The NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY (NBC) is an American English
language commercial broadcast television network that is a flagship
NBCUniversal , a subsidiary of
Comcast . The network is
headquartered in the
Comcast Building (formerly known as the GE
Building ) at
Rockefeller Center in New York City, with additional
major offices near
Los Angeles (at Universal City Plaza ),
NBC Tower ) and soon in
Comcast Innovation and
Technology Center . The network is part of the Big Three television
NBC is sometimes referred to as the "PEACOCK NETWORK", in
reference to its stylized peacock logo , introducted in 1956 to
promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting. It
became the network's official emblem in 1979.
Founded in 1926 by the
Radio Corporation of America
Radio Corporation of America (RCA),
NBC is the
oldest major broadcast network in the United States. In 1986, control
NBC passed to
General Electric (GE) – which previously owned RCA
NBC until 1930, when it was forced to sell the companies as a
result of antitrust charges – through its $6.4 billion purchase of
RCA. Following the acquisition by GE (which later liquidated RCA), Bob
Wright served as chief executive officer of NBC, remaining in that
position until his retirement in 2007, when he was succeeded by Jeff
Zucker . In 2003, French media company
Vivendi merged its
entertainment assets with GE, forming
a controlling interest in the company in 2011, and acquired General
Electric's remaining stake in 2013. Following the
NBC Universal and was replaced as CEO by
Steve Burke .
NBC has thirteen owned-and-operated stations and nearly 200
affiliates throughout the
United States and its territories, some of
which are also available in Canada 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.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Radio
* 1.1.1 Earliest stations: WEAF and WJZ
* 1.1.2 Red and Blue Networks
* 1.1.3 Chimes
* 1.1.4 New beginnings: The
Blue Network becomes ABC
* 1.1.5 Defining radio\'s golden age
* 1.1.6 Decline
* 1.1.7 Restoration
* 1.2 Television
* 1.2.2 1970s doldrums
* 1.2.3 Tartikoff\'s turnaround
* 1.2.4 "Must See TV"
* 1.2.5 New century, new problems
Comcast era (2011–present)
* 2 Programming
* 2.2 Daytime programming
* 2.3 Children\'s programming
* 2.4 Specials
* 2.5 Programming library
* 3 Stations
* 4 Related services
* 4.1 Video-on-demand services
* 4.3 NBCi
* 5 Evolution of the
* 6 International broadcasts
* 6.1 Canada
* 6.2 Europe and the Middle East
NBC Super Channel becomes
* 6.3 Latin America
* 6.3.3 Canal de Noticias
* 6.4 Caribbean
* 6.4.2 Netherlands Antilles
* 6.6 Pacific
Federated States of Micronesia
* 6.7 Asia
NBC Asia and
* 6.7.2 Regional partners
* 6.8 Australia
* 7 Criticism and controversies
* 7.1 Selective editing of
George Zimmerman 911 call
* 8 Presidents of
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 11 Further reading
* 12 External links
Comcast Building in
New York City
New York City (or the GE Building,
RCA Building ) serves as the headquarters of NBC.
Earliest Stations: WEAF And WJZ
During a period of early broadcast business consolidation, radio
Radio Corporation of America
Radio Corporation of America (RCA) acquired New York City
radio station WEAF from
American Telephone & Telegraph
American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T).
Westinghouse , a shareholder in RCA, had a competing outlet in Newark,
New Jersey pioneer station WJZ (no relation to the radio and
television station in
Baltimore currently using those call letters),
which also served as the flagship 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 , whose products included transmitters and antennas.
Bell System , AT and with AT&T's station in Washington, D.C., WCAP
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
lines. 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
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 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 (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 " offered commercially sponsored
entertainment and music programming; the "
Blue Network " 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 pushpins
NBC engineers used to designate affiliates of WEAF (red) and WJZ
(blue), or from the use of double-ended red and blue colored pencils.
Radio City West was located at
Sunset Boulevard and
Vine Street in
Los Angeles until it was replaced by a bank in the mid-1960s.
On April 5, 1927,
NBC expanded to the West Coast with the launch of
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.
The Orange Network name was removed from use in 1936, and the
network's affiliate stations became part of the Red Network. At the
same time, the Gold Network became part of the Blue Network. In the
NBC also developed a network for shortwave radio stations,
NBC White Network.
NBC moved its operations to 711 Fifth Avenue in
occupying the upper floors of a building designed by architect Floyd
Brown. The space that
NBC occupied was designed by
Raymond Hood , who
based the appearance of its multiple studio facilities on "a Gothic
church, the Roman forum, a Louis XIV room and, in a space devoted to
jazz, something 'wildly futuristic, with plenty of color in bizarre
NBC outgrew the Fifth Avenue facilities in 1933.
General Electric was charged with antitrust violations,
resulting in the company's decision to divest itself of RCA. The newly
separate company signed leases to move its corporate headquarters into
Rockefeller Center in 1931.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. , founder
and financier of Rockefeller Center, arranged the deal with GE
Owen D. Young and
David Sarnoff . 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 .
NBC chimes Entrance at the GE Building.
The iconic three-note
NBC chimes came about after several years of
development. The three-note sequence, G-E'-C', was first heard over
Network affiliate WSB in
Atlanta , with a second inversion C
Major triad 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 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 ; on 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 manned by NBC
NBC Tower in Chicago.
In 1934, the
Mutual Broadcasting System filed a complaint to the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), following the government
agency's creation, claiming it ran into difficulties trying to
establish new radio stations in a market largely controlled by
the Columbia Broadcasting System (
CBS ). In 1938, the FCC began a
series of investigations into the monopolistic 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
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.
Blue Network was formally named
NBC Blue Network, Inc. and
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",
Blue Network Company, Inc. serving as its official corporate name.
NBC Red, