited for time in order to make room to air more commercials. Despite the cuts, however, it continued to score excellent television ratings in those pre-VCR days, as audiences were generally unable to see the film any other way at that time. NBC aired ''The Wizard of Oz'' each year from 1968 to 1976, when CBS, realizing that they may have committed a colossal blunder by letting a huge ratings success like ''Oz'' go to another network, agreed to pay MGM more money to re-acquire the rights to show the film. The late 1960s brought big changes in the programming practices of the major television networks. As
baby boomer Baby boomers (often shortened to boomers) are the demographic Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancien ...
s reached adulthood, NBC, CBS, and ABC began to realize that much of their existing programming had not only been running for years but had audiences that skewed older. In order to attract the large youth population that was highly attractive to advertisers, the networks moved to clean house of a number of veteran shows. In NBC's case, this included programs like ''The Bell Telephone Hour'' and ''
Sing Along With Mitch Mitchell William Miller (July 4, 1911 – July 31, 2010) was an American oboist players from the Cantigas de Santa Maria, 13th century An oboist (formerly hautboist) is a musician who plays the oboe or any oboe family instrument, including th ...
'', which both had an average viewer age of 50. During this period, the networks came to define adults between the ages of 18 and 49 as their main target audience, although depending on the show, this could be subdivided into other age demos: 35–45, 18–25 or 18–35. Regardless of the exact target demographic, the general idea was to appeal to viewers who were not close to retirement age and to modernize television programming, which the networks felt overall was stuck in a 1950s mentality, to closely resemble contemporary American society.


1970s doldrums

The 1970s started strongly for NBC thanks to hits like ''
Adam-12 ''Adam-12'' is an American television police procedural The police procedural, or police crime drama, is a subgenre of procedural drama and detective fiction that emphasizes the investigative procedure of a police officer or department as th ...
'', ''
Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In ''Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In'' (often simply referred to as ''Laugh-In'') is an American sketch comedy television program that ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968, to March 12, 1973, on the NBC television network, hosted by comedians Dan R ...
'', '' Ironside'', ''
The Dean Martin Show ''The Dean Martin Show'', not to be confused with the ''Dean Martin Variety Show'' (1959–1960), is a TV variety- comedy series that ran from 1965 to 1974 for 264 episodes. It was broadcast by NBC and hosted by Dean Martin. The theme song to th ...
'', and ''
The Flip Wilson Show ''The Flip Wilson Show'' is an hour-long variety show that originally aired in the US on NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial radio Radio is the technology of signaling and t ...
''. However, despite the success of such new shows as the ''
NBC Mystery Movie ''The NBC Mystery Movie'' is the umbrella title of an American television series produced by Universal Pictures Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, and formerly named Universal Film Manufact ...
'', ''
Sanford and Son ''Sanford and Son'' is an American sitcom television series that ran on the NBC television network from January 14, 1972, to March 25, 1977. It was based on the BBC Television programme ''Steptoe and Son'', which had its original broadcast run in ...
'', ''
Chico and the Man ''Chico and the Man'' is an American sitcom A sitcom, Clipping (morphology), clipping for situational comedy (situation comedy in the U.S.), is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who (mostly) carry over from episode to epi ...
'', ''
Little House on the Prairie ''The "Little House" Books'' is a series of American children's novels written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, based on her childhood and adolescence in the Midwestern United States, American Midwest (Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Mis ...
'', '' The Midnight Special'', ''
The Rockford Files ''The Rockford Files'' is an American detective drama television series starring James Garner that aired on the NBC network between September 13, 1974, and January 10, 1980, and has remained in syndication to the present day. Garner portrays ...
'', '' Police Woman'', and ''
Emergency! ''Emergency!'' is an American television series that combines the medical drama and Action (fiction), action-adventure genres. It was a joint production of Mark VII Limited and Universal Television. It debuted on NBC as a midseason replacement on ...
'', as well as continued success from veterans like ''
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson ''The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson'' is an American late-night talk show A late-night talk show is a genre of talk show A talk show (or chat show in British English) is a television programming or radio programming genre structure ...
'' and ''
The Wonderful World of Disney The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California ...
'', the network entered a slump in the middle of the decade. ''Disney'', in particular, saw its ratings nosedive once CBS put ''
60 Minutes ''60 Minutes'' is an American television news magazine '' 2512'', a monthly news magazine published in Réunion. A news magazine is a typed, printed, and published magazine, radio or television program, usually published weekly, consisting ...
'' up against the program in the Sunday 7:00 p.m. time slot in the 1975–76 season. In 1974, under new president Herbert Schlosser, the network tried to attract younger viewers with a series of costly movies,
miniseries A miniseries, or mini-series, is a television series upright=1.35, A live television show set and cameras A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set which can be broadcast via over-the- ...
and specials. This failed to attract the desirable 18–34 demographic, and simultaneously alienated older viewers. None of the new prime-time shows that NBC introduced in the fall of 1975 earned a second season renewal, all failing in the face of established competition. The network's lone breakout success that season was the groundbreaking late-night comedy/variety show, ''NBC's Saturday Night'' – which would be renamed ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, ...

Saturday Night Live
'' in 1976, after the cancellation of a Howard Cosell-hosted program of the same title on ABC – which replaced reruns of ''The Tonight Show'' that previously aired in its Saturday time slot. In 1978, Schlosser was promoted to executive vice president at RCA, and a desperate NBC lured
Fred Silverman Fred Silverman (September 13, 1937 – January 30, 2020) was an American television executive and producer. He worked as an executive at all of the Big Three television networks In television network A television network or broadcaster is a ...
away from top-rated ABC to turn its fortunes around. With the notable exceptions of ''
CHiPs ''CHiPs'' is an American crime drama Crime films, in the broadest sense, is a film genre inspired by and analogous to the crime fiction literary genre. Films of this genre generally involve various aspects of crime and its detection. Stylist ...
'', '' Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters'', ''
Diff'rent Strokes ''Diff'rent Strokes'' is an American television sitcom A sitcom, Clipping (morphology), clipping for situational comedy (situation comedy in the U.S.), is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who (mostly) carry over from ep ...
'' (and its spin-off '' The Facts of Life''), ''
Real People ''Real People'' was an American reality television series that originally aired on NBC from 1979 to 1984, Wednesdays from 8 pm to 9pm Eastern Time Zone, Eastern Time. Its initial episodes aired live in the Eastern and Central Time Zone, Central t ...
'', and the miniseries ''
Shōgun , officially , was the title of the military dictatorship, military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868. Nominally appointed by the Emperor of Japan, Emperor, shoguns were usually the ''de facto'' rulers of th ...
'', Silverman was unable to pull out a hit. Failures accumulated rapidly under his watch (such as ''Hello, Larry'', ''Supertrain'', ''Pink Lady and Jeff'', ''The Krofft Superstar Hour'', Saturday Night Live (season 6), season six of ''Saturday Night Live'', and ''The Waverly Wonders''). Many of them were beaten in the ratings by shows that Silverman had greenlit during his previous tenures at CBS and ABC. During this time, several longtime affiliates also defected from NBC in markets such as
Atlanta Atlanta () is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Georgia (U.S. state), most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. With an estimated 2019 population of 506,811, it is also the List of United ...

Atlanta
(WSB-TV), Bakersfield, California, Bakersfield (KERO-TV),
Baltimore Baltimore ( , locally: ) is the most populous city The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitutes a city, as not all cities in all jurisdictions are classified using the same criteria. Cities may be defined as the city prop ...

Baltimore
(WBAL-TV), Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Baton Rouge (WBRZ-TV), Billings, Montana, Billings (KTVQ), Brownsville, Texas, Brownsville (KRGV-TV), Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlotte (WSOC-TV), Columbia, Missouri (KOMU-TV), Dayton, Ohio, Dayton (WDTN), Decatur, Alabama, Decatur (WAAY-TV), El Dorado, Arkansas, El Dorado (KARD (TV), KLAA), Eugene, Oregon, Eugene (KVAL-TV), Fargo, North Dakota, Fargo (WDAY-TV), Fort Smith, Arkansas, Fort Smith (KFSM-TV), Green Bay, Wisconsin, Green Bay (WFRV-TV), Indianapolis (WRTV), Jacksonville, Florida, Jacksonville (WTLV), Knoxville, Tennessee, Knoxville (WATE-TV), Marquette, Michigan, Marquette (WJMN-TV), Minneapolis-St. Paul (KSTP-TV), Medford, Oregon, Medford (KTVL), Odessa, Texas, Odessa (KMID (TV), KMID), Panama City, Florida, Panama City (WMBB), Rapid City, South Dakota, Rapid City (KHME, KOTA-TV), San Diego, California, San Diego (KGTV), Savannah, Georgia, Savannah (WSAV-TV), Schenectady, New York, Schenectady (
WRGB WRGB, virtual and VHF Very high frequency (VHF) is the designation for the range of s (s) from 30 to 300 (MHz), with corresponding wavelengths of ten meters to one meter. Frequencies immediately below VHF are denoted (HF), and the next ...
), Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Sioux Falls (KSFY-TV), Temple, Texas, Temple (KCEN-TV), Tyler, Texas, Tyler (KLTV), Waterbury, Connecticut, Waterbury (WCCT-TV, WATR-TV) and Wheeling, West Virginia, Wheeling (WTRF-TV). Most of these stations were wooed away by ABC, which had lifted out of last place to become the #1 network during the late 1970s and early 1980s, while WBAL-TV, KERO-TV, KFSM-TV, KTVQ KVAL-TV, KTVL, WRGB and WTRF-TV went to CBS and WATR-TV became an independent station under the new WTXX calls (it is now CW affiliate WCCT-TV); ABC had originally considered aligning with WBAL, but the station decided against it because ABC's ABC World News#Reasoner, Smith, and Walters, evening newscasts had attracted ratings too dismal for them to consider doing so. Most of these defected from NBC were VHF stations, with some exceptions including WAAY-TV, WATR-TV, KLAA-TV and KERO, which are UHF stations (in case of both Huntsville and Bakersfield, it was since these cities lacked any sort of VHF stations). In the case of WSB-TV and WSOC-TV, which have both since become ABC affiliates, both stations were (and remain) under common ownership with Cox Enterprises, with its other NBC affiliate at the time, WIIC-TV in Pittsburgh (which would become WPXI in 1981 and also remains owned by Cox), only staying with the network because WIIC-TV itself was a distant third to CBS-affiliated powerhouse KDKA-TV and ABC affiliate WTAE-TV (KDKA-TV, owned at the time by Westinghouse Broadcasting, Group W and now CBS Television Stations, owned by CBS, infamously passed up affiliating with NBC after
Westinghouse Westinghouse may refer to: Businesses Current companies *Westinghouse Licensing, the brand management division of ViacomCBS, and licensees: **Westinghouse Electric Company, providing nuclear power related services **Westinghouse Electronics, wh ...
bought the station from DuMont in 1954, leading to an acrimonious relationship between NBC and Westinghouse that lasted for years afterward). In markets such as San Diego, Fort Smith, Charlotte, Knoxville and Jacksonville, NBC had little choice but to affiliate with a Ultra high frequency, UHF station, with the San Diego station (KNSD) eventually becoming an NBC O&O, though in the case of Knoxville, it moved back to Very high frequency, VHF in 1988 with the switch to then-
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
affiliate WBIR-TV. In Wheeling, NBC ultimately upgraded its affiliation when it partnered with WTOV-TV in nearby Steubenville, Ohio, overtaking former affiliate WTRF-TV in the ratings by a large margin. Other smaller television markets like Yuma, Arizona waited many years to get another local NBC affiliate (first with KIVA (TV), KIVA, and later KYMA-DT, KYMA). The stations in Baltimore, Columbia, Dayton, Jacksonville, Savannah, and Temple, however, have since rejoined the network, although El Dorado went to a full-time Fox affiliate after a long association with ABC, Green Bay switched to CBS several years after being associated with ABC, and Bakersfield, where it went to ABC several years after it was a CBS affiliate. In case of Rapid City, the KOTA calls now resist on a station owned by Gray Television. After President of the United States, President Jimmy Carter 1980 Summer Olympics boycott, pulled the U.S. team out of the 1980 Summer Olympics, NBC canceled a planned 150 hours of NBC Olympic broadcasts, coverage (which had cost $87 million for the broadcast rights), placing the network's future in doubt. It had been counting on the broadcasts to help promote its new fall shows, and had been estimated to pull in $170 million in advertising revenue. The press was merciless towards Silverman, but the two most savage attacks on his leadership came from within the network. The company that composed the promotional theme for NBC's "Proud as a Peacock" image campaign created a parody song called "Loud as a Peacock", which was broadcast on Don Imus' program on WNBC radio in New York. Its lyrics blamed Silverman for the network's problems ("The Peacock's dead, so thank you, Fred"). An angered Silverman ordered all remaining copies of the spoof destroyed, though technology eventually allowed its wide propagation to the Internet in later generations from a few remaining copies. ''Saturday Night Live'' writer and occasional performer Al Franken satirized Silverman in a sketch on the program titled "A Limo For A Lame-O", where he presented a chart with the top-10 rated programs for that season and commented that there was "not one ''N''" on the list. Silverman later admitted he "never liked Al Franken to begin with", and the sketch ruined Franken's chance of succeeding Lorne Michaels as executive producer of ''SNL'' following his 1980 departure (with the position going to Jean Doumanian, who was fired after one season following declining ratings and negative critical reviews. Michaels would later return to the show in 1985).


Tartikoff's turnaround

Fred Silverman eventually resigned as entertainment president in the summer of 1981. Grant Tinker, a highly regarded producer who co-founded MTM Enterprises with his former wife Mary Tyler Moore, became the president of the network while Brandon Tartikoff became the president of the entertainment division. Tartikoff inherited a schedule full of aging dramas and very few sitcoms, but showed patience with promising programs. One such show was the critically acclaimed ''Hill Street Blues'', which suffered from poor ratings during its first season. Rather than canceling the show, he moved the Emmy Award-winning police drama from Steven Bochco to Thursdays, where its ratings improved dramatically. He used the same tactics with ''St. Elsewhere'' and ''Cheers''. Shows like these were able to get the same ad revenue as their higher-rated competition because of their desirable demographics, upscale adults ages 18–34. While the network claimed moderate successes with ''Gimme a Break!'', ''Silver Spoons'', ''Knight Rider (1982 TV series), Knight Rider'', and ''Remington Steele'', its biggest hit during this period was ''The A-Team'', which, at 10th place, was the network's only program to rank in the Nielsen ratings, Nielsen Top-20 for the 1982–83 United States network television schedule, 1982–83 season, and ascended to fourth place the following year. These shows helped NBC through the disastrous 1983–84 United States network television schedule, 1983–84 season, which saw none of its nine new fall shows gaining a second year. In February 1982, NBC canceled Tom Snyder's ''The Tomorrow Show'' and gave the 12:35 a.m. time slot to 34-year-old comedian David Letterman. Though Letterman was unsuccessful with his The David Letterman Show, weekday morning talk show effort for the network (which debuted on June 23, 1980), ''Late Night with David Letterman'' proved much more successful, lasting for 11 years and serving as the launching pad for another Late Night (NBC), late-night talk franchise that continues to this day. In 1984, the huge success of ''The Cosby Show'' led to a renewed interest in sitcoms, while ''Family Ties'' and ''Cheers'', both of which premiered in 1982 to mediocre ratings (the latter ranking at near dead last among all network shows during the 1982–83 season), saw their viewership increase from having ''Cosby'' as a lead-in. The network rose from third place to second in the ratings during the 1984–85 United States network television schedule, 1984–85 season and reached first place in 1985–86 United States network television schedule, 1985–86, with hits ''The Golden Girls'', ''Miami Vice'', ''227 (TV series), 227'', ''Night Court'', ''Highway to Heaven'', and ''Hunter (1984 U.S. TV series), Hunter''. The network's upswing continued late into the decade with ''ALF (TV series), ALF'', ''Amen (TV series), Amen'', ''Matlock (TV series), Matlock'', ''L.A. Law'', ''The Hogan Family'', ''A Different World'', ''Empty Nest (TV series), Empty Nest'', ''Unsolved Mysteries'', and ''In the Heat of the Night (TV series), In the Heat of the Night''. In 1986,
Bob Wright Robert Charles Wright (born April 23, 1943) is an American lawyer, businessman, and author. He is a former NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related ...
was appointed as chairman of NBC. In 1985, NBC becomes the first American television network to broadcast programs in Stereophonic sound, stereo. NBC started repairing its old affiliations that were previously wooed by ABC, such as Savannah, Temple and Columbia, followed by Jacksonville in 1988. It also repaired WOWT, a station formerly affiliated with
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
, in 1986. In the fall of 1987, NBC conceived a syndication package for its owned-and-operated stations, under the brand "Prime Time Begins at 7:30", consisting of five sitcoms that each aired once a week, and were produced by various production companies contracted by NBC. The series included ''Marblehead Manor'' (from Paramount Television, airing Mondays), centering on a mansion owner and the people who live with him; ''She's the Sheriff'' (from Lorimar Television, Lorimar-Telepictures and airing Tuesdays), a comeback vehicle for Suzanne Somers which cast her as a widowed county sheriff; a series adapted from the George S. Kaufman play ''You Can't Take It with You (TV series), You Can't Take It with You'' (airing Wednesdays), starring Harry Morgan; ''Out of This World (American TV series), Out of This World'' (from MCA Television and airing Thursdays), which starred Maureen Flannigan as a teenager born to an alien father and human mother that develops supernatural abilities on her 13th birthday; and a revival of the short-lived 1983 NBC series ''We Got It Made'' (produced by
Fred Silverman Fred Silverman (September 13, 1937 – January 30, 2020) was an American television executive and producer. He worked as an executive at all of the Big Three television networks In television network A television network or broadcaster is a ...
for
MGM Television MGM Television Worldwide Group and Digital (alternatively Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television Group and Digital, commonly known as MGM Television and then-known as MGM/UA Television; common Metonym: Lion) is an American television production/Broad ...
and closing out the week on Fridays), as part of an ongoing trend at the time in which former network series were revived in first-run syndication. The package was aimed at attracting viewers to NBC stations in the half-hour preceding prime time (8:00 p.m. in the Eastern Time Zone, Eastern and Pacific Time Zones, 7:00 p.m. elsewhere), and was conceived as a result of the FCC's loosening of the Prime Time Access Rule, legislation passed in 1971 that required networks to turn over the 7:30 p.m. (Eastern) time slot to local stations to program local or syndicated content; and the relaxation of the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules, which had prevented networks from producing content from their own syndication units to fill the void. The shows that were part of the package were regularly outrated in many markets by such syndicated game shows as ''Wheel of Fortune (American game show), Wheel of Fortune'', ''Jeopardy!'', and ''Hollywood Squares''. ''Marblehead Manor'', ''We Got It Made'' and ''You Can't Take It With You'' were cancelled at the end of the 1987–88 season, with ''She's the Sheriff'' lasting one more season in weekend syndication before its cancellation. ''Out of This World'' ran for three additional seasons, airing mainly on weekends, and was the most successful of the five series. NBC aired the first of eight consecutive Summer Olympic Games broadcasts when it covered the 1988 Summer Olympics, 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea. The 1988–89 United States network television schedule, 1988–89 season saw NBC have an astounding 17 series in Nielsen's year-end Top 30 most-watched network programs; it also ranked at first place in the weekly ratings for more than 12 months, an unprecedented achievement that has not been duplicated since. 1989 Major League Baseball season, 1989 however, also served as NBC's final year of covering Major League Baseball on NBC, Major League Baseball (the primary package would move over to CBS for the next four years before NBC The Baseball Network, regained the rights), having done so in some shape or form since 1947 Major League Baseball season, 1947. Nevertheless, the network continued its hot streak into the early 1990s with new hits such as ''The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'', ''Blossom (TV series), Blossom'', and ''Law & Order''.


"Must See TV"

In 1991, Tartikoff left his role as NBC's President of Entertainment to take an executive position at Paramount Pictures. In the course of a decade, he had taken control of a network with no shows in the Nielsen Top 10 and left it with five. Tartikoff was succeeded by Warren Littlefield, whose first years as entertainment president proved shaky as a result of most of the Tartikoff-era hits ending their runs. Some blamed Littlefield for losing David Letterman to CBS after naming Jay Leno as the successor to Johnny Carson on ''The Tonight Show'', following the latter's retirement as host in May 1992. Things turned around with the launches of new hit series such as ''Mad About You'', ''Wings (NBC TV series), Wings'', ''Sisters (American TV series), Sisters'', ''Frasier'', ''Friends'', ''ER (TV series), ER'' and ''Will & Grace''. One of Tartikoff's late acquisitions, ''Seinfeld'' initially struggled from its debut in 1989 as a summer series, but grew to become one of NBC's top-rated shows after it was moved to Thursdays in the time slot following ''Cheers''. ''Seinfeld'' ended its run in 1998, becoming the latest overall television program in the U.S. to end its series finale, final season as the leader in the Nielsen ratings for a single television season. Only two other shows had finished their runs at the top of the ratings, ''I Love Lucy'' and ''The Andy Griffith Show''. Consequently, ''Friends'' emerged as NBC's biggest television show after the 1998 ''Seinfeld'' final broadcast. It dominated the ratings, never leaving the top five watched shows of the year from its second through tenth seasons and landing on the number-one spot during season eight in the 2001–02 United States network television schedule, 2001–02 season as the latest sitcom in the U.S. to lead the annual Nielsen primetime television ratings. ''Cheers'' spinoff ''Frasier'' became a critical and commercial success, usually landing in the Nielsen Top 20 – although its ratings were overshadowed to a minor extent by ''Friends'' – and went on to win numerous Emmy Awards (eventually setting a record for a sitcom that lasted until it was overtaken by ''Modern Family'' in 2014). In 1994, the network began branding its strong Thursday night lineup, mainly in reference to the comedies airing in the first two hours, under the "Must See TV" tagline (which during the mid- and late 1990s, was also applied to NBC's comedy blocks on other nights, particularly on Tuesdays). Between September 1994 and September 1996, NBC would affiliate with several stations that were affected by the 1994–96 United States broadcast TV realignment, which was triggered as a result of Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox's acquisition of rights to the NFL on Fox, NFL in December 1993. Several of those stations, including WBAL-TV, WHDH (TV), WHDH (Boston), and WCAU (Philadelphia), were involved in an affiliation deal between Westinghouse Broadcasting and CBS, KSHB-TV (Kansas City), which is one of the stations involved in an affiliation deal between New World Communications and Fox, WCBD-TV (Charleston), which was involved in an affiliation deal between Allbritton Communications and ABC and WGBA-TV (Green Bay), WPMI-TV (Mobile) and KHNL (Honolulu), which was part of an agreement between Fox and SF Broadcasting. By the mid-1990s, NBC Sports, NBC's sports division, headed by Dick Ebersol, had rights to three of the four major professional sports leagues (the NFL on NBC, NFL, Major League Baseball on NBC, Major League Baseball and the NBA on NBC, NBA), the Olympics, and the national powerhouse Notre Dame Football on NBC, Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. The ''NBA on NBC'' enjoyed great success in the 1990s due in large part to the Chicago Bulls' run of six championships at the hands of superstar Michael Jordan. However, NBC Sports would suffer a major blow in 1998, when it lost the rights to the American Football Conference (AFC) to NFL on CBS, CBS, which itself had lost rights to the National Football Conference (NFC) to Fox four years earlier; the deal stripped NBC of National Football League (NFL) game telecasts after 59 years and AFC games after 36 years (dating back to its existence as the American Football League prior to its AFL-NFL merger, 1970 merger with the NFL). Littlefield left NBC in 1998 to pursue a career as a television and film producer, with the network subsequently going through three entertainment presidents in three years. Littlefield was replaced as president of NBC Entertainment by Scott Sassa, who oversaw the development of such shows as ''The West Wing'', ''Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'' and ''Fear Factor''. After Sassa was reassigned to NBC's West Coast Division, Garth Ancier was named as his replacement in 1999.
Jeff Zucker Jeffrey Adam Zucker (born April 9, 1965) is an American media executive. He previously served as president and CEO of NBCUniversal. Zucker served as an executive in residence at Columbia Business School. In November 2012, Zucker was picked to tak ...
then succeeded Ancier as president of NBC Entertainment in 2000.


New century, new problems

At the start of the 2000s, NBC's fortunes started to take a rapid turn for the worse. That year, NBC's longstanding ratings lead ended as CBS (which had languished in the ratings after losing the NFL) overtook it for first place. In 2001, CBS chose to move its hit reality series ''Survivor (American TV series), Survivor'' to serve as the anchor of its Thursday night lineup. Its success was taken as a suggestion that NBC's nearly two decades of dominance on Thursday nights could be broken; even so, the strength of ''Friends'', ''Will & Grace'', ''ER'' and ''Just Shoot Me!'' (the latter of which saw its highest viewership following its move to that night in the 2000–01 United States network television schedule, 2000–01 season) helped the network continue to lead the Thursday ratings. Between the 2001–02 United States network television schedule, 2001–02 and 2004–05 United States network television schedule, 2004–05 seasons, NBC became the first major network to air select dramas in letterboxing (filming), letterbox over its analog broadcast feed; the move was done in the hopes of attracting new viewers, although the network saw only a slight boost. Overall, NBC retook its first-place lead that year, and spent much of the next four years (with the exception of the 2002–03 United States network television schedule, 2002–03 season, when it was briefly jumped again by CBS for first) in the top spot. On the other hand, NBC was stripped of the broadcast rights to two other major sports leagues: it lost Major League Baseball to Major League Baseball on Fox, Fox after the 2000 season (by that point, NBC only had alternating rights to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, All-Star Game, League Championship Series and World Series), and, later, the NBA to NBA on ABC, ABC after the 2001–02 NBA season, 2001–02 season. After losing the NBA rights, NBC's major sports offerings were reduced to the Olympics (which in 2002 Winter Olympics, 2002, expanded to include rights to the Winter Olympic Games, Winter Olympics, as part of a contract that gave it the U.S. television rights to both the Summer and Winter Olympics through 2012 Summer Olympics, 2012), Golf Channel on NBC, PGA Tour golf events and a floundering Notre Dame football program (however, it would eventually acquire the rights to the NHL on NBC, National Hockey League in May 2004). In October 2001, NBC acquired Spanish-language network Telemundo from Liberty Media and Sony Pictures Entertainment for $2.7 billion, beating out other bidders including CBS/Viacom (original), Viacom. The deal was finalized in 2002. In 2003, French entertainment conglomerate Vivendi, Vivendi Universal sold 80% of its film and television subsidiary, Vivendi Universal Entertainment, to NBC's parent company, General Electric, integrating the network with Vivendi Universal's various properties (Universal Pictures film studio, Canal+ television networks, & Universal Parks & Resorts theme & amusement parks & resorts) upon completion of the merger of the two companies under the combined NBCUniversal, NBC Universal brand. NBC Universal was then owned 80% by General Electric and 20% by Vivendi. In 2004, Zucker was promoted to the newly created position of president of NBCUniversal Television Group, NBC Universal Television Group. Kevin Reilly (executive), Kevin Reilly became the new president of NBC Entertainment. In 2004, NBC experienced a Three on a match (superstition), Three on a match scenario (''Friends'' and ''Frasier'' ended their runs; Jerry Orbach, who had played Lennie Briscoe, one of the most popular characters of its hit ''Law & Order'', died suddenly later that year), and shortly afterward was left with several moderately rated shows and few true hits. In particular, ''Friends'' spin-off ''Joey (TV series), Joey'', despite a relatively strong start, started to falter in the ratings during its second season. In December 2005, NBC began its first week-long primetime game show event, ''Deal or No Deal (American game show), Deal or No Deal''; the series garnered high ratings, and became a weekly series in March 2006. Otherwise, the 2005–06 United States network television schedule, 2005–06 season was one of the worst for NBC in three decades, with only one fall series, the sitcom ''My Name Is Earl'', surviving for a second season; the sole remaining anchor of the "Must See TV" lineup, ''Will & Grace'' also saw its ratings decline. That season, NBC's ratings fell to fourth place, behind a resurgent ABC, Fox (which would eventually become the most-watched U.S. broadcast network in the 2007–08 season), and top-rated CBS (which led for much of the remainder of the decade). During this time, all of the networks faced audience erosion from increased competition by cable television, home video, video games, and the Internet, with NBC being the hardest hit. The 2006–07 United States network television schedule, 2006–07 season was a mixed bag for the network, with ''Deal or No Deal'' remaining strong and ''Heroes (American TV series), Heroes'' becoming a surprise hit on Monday nights, while the highly touted ''Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip'' (from ''West Wing'' creator Aaron Sorkin) lost a third of its premiere-night viewers by Week 6 and was eventually canceled; two critically acclaimed sitcoms, ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'' and ''30 Rock'', also pulled in modest successes and went on to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for four consecutive years. The network also regained the rights to the NFL after eight years that season when it acquired the ''NBC Sunday Night Football, Sunday Night Football'' package from ESPN Sunday Night Football, ESPN (as part of a deal that also saw ''Monday Night Football'' move to ESPN from ABC). However, despite this, NBC remained at a very distant fourth place, barely ranking ahead of The CW. However, NBC did experience success with its summer schedule, despite its declining ratings during the main broadcast season. ''America's Got Talent'', a reality talent competition series that premiered in 2006, earned a 4.6 rating in the 18–49 demographic, higher than that earned by the 2002 premiere of Fox's ''American Idol''. ''Got Talent'' (which is the flagship of an Got Talent, international talent competition franchise) would continue to garner unusually high ratings throughout its summer run. However, NBC decided not to place it in the spring season, and instead use it as a platform to promote their upcoming fall shows. Following the unexpected termination of Kevin Reilly, in 2007, Ben Silverman was appointed president of NBC Entertainment, while Jeff Zucker was promoted to succeed Bob Wright as CEO of NBC. The network failed to generate any new primetime hits during the 2008–09 United States network television schedule, 2008–09 season (despite the rare good fortune of having the rights to both the Super Bowl XLIII, Super Bowl and the 2008 Summer Olympics, Summer Olympics in which to promote their new programming slate), the sitcom ''Parks and Recreation'' survived for a second season after a six-episode first season, while ''Heroes'' and ''Deal or No Deal'' both collapsed in the ratings and were later canceled (with a revamped ''Deal or No Deal'' being revived for one additional season in syndication). In a March 2009 interview, Zucker had stated that he no longer believed it would be possible for NBC to become #1 in prime time. Ben Silverman left the network in 2009, with Jeff Gaspin replacing him as president of NBC Entertainment.


Comcast era (2011–present)

On December 3, 2009,
Comcast Comcast Corporation (formerly known as American Cable Systems and Comcast Holdings)Before the AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in mult ...
announced they would purchase a 51% controlling stake in NBCUniversal, NBC Universal from General Electric (which would retain the remaining 49%) for $6.5 billion in cash and $9.1 billion in raised debt. GE used $5.8 billion from the deal to buy out Vivendi's 20% interest in NBC Universal. NBC's broadcast of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, in February of that year, generated a ratings increase of 21% over its broadcast of the 2006 Winter Olympics, 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, Torino. The network was criticized for repeatedly showing footage of a crash occurring during practice for an Olympic luge competition that killed Georgia (country), Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. NBC News president Steve Capus ordered the footage not to be shown without his permission and Olympics prime time host Bob Costas promised on-air that the video would not be shown again during the Games. NBC Universal was on track to lose $250 million in advertising revenue on that year's Winter Olympics, failing to make up the $820 million it paid for the U.S. television rights. Even so, with its continuing position in fourth place (although it virtually tied with ABC in many demographics on the strength of NBC's sports broadcasts that year), the 2009–10 United States network television schedule, 2009–10 season ended with only two scripted shows – ''Community (TV series), Community'' and ''Parenthood (2010 TV series), Parenthood'', as well as three unscripted shows – ''The Marriage Ref (American TV series), The Marriage Ref'', ''Who Do You Think You Are? (American TV series), Who Do You Think You Are?'' and ''Minute to Win It'' – being renewed for second seasons, while other series such as ''Heroes'' and veteran crime drama ''Law & Order'' (the latter of which ended after 20 seasons, tying it with ''Gunsmoke'' as the longest-running prime time drama in U.S. television history) were cancelled. After Conan O'Brien succeeded Jay Leno as host of ''The Tonight Show'' in 2009, the network gave Leno The Jay Leno Show, a new prime time talk show, committing to air it every weeknight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific as an inexpensive comedic alternative to the police procedural#TV series, police procedurals and other hour-long dramas typically aired in that time slot. In doing so, NBC became the first major U.S. broadcast network in decades, if ever, to broadcast the same program in a week daily prime time Strip programming, strip. Its executives called the decision "a transformational moment in the history of broadcasting" and "in effect, launching five shows." Conversely, industry executives criticized the network for abandoning a history of airing quality dramas in the 10:00 hour, and expressed concern that it would hurt NBC by undermining a reputation built on successful scripted series. Citing complaints from many affiliates, which saw their late-evening newscasts drop significantly in the local ratings during ''The Jay Leno Show''s run, NBC announced on January 10, 2010, that it would drop Leno's show from the 10:00 p.m. slot, with Zucker announcing plans to shift the program (which would have been reduced to a half-hour) into the 11:35 p.m. slot and shift its existing late night lineup (including ''The Tonight Show'') by 30 minutes. The removal of ''The Jay Leno Show'' from its prime time schedule had almost no impact on the network's ratings. The increases NBC experienced in the 2010–11 United States network television schedule, 2010–11 season compared to 2009–10 United States network television schedule, 2009–10 were almost entirely attributable to the rising viewership of ''NBC Sunday Night Football''. By 2012, the shows that occupied the 10:00 p.m. time slot drew lower numbers than ''The Jay Leno Show'' did when it aired in that hour two years before. In the spring of 2010, cable provider and multimedia firm
Comcast Comcast Corporation (formerly known as American Cable Systems and Comcast Holdings)Before the AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in mult ...
announced it would acquire a majority interest in NBC Universal from General Electric, which would retain a minority stake in the company in the interim. On September 24, 2010, Jeff Zucker announced that he would step down as NBC Universal's CEO once the company's merger with Comcast was completed at the end of the year. After the deal was finalized, Steve Burke was named CEO of NBCUniversal and Robert Greenblatt replaced Jeff Gaspin as chairman of NBC Entertainment. In 2011, NBC was finally able to find a breakout hit in the midseason reality singing competition series ''The Voice (American TV series), The Voice''. Otherwise, NBC had another tough season, with every single new fall program getting cancelled by season's end – the third time this has happened to the network after the fall of 1975, and the fall of 1983 – and the midseason legal drama ''Harry's Law'' being its only freshman scripted series to be renewed for the 2011–12 United States network television schedule, 2011–12 season. The network nearly completed its full conversion to an all-HD schedule (outside of the Saturday morning time slot leased by the Qubo consortium, which NBCUniversal would rescind its stake in the following year) on September 20, 2011, when ''Last Call with Carson Daly'' converted to the format with the premiere of its 11th season. The 2011–12 season was another tough season for NBC. On the upside, the network's broadcast of Super Bowl XLVI was the most-watched program in U.S. television history at the time, and the network's Monday night midseason lineup of ''The Voice'' and musical-drama ''Smash (American TV series), Smash'' was very successful. The network managed to lift itself into third place in the 18–49 demographic in the 2011–12 season, primarily on the strength of those three programs (SNF, The Voice, and Smash), breaking the network's eight-year streak in fourth place. Four shows survived for a second season, but three of them were cancelled in the following year, none were unqualified ratings successes, and the network remained a distant fourth place in total viewership. In the fall of 2012, NBC greatly expanded its sitcom roster, with eight comedy series airing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. NBC bounced back to first place network in adults 18–49 that fall, boosted by the new season of ''The Voice'', the initial success of freshman drama ''Revolution (TV series), Revolution'' and sitcom ''Go On (TV series), Go On'', and the continued strength of ''Sunday Night Football''. However, withholding the new season of ''The Voice'' and benching ''Revolution'' until late March, the network's midseason ratings suffered, falling to fifth place behind Spanish-language network Univision during the February Sweeps, sweeps period. The 2012–13 United States network television schedule, 2012–13 season ended with NBC finishing in third place overall, albeit by a narrow margin, with only three new shows, all dramas, surviving for a second season (''Revolution'', ''Chicago Fire (TV series), Chicago Fire'' and ''Hannibal (TV series), Hannibal''). In 2013, NBC Sports migrated its business and production operations (including NBCSN) to new facilities in Stamford, Connecticut. Production of the network's NFL pre-game show ''Football Night in America'' remained at the NBC Studios (New York)#NBC Studio productions, NBC Studios at Rockefeller Center (with production operations based in Studio 8G, while the program itself was broadcast in Studio 8H, the longtime home of ''Saturday Night Live''), until it migrated to the Stamford facility in September 2014. Despite the failure of another highly advertised game show event, ''The Million Second Quiz'', the 2013–14 United States network television schedule, 2013–14 season was mostly successful for NBC due to the continued success of ''The Voice'', ''Chicago Fire'', ''Revolution'', ''Sunday Night Football'' and ''Grimm (TV series), Grimm''. Along with new hits including ''The Blacklist (TV series), The Blacklist'', ''Hannibal (TV series), Hannibal'' and ''Chicago PD (TV series), Chicago PD'' and a significant ratings boost from its broadcast of the 2014 Winter Olympics, NBC became the #1 network in the coveted 18–49 demographic that season for the first time since 2003–04, when ''Friends'' ended. NBC also improved considerably in total viewership, finishing behind long-dominant CBS in second place for the season. The 2014–15 United States network television schedule, 2014–15 season was something of a mixed bag for NBC, but still successful. NBC launched eight new series that year, with only one, comedy-drama police procedural ''The Mysteries of Laura'', being renewed for a second season. Nevertheless, the network continued to experience success with most of its returning series, especially ''The Blacklist'' (despite a modest decline in viewership following its move to Thursdays midway through the season, due partly to an initial weak lead-in from miniseries ''The Slap (American miniseries), The Slap''). Combined with the record number of viewers tuning in to Super Bowl XLIX, NBC again finished #1 in the 18–49 demographic and in second place overall. The 2015–16 United States network television schedule, 2015–16 season was successful for NBC, with the successful launch of the new drama ''Blindspot (TV series), Blindspot'' premiering after ''The Voice (American TV series), The Voice'', then subsequently being renewed for a second season in November 2015. NBC also continued with the success with the ''Chicago (franchise), Chicago'' franchise with launching its second spin-off ''Chicago Med'', which also received an early second season pick up in February 2016. Thursday nights continues to be a struggle for NBC, with continued success with the third season of ''The Blacklist (TV series), The Blacklist'' brought the failed launch of ''Heroes Reborn (miniseries), Heroes Reborn'' which was cancelled in January 2016, and thriller ''The Player (2015 TV series), The Player''; however, NBC found success with police procedural ''Shades of Blue (TV series), Shades of Blue,'' which improved in its timeslot and was renewed for a second season in February 2016. On the comedy side, NBC surprisingly found success in the new workplace sitcom ''Superstore (TV series), Superstore'' which premiered as a "preview" after ''The Voice'' in November 2015, and officially launched in January 2016 which brought decent ratings for a new comedy without ''The Voice'' as a lead-in and which was subsequently renewed for a second season in February 2016. The 2016–17 United States network television schedule, 2016–17 season brought more success for NBC with the premiere of comedy-drama ''This Is Us'', which was well received by critics and ratings and was renewed for two additional seasons in January 2017. ''The Blacklist (TV series), The Blacklist'' continued to bring in modest ratings, but it brought the failed launch of its spinoff ''The Blacklist: Redemption''. NBC continued to grow the ''Chicago (franchise), Chicago'' franchise with a third spinoff titled ''Chicago Justice''. On the comedy side, workplace sitcom ''Superstore (TV series), Superstore'' continued success in its second season. The network launched new fantasy sitcom ''The Good Place'' following ''The Voice'' and brought in modest ratings and was renewed for a second season in January 2017. Another highlight of the 2016–17 season was ''The Wall (game show), The Wall'', which premiered to modest ratings and would air in the summer time period prior to the 2017–18 season. The 2017–18 season brought continued success for NBC with the premiere of ''Ellen's Game of Games'' and the return of ''Will & Grace'', the latter of which previously aired its final episode in 2006. The 2018–19 season would continue the network's success with the premieres of ''The Titan Games'', Manifest (TV series), ''Manifest'', ''Songland'', and New Amsterdam (2018 TV series), ''New Amsterdam'', all of which would be renewed for additional seasons; however, The Village (2019 TV series), ''The Village'' and The Enemy Within (TV series), ''The Enemy Within'' would not make it past their first seasons. The network's dominance of the 2010s would fade during the 2019–20 season, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a major disruption in production of the network's programming. The pandemic caused the International Olympic Committee, IOC and the Government of Japan, Japanese government to reach an agreement to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics to the summer of 2021, resulting in the network having to rely on alternative programming for the summer of 2020.


Programming

, NBC provides 87 hours of regularly scheduled network programming each week. The network provides 22 hours of prime time programming to affiliated stations Monday through Saturdays from 8:00–11:00 p.m. (7:00–10:00 p.m. in all other U.S. time zones) and Sundays from 7:00–11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time (6:00–10:00 p.m. in all other time zones). Daytime programming is also provided weekdays at 1:00 p.m. in the form of the one-hour weekday soap opera ''Days of Our Lives'' (the scheduling of the program varies depending on the station, although it is initially fed to affiliates at 1:00 p.m. Eastern). NBC News programming includes the morning news/interview program ''Today'' from 7:00–11:00 a.m. weekdays, 7:00–9:00 on Saturdays and 7:00–8:00 on Sundays; nightly editions of ''NBC Nightly News'' (whose weekend editions are occasionally subject to abbreviation or preemption due to sports telecasts overrunning into the program's time slot), the Sunday morning talk shows, Sunday political talk show ''Meet the Press'', weekday early-morning news program ''Early Today'' and newsmagazine ''Dateline NBC''. Late nights feature the weeknight talk shows ''The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'', ''Late Night with Seth Meyers'', and an graveyard slot, overnight replay ''Today with Hoda & Jenna'', or for NBC affiliates carrying it in syndication, the option to substitute a same-day encore of ''The Kelly Clarkson Show on weekdays''. On Saturdays, the LXTV-produced ''1st Look'' and ''Open House NYC'' air after ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, ...

Saturday Night Live
'' (replays of the previous week's ''1st Look'' also air on Friday late nights on most stations), with a ''Meet the Press'' encore a part of its Sunday overnight schedule. The network's Weekend morning children's programming time slot is programmed by Litton Entertainment under a time-lease agreement. The three-hour block of programming designed for 14– 16-year-old teenage viewers is under the umbrella branding of ''The More You Know (block), The More You Know'', based on the network's long-time strand of internally-produced public service announcements of The More You Know, the same name. It premiered on October 8, 2016, giving Litton control of all but Fox's Weekend morning E/I programming among the five major broadcast networks. Sports programming is also provided weekend afternoons at any time between 7:00 and 11:30 p.m. eastern live in all time zone but most commonly between 12-6 pm eastern time,Due to the unpredictable length of sporting events, NBC will occasionally pre-empt scheduled programs (more common with the weekend editions of ''NBC Nightly News'', and local and syndicated programs carried by its owned-and-operated stations and affiliates). NBC has also held the American broadcasting rights to the Summer Olympic Games since the 1988 games and the rights to the Winter Olympic Games since the 2002 games. Coverage of the Olympics on NBC has included pre-empting regularly scheduled programs during daytime, primetime, and late night.


NBC News

News coverage has long been an important part of NBC's operations and public image, dating to the network's radio days. Notable NBC News productions past and present include ''Today'', ''NBC Nightly News'' (and its immediate predecessor, the ''Huntley-Brinkley Report''), ''Meet the Press'' (which has the distinction of the longest continuously running program in the history of American television), ''Dateline NBC'', ''Early Today'', ''NBC News at Sunrise'', ''NBC Nightside'' and ''Rock Center with Brian Williams''. In 1989, the news division began its expansion to cable with the launch of business news channel CNBC. The company eventually formed other United States cable news, cable news services including MSNBC (created in 1996 originally as a joint venture with Microsoft, which now features a mix of general news and political discussion programs with a liberal stance), and the 2008 acquisition of The Weather Channel in conjunction with Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. In addition, NBCSN (operated as part of the NBC Sports Group, and which became an NBC property through Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal) carries sports news content alongside sports event telecasts. Key anchors from NBC News are also used during NBC Sports coverage of the Olympic Games.


Daytime programming

NBC is currently the home to Two daytime programs, the hour-long soap opera ''Days of Our Lives'', which has been broadcast on the network since 1965 and Talk Show ''Today with Hoda and Jenna'' since 2018. Since NBC turned back an hour of its then two-hour daytime schedule to its affiliates as a result of the September 2007 expansion of ''Today'' to four hours, but Split The Show into Three Parts including a 3rd Hour, the network has the smallest block of daytime programming among the full-time broadcast networks (the CW is a part-time network and has had only prime time programming since 2021). Long-running daytime dramas seen on NBC in the past include ''The Doctors (1963 TV series), The Doctors'' (1963–1982), ''Another World (TV series), Another World'' (1964–1999), ''Santa Barbara (TV series), Santa Barbara'' (1984–1993), and ''Passions'' (1999–2007). NBC also aired the final 4½ years of ''Search for Tomorrow'' (1982–1986) after that series was initially cancelled by CBS, although many NBC affiliates did not clear the show during its tenure on the network. NBC has also aired numerous short-lived soap operas, including ''Generations (American TV series), Generations'' (1989–1991), ''Sunset Beach (TV series), Sunset Beach'' (1997–1999), and the two ''Another World'' spin-offs, ''Somerset (TV series), Somerset'' (1970–1976) and ''Texas (TV series), Texas'' (1980–1982). Notable daytime game shows that once aired on NBC include ''The Price Is Right (American game show), The Price Is Right'' (1956–1963), ''Concentration (game show), Concentration'' (1958–1973; and 1987–1991 as ''Classic Concentration''), ''Match Game, The Match Game'' (1962–1969), ''Let's Make a Deal'' (1963–1968 and 1990–1991, as well as a short-lived prime-time revival in 2003), ''Jeopardy!'' (1964–1975 and 1978–1979), ''The Hollywood Squares'' (1966–1980), ''Wheel of Fortune (American game show), Wheel of Fortune'' (1975–1989 and 1991), ''Password Plus and Super Password, Password Plus/Super Password'' (1979–1982 and 1984–1989), ''Sale of the Century (American game show), Sale of the Century'' (1969–1973 and 1983–1989) and ''Scrabble (game show), Scrabble'' (1984–1990 and 1993). The last game show ever to air as part of NBC's daytime schedule was the short-lived ''Caesars Challenge'', which ended in January 1994. Notable past daytime talk shows that have aired on NBC have included ''Home (1954 TV series), Home'' (1954–1957), ''The Ernie Kovacs Show'' (1955–1956), ''The Merv Griffin Show'' (1962–1963), ''Leeza'' (1994–1999) and ''Later Today'' (1999–2000).


Children's programming

Children's programming has played a part in NBC's programming since its initial roots in television. NBC's first major children's series, ''Howdy Doody'', debuted in 1947 and was one of the era's first breakthrough television shows. From the mid-1960s until 1992, the bulk of NBC's children's programming was composed of mainly animated programming including classic ''Looney Tunes'' and ''Woody Woodpecker'' shorts; reruns of primetime animated sitcoms such as ''The Flintstones'' and ''The Jetsons''; foreign acquisitions like ''Astro Boy'' and ''Kimba the White Lion''; animated adaptions of ''Punky Brewster'', ''ALF (TV series), ALF'' and ''Star Trek'' as well as animated vehicles for Gary Coleman and Mr. T; live-action programs like ''The Banana Splits'', ''The Bugaloos'' and ''H.R. Pufnstuf''; and the original broadcasts of ''Gumby'', ''The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show'', ''Underdog (TV series), Underdog'', ''The Smurfs (1981 TV series), The Smurfs'', ''Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983 TV series), Alvin and the Chipmunks'' and ''Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears''. From 1984 to 1989, the network aired a series of public service announcements called ''One to Grow On'', which aired after the end credits of every program or every other children's program. In 1989, NBC premiered ''Saved by the Bell'', a live-action teen sitcom which originated on Disney Channel, The Disney Channel the previous year as ''Good Morning, Miss Bliss'' (which served as a starring vehicle for Hayley Mills; Mark-Paul Gosselaar, four Dennis Haskins, cast members Lark Voorhies, from Dustin Diamond, that show were cast in the NBC series as the characters they originally played on ''Miss Bliss''). ''Saved by the Bell'', despite being given bad reviews from television critics, would become one of the most popular teen series in television history as well as the top-rated series on Saturday mornings, dethroning ABC's ''The Bugs Bunny Show, The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show'' in its first season. The success of ''Saved by the Bell'' led NBC to remove animated series from its Saturday morning lineup in August 1992 in favor of additional live-action series as part of a new block called TNBC, along with the debut of a Saturday edition of ''Weekend Today, Today''. Most of the series featured on the TNBC lineup were executive produced by Peter Engel (TV producer), Peter Engel (such as ''City Guys'', ''Hang Time (TV series), Hang Time'', ''California Dreams'', ''One World (TV series), One World'' and the ''Saved by the Bell'' sequel, ''Saved by the Bell: The New Class''), with the lineup being designed from the start to meet the earliest form of the FCC's E/I, educational programming guidelines under the Children's Television Act. ''NBA Inside Stuff'', an analysis and interview program aimed at teens that was hosted for most of its run by Ahmad Rashād, was also a part of the TNBC lineup during the NBA season until 2002 (when the program moved to ABC as a result of that network taking the NBA rights from NBC). In 2002, NBC entered into an agreement with Discovery, Inc., Discovery Communications to carry educational children's programs from the Discovery Kids cable channel. Debuting that September, the Discovery Kids on NBC block originally consisted exclusively of live-action series, including reality series ''Trading Spaces: Boys vs. Girls'' (a kid-themed version of the TLC (TV network), TLC series ''Trading Spaces''); the Emmy-nominated reality game show ''Endurance (TV series), Endurance'', hosted and produced by J. D. Roth (whose production company, 3-Ball Productions, would also produce reality series ''The Biggest Loser (American TV series), The Biggest Loser'' for NBC beginning in 2003); and scripted series such as ''Strange Days at Blake Holsey High'' and ''Scout's Safari''. The block later expanded to include some animated series such as ''Kenny the Shark'', ''Tutenstein'' and ''Time Warp Trio''. In May 2006, NBC announced plans to launch a new Saturday morning children's block under the Qubo brand in September 2006. An endeavor originally operated as a joint venture between NBCUniversal, Ion Media Networks, Scholastic Press, Classic Media and Corus Entertainment's Nelvana unit (Ion acquired the other partners' shares in 2013), the Qubo venture also encompassed weekly blocks on Telemundo and Ion Television, a 24-hour digital multicast network on Ion's owned-and-operated and affiliated stations, as well as video on demand services and a branded website. Qubo launched on NBC on September 9, 2006, with six programs (''VeggieTales'', ''Dragon (TV series), Dragon'', ''VeggieTales Presents: 3-2-1 Penguins!'', ''Babar (TV series), Babar'', ''Jane and the Dragon (TV series), Jane and the Dragon'' and ''Jacob Two-Two (TV series), Jacob Two-Two''). On March 28, 2012, it was announced that NBC would launch a new Saturday morning preschool block programmed by Sprout (originally jointly owned by NBCUniversal, PBS, Sesame Workshop and Apax Partners, with the former acquiring the other's interests later that year). The block, NBC Kids, premiered on July 7, 2012, replacing the "Qubo on NBC" block.


Specials

NBC holds the broadcast rights to several annual specials and award show telecasts including the Golden Globe Awards and the Emmy Awards (which is rotated across all four major networks each year). Since 1953, NBC has served as the official U.S. broadcaster of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. CBS also carries unauthorized coverage of the Macy's parade as part of ''The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS''; However, as NBC holds rights to the parade, it has exclusivity over the broadcast of Broadway and music performances appearing in the parade (CBS airs live performances separate from those seen in the parade as a result), and Macy's chose to reroute the parade in 2012 out of the view of CBS' cameras, although it continues to cover the parade. NBC began airing a same-day rebroadcast of the parade telecast in 2009 (replacing its annual Thanksgiving afternoon airing of ''Miracle on 34th Street''). In 2007, NBC acquired the rights to the National Dog Show, which airs following the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade each year. The network also broadcasts several live-action and animated specials during the Christmas holiday season, including the 2014 debuts ''How Murray Saved Christmas'' (an animated musical adaptation of the children's book of the same name) and ''Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas'' (a stop-motion animated special based on the 2003 live-action film ''Elf (film), Elf''). Since 2013, the network has aired live musical adaptations with major stars in lead roles. Originally dismissed as a gimmick, they have proven to be ratings successes, as well as a nostalgic tribute to the early days of television. Past adaptations include: *''The Sound of Music Live!, The Sound of Music'' in 2013 (starring Carrie Underwood as Maria Von Trapp) *''Peter Pan Live!, Peter Pan'' in 2014 (starring Allison Williams (actress), Allison Williams in the titular role and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook) *''The Wiz Live!, The Wiz'' in 2015 (starring Queen Latifah as the Wiz, Mary J. Blige as the Wicked Witch and Uzo Aduba as the Good Witch) *''Hairspray Live!, Hairspray'' in 2016 (starring Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton, Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle, Kristin Chenoweth as Velma von Tussle and Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, reprising his role in Hairspray (musical), the original Broadway production) *''Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, Jesus Christ Superstar'' in 2018 (starring John Legend as Jesus Christ, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene and Alice Cooper as King Herod) *''Annie Live!'' in 2021 (starring Taraji P. Henson as Miss Hannigan, Harry Connick Jr. as Daddy Warbucks, Nicole Scherzinger as Grace Farrell and Tituss Burgess as Rooster Hannigan) From 2003 to 2014, NBC also held rights to two of the three pageants organized by the Miss Universe Organization: the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants (NBC also held rights to the Miss Teen USA pageant from 2003, when NBC also assumed rights to the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants as part of a deal brokered by Miss Universe Organization owner Donald Trump that gave the network half-ownership of the pageants, until 2007, when NBC declined to renew its contract to carry Miss Teen USA, effectively discontinuing televised broadcasts of that event). NBCUniversal relinquished the rights to Miss Universe and Miss USA on June 29, 2015, as part of its decision to cut business ties with Donald Trump and the Miss Universe Organization (which was half-owned by corporate parent NBCUniversal) in response to controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants made by Trump during the launch of his Donald Trump presidential campaign, 2016, 2016 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.


Programming library

Through the years, NBC has produced many in-house programs, in addition to airing content from other producers such as Revue Studios and its successor Universal Television. Notable in-house productions by NBC have included ''Get Smart'', ''Bonanza'', ''Little House on the Prairie'', ''Las Vegas (TV series), Las Vegas'', ''Crossing Jordan'' and ''Law & Order''.


Stations

NBC has twelve owned-and-operated stations and current and pending affiliation agreements with 223 additional television stations encompassing 50 states, the District of Columbia, six U.S. possessions and two non-U.S. territories (Aruba and Bermuda). The network has a national reach of 88.91% of all households in the United States (or 277,821,345 Americans with at least one television set). Currently, New Jersey is the only U.S. state where NBC does not have a locally licensed affiliate. New Jersey is served by New York City O&O WNBC-TV and Philadelphia O&O WCAU; New Jersey formerly had an in-state affiliate in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Atlantic City-based WMGM-TV, which was affiliated with the network from 1955 to 2014. NBC maintains affiliations with low-power stations (broadcasting either in analog or digital) in a few smaller markets, such as Binghamton, New York (WBGH-CD), Jackson, Tennessee (WNBJ-LD) and Juneau, Alaska (KATH-LD), that do not have enough full-power stations to support a standalone affiliate. In some markets, these stations also maintain digital simulcasts on a subchannel of a co-owned/co-managed full-power television station. Portions of New Hampshire receive NBC programming via network-owned WBTS-CD, licensed to serve Nashua, New Hampshire, Nashua; while nominally licensed as a low-power Class A television service, class A station, it transmits a full-power signal under a channel share with the WGBH Educational Foundation and its secondary Boston station WGBX-TV from Needham, Massachusetts, and serves as the NBC station for the entire Boston market. Until 2019, NBC operated a low-powered station in Boston, WBTS-LD (now WYCN-LD), which aimed to serve as its station in that market while using a network of additional full-power stations to cover the market in full (including Merrimack, New Hampshire-licensed Telemundo station WNEU, which transmitted WBTS on a second subchannel); NBC purchased the Nashua station (formerly WYCN-CD) in early 2018 after the FCC spectrum auction, and in 2019 relocated WYCN-LD to Providence, Rhode Island to serve as a Telemundo station for that market. Currently outside of the NBC Owned Television Stations-operated O&O group, Tegna, Inc., Tegna Media is the largest operator of NBC stations in terms of overall market reach, owning or providing services to 20 NBC affiliates (including those in larger markets such as WXIA-TV, Atlanta, KUSA (TV), Denver, KSDK, St. Louis, KING-TV, Seattle and WKYC-TV, Cleveland); Gray Television is the largest operator of NBC stations by numerical total, owning 23 NBC-affiliated stations.


Related services


Video-on-demand services

NBC provides video on demand access for delayed viewing of the network's programming through various means, including via its website at NBC.com, a traditional VOD service called NBC on Demand available on most traditional cable and IPTV providers, and through content deals with Hulu and Netflix (the latter of which carries only cataloged episodes of NBC programs, after losing the right to carry newer episodes of its programs during their current seasons in July 2011). NBCUniversal is a part-owner of Hulu (along with majority owner The Walt Disney Company, owner of ABC), and has offered full-length episodes of most of NBC's programming through the streaming media, streaming service (which are available for viewing on Hulu's website and mobile app) since Hulu launched in Beta testing, private beta testing on October 29, 2007. The most recent episodes of the network's shows are usually made available on NBC.com and Hulu the day after their original broadcast. In addition, NBC.com and certain other partner websites (including Hulu) provide complete back catalogs of most of its current series as well as a limited selection of episodes of classic series from the NBCUniversal Television Distribution program library – including shows not broadcast by NBC during their original runs (including the complete or partial episode catalogs of shows like ''30 Rock'', ''The A-Team'', ''Charles in Charge'', ''
Emergency! ''Emergency!'' is an American television series that combines the medical drama and Action (fiction), action-adventure genres. It was a joint production of Mark VII Limited and Universal Television. It debuted on NBC as a midseason replacement on ...
'', ''Knight Rider'' (both the original series and the Knight Rider (2008 TV series), short-lived 2008 reboot), ''Kojak'', ''Miami Vice'', ''The Office'', ''Quantum Leap'' and ''Simon & Simon''). On February 18, 2015, NBC began providing live programming streams of local NBC stations in select markets, which are only available to TV Everywhere, authenticated subscribers of participating pay television providers. All eleven NBC owned-and-operated stations owned by NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations' were the first stations to offer streams of their programming on NBC's website and mobile app, and new affiliation agreements have made a majority of the network's affiliates available through the network's website and app based on a viewer's location. The network's NFL game telecasts were blackout (broadcasting), not permitted to be streamed on the service for several years until a change to the league's mobile rights agreement in the 2018 season allowed games to be streamed through network websites and apps.


NBC HD

NBC's master feed is transmitted in 1080i high-definition television, high definition, the native resolution format for NBCUniversal's television properties. However, 19 of its affiliates transmit the network's programming in 720p HD, while four others carry the network feed in 480i standard-definition television, standard definition either due to technical considerations for affiliates of other major networks that carry NBC programming on a digital subchannel, or because a primary feed NBC affiliate has not yet upgraded their transmission equipment to allow content to be presented in HD. NBC's master feed has not fully converted to 1080p or at 2160p ultra-high-definition television (UHD). However, some NBC stations have already began broadcasting at 1080p via ATSC 3.0 multiplex stations. One notable example is WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina (a station that re-joined NBC in February 2016), which is currently also broadcasting at 1080p via WNGT-CD, which is also serving as an ATSC 3.0 multiplex for the Raleigh area. While the equipment would allow the transmission of 2160p UHD, this was previously done through a secondary experimental station (WRAL-EX) where it transmitted limited NBC programming in UHD. The experimental station went off-air in 2018 as part of the FCC's repacking process. Meet the Press was the first regular series on a major television network to produce a high-definition broadcast on February 2, 1997, which aired in the format over WHD-TV in Washington, D.C., an experimental television station owned by a consortium of industry groups and stations which launched to allow testing of HD broadcasts and operated until 2002 (the program itself continued to be transmitted in 480i standard-definition television, standard definition over the NBC network until May 2, 2010, when it became the last NBC News program to convert to HD). NBC officially began its conversion to high-definition television, high definition with the launch of its simulcast feed, NBC HD, on April 26, 1999, when
The Tonight Show ''The Tonight Show'' is an American late-night talk show currently broadcast from the NBC Studios in Rockefeller Center Rockefeller Center is a large complex consisting of 19 commerce, commercial buildings covering between 48th Street (Manh ...
became the first HD program to air on the NBC network as well as the first regularly scheduled American network program to be produced and transmitted in high definition. The network gradually converted much of its existing programming from standard-definition television, standard-definition to high definition beginning with the 2002–03 United States network television schedule, 2002–03 season, with select shows among that season's slate of freshmen scripted series being broadcast in HD from their debuts. The network completed its conversion to high definition in September 2012, with the launch of NBC Kids, a new Saturday morning children's block programmed by new partial sister network Sprout (TV network), PBS Kids Sprout, which also became the second Saturday morning children's block with an entirely HD schedule (after the ABC-syndicated ''Litton's Weekend Adventure''). All of the network's programming has been presented in full HD since then (with the exception of certain Christmas holiday season, holiday specials produced prior to 2005 – such as its annual broadcast of ''It's a Wonderful Life'' – which continue to be presented in 4:3 SD, although some have been remastered for HD broadcast). All the HD programming are broadcast in 5.1 surround sound.


NBCi

In 1999, NBC launched NBCi (briefly changing its web address to "www.nbci.com"), a heavily advertised online venture serving as an attempt to launch an Internet portal and homepage. This move saw NBC partner with Xoom (web hosting), XOOM.com (not to be confused with the current Xoom Corporation, money transfer service), e-mail.com, AllBusiness.com, and Snap.com (eventually acquiring all four companies outright; Snap should also not be confused with the Snap Inc., current-day parent of Snapchat) to launch a multi-faceted internet portal with e-mail, webhosting, community, chat and personalization capabilities, and news content. Subsequently, in April 2000, NBC purchased GlobalBrain, a company specializing in search engines that learned from searches initiated by its users, for $32 million. The experiment lasted roughly one season; after its failure, NBCi's operations were folded back into NBC. The NBC Television portion of the website reverted to NBC.com. However, the NBCi website continued in operation as a portal for NBC-branded content (NBCi.com would be redirected to NBCi.msnbc.com), using a co-branded version of InfoSpace to deliver minimal portal content. In mid-2007, NBCi.com began to mirror the main NBC.com website; NBCi.com was eventually redirected to the NBC.com domain in 2010.


History of the NBC logo

NBC has used a number of logos throughout its history; early logos used by the television and radio networks were similar to the logo of its then-parent company, RCA. Logos used later in NBC's existence incorporated stylized Peafowl, peacock designs, including the current version that has been in use since 1986.


International broadcasts


Canada

NBC network programs can be received throughout most of Canada on cable, satellite and IPTV providers through certain U.S.-based affiliates of the network (such as WBTS-CD in Boston, KING-TV in Seattle, KBJR-TV in Duluth, Minnesota, WGRZ in Buffalo, New York and WHEC-TV in Rochester, New York. Some programs carried on these stations are subject to simultaneous substitutions, a practice imposed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in which a pay television provider supplants an American station's signal with a feed from a Canadian station/network airing a particular program in the same time slot to protect domestic advertising revenue. Some of these affiliates are also receivable over-the-air in southern areas of the country located near the Canada–United States border (signal coverage was somewhat reduced after the Digital television transition in the United States, digital television transition in 2009 due to the lower radiated power required to transmit digital signals).


Europe and the Middle East

NBC no longer exists outside the Americas as a channel in its own right. However, NBC News and MSNBC programs are broadcast for a few hours a day on OSN News, formerly known as Orbit News in Africa and the Middle East. Sister network CNBC Europe also broadcasts occasional breaking news coverage from MSNBC as well as ''The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon''. CNBC Europe also broadcast daily airings of ''NBC Nightly News'' at 00:30 CET Monday to Fridays.


NBC Super Channel becomes NBC Europe

In 1993, then-NBC parent General Electric acquired Super Channel, relaunching the Pan-European cable network as NBC Super Channel. In 1996, the channel was renamed NBC Europe, but was, from then on, almost always referred to on-air as simply "NBC". Most of NBC Europe's prime time programming was produced in Europe due to rights restrictions associated with U.S. primetime shows; the channel's weekday late-night schedule after 11:00 p.m. Central European Time, however, featured ''The Tonight Show'', ''Late Night with Conan O'Brien'' and ''Later (talk show), Later'', which the channel's slogan "Where the Stars Come Out at Night" was based around. Many NBC News programs were broadcast on NBC Europe, including ''Dateline NBC'', ''Meet the Press'' and ''NBC Nightly News'', the latter of which was broadcast simultaneously with the initial U.S. telecast. ''Today'' was also initially aired live in the afternoons, but was later broadcast instead the following morning on a more than half-day delay. In 1999, NBC Europe ceased broadcasting in most of Europe outside of Germany; the network was concurrently relaunched as a German-language technology channel aimed at a younger demographic, with the new series ''NBC GIGA'' as its flagship program. In 2005, the channel was relaunched again as the free-to-air movie channel Das Vierte which eventually shut down end of 2013 (acquired by Disney, which replaced it with a German version of Disney Channel). GIGA Television was subsequently spun off as a separate digital channel, available on satellite and cable providers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland which shut down as a TV station end of 2009.


Latin America


Mexico

NBC programming is available in Mexico through free-to-air affiliates in markets located within proximity to the Mexico–United States border (such as KYMA-DT/Yuma, Arizona; KGNS-TV/Laredo, Texas; KTSM-TV, KTSM/El Paso, Texas; KVEO/Brownsville, Texas; and KNSD/San Diego), whose signals are readily receivable over-the-air in border areas of northern Mexico. Some U.S.-based border affiliates are also available on subscription television providers throughout the country, including in the Mexico City area.


Nicaragua

In Nicaragua, cable and satellite providers used to carry either select U.S.-based NBC and Telemundo affiliated stations or the main network feed from NBCUniversal or Telemundo. The main local affiliate stations distributed on Nicaragua were NBC 6 WTVJ, Telemundo 51 WSCV in Miami. In addition to the NBC programming, there is also available by the NBC sister network Telemundo, a Spanish network based in the United States. In late 2017, NBC affiliates stopped being distributed on Nicaragua and the rest of Central America. This decision coincided with other U.S. affiliated stations from ABC and CBS also being pulled off from the air in the region. This was due to concerns expressed by the broadcasters on broadcasting rights outside their original local coverage area.


Canal de Noticias

In 1993, NBC launched a 24-hour Spanish-language news channel serving Latin America (the second news channel serving that region overall, after Noticias ECO, and the first to broadcast 24 hours a day), Canal de Noticias NBC, which based its news schedule around the "wheel" format conceived at CNN. The channel, which was headquartered in the offices of the NBC News Channel affiliate news service in Charlotte, North Carolina, employed over 50 journalists to produce, write, anchor and provide technical services. Canal de Noticias NBC shut down in 1999 due to the channel's inability to generate sustainable advertising revenue.


Caribbean

In the Caribbean, many subscription providers carry either select U.S.-based NBC affiliated stations or the main network feed from NBC O&Os WNBC in New York City or WTVJ in Miami. In addition, the network's programming has been available in the U.S. Virgin Islands since 2004 on WVGN-LD in Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie (owned by LKK Group), while Telemundo owned-and-operated station WKAQ-TV in San Juan, Puerto Rico carries the WNBC feed on a digital subchannel.


Bahamas

In the Bahamas, NBC programming is available via U.S.-based affiliate stations on domestic cable providers.


Netherlands Antilles

In Aruba, NBC maintains an affiliation with Oranjestad, Aruba, Oranjestad station PJA-TV (which brands on-air as "ATV").


Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, Telemundo O&O WKAQ-TV carries "NBC Puerto Rico" over their third subchannel, which is effectively a simulcast of WNBC with some local advertising and station identification.


Bermuda

Until it ended operations in 2014, NBC's entire program lineup was carried by VSB-TV, using the Eastern Time Zone feed, though an hour ahead due to its location in the Atlantic Time Zone. Bermuda currently receives NBC service from WTVJ Miami via cable.


Pacific


Guam

In Guam, the entire NBC programming lineup is carried by Hagåtña, Guam, Hagåtña affiliate KUAM-TV (which has been an NBC affiliate since 1956) via the network's East Coast satellite feed. Entertainment and news programming is broadcast day and date on a one-day tape delay as Guam is on the west side of the International Date Line (for example, the network's Thursday prime time lineup airs Friday evenings on KUAM, and is advertised by the station as airing on the latter night in on-air promotions). Live programming, including breaking news and sporting events, airs as scheduled; because of the time difference with the six U.S. time zones, live sports coverage often airs on the station early in the morning. KUAM's programming is relayed to the Northern Mariana Islands via broadcast relay station#satellite stations, satellite station WSZE in Saipan.


American Samoa

In American Samoa, NBC was affiliated with KBAD-LP, KKHJ-LP in Pago Pago from 2005 to 2012. Cable television providers on the islands carry the network's programming via Seattle affiliate KING-TV.


Federated States of Micronesia

In the Federated States of Micronesia, NBC programming is available on domestic cable providers via Honolulu affiliate KHNL.


Asia


NBC Asia and CNBC Asia

NBC Asia launched in 1994, distributed to India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Pakistan and the Philippines. Like NBC Europe, NBC Asia featured most of NBC's news programs as well as ''The Tonight Show'', ''Late Night'' and ''Saturday Night Live''. Like its European counterpart, it was not allowed to broadcast American-produced primetime shows due to existing broadcast agreements with other domestic broadcasters. NBC Asia produced a regional evening news program that aired each weeknight, and occasionally simulcast some programs from CNBC Asia and MSNBC. NBC also operated NBC Super Sports, a 24-hour channel devoted to televising sporting events. In July 1998, NBC Asia was replaced by a regional version of the National Geographic Channel (Asia), National Geographic Channel. As is the case with NBC Europe, CNBC Asia broadcasts select episodes of ''The Tonight Show'' and ''Late Night'' as well as ''Meet the Press'' are as part of its weekend schedule, and airs NFL games under the ''Sunday Night Football'' brand.


Regional partners

Through regional partners, NBC-produced programs are seen in some countries in the continent. In the Philippines, Jack TV (owned by Solar Entertainment) airs ''Will & Grace'' and ''Saturday Night Live'', while Talktv (Philippines), TalkTV airs ''The Tonight Show'' and NBC News programs including the weekday and Weekend Today, weekend editions of ''Today'', ''Early Today'', ''Dateline NBC'' and ''NBC Nightly News''. Solar TV formerly broadcast ''The Jay Leno Show'' from 2009 to 2010. In Hong Kong, English language free-to-air channel TVB Pearl (operated by TVB) airs live broadcasts of ''NBC Nightly News'', as well as other select NBC programs.


Australia

In Australia, the Seven Network has maintained close ties with NBC and has used a majority of the U.S. network's image campaigns and slogans since the 1970s (conversely, in 2009, NBC and Seven both used the Guy Sebastian single "Like It like That (Guy Sebastian song), Like it Like That" in image promos for their respective summer schedules). The network's ''Seven News'' division has used John Williams-composed "The Mission" (the proprietary theme music for NBC News' flagship programs since 1985) as the theme music for its local and national news programs since the mid-1980s, though re-composed domestically to meet their own branding image. Local newscasts were also titled ''Seven Nightly News'' from the mid-1980s until c. 2000. NBC News and Seven News often share news resources, with the former division using Seven's reporters for breaking news coverage and select taped story packages relating to Australian stories and the latter sometimes incorporating NBC News reports into its national bulletins. Seven also rebroadcasts some of NBC's news and current affairs programming during the early morning hours (usually from 3:00 to 5:00 a.m. local time), including the weekday and weekend editions of ''Today'' (which it brands as ''NBC Today'' to differentiate it from the unrelated Today (Australian TV program), morning program of the same title on the Nine Network), ''Dateline NBC'' and ''Meet the Press''.


Criticism and controversies

The NBC television network has been accused of tolerating a culture of sexism and sexual harassment among its employees (especially within upper management and among senior anchors such as Matt Lauer) and also of covering up indiscretions committed by prominent figures in the company through intimidation campaigns against victims that include widespread use of non-disclosure agreements. This may have exposed the company to pressure by Harvey Weinstein to delay or terminate reporting on Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse cases, Weinstein's criminal abuse of many women. In March and April 2019, the ''Huffington Post'' and ''Wired (magazine), Wired'' reported that NBC had paid a firm to Reputation management, improve its reputation by Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia, lobbying for changes to the Wikipedia articles on Nextdoor, NBC and several others.


Presidents of NBC Entertainment


See also

* Lists of NBC television affiliates * List of NBC personalities * NBC pages * NBC Olympic broadcasts


References


Further reading

* *


External links

*
Official History and Milestones for NBC Universal



NBC Logo Creation History

Archive of NBC office files from 1921-1955 (1.2 million paper documents & 3,100 audio recordings)
{{authority control National Broadcasting Company, NBCUniversal networks Former General Electric subsidiaries Television networks in the United States Entertainment companies based in New York City American companies established in 1926 Radio stations established in 1926 1926 establishments in New York (state)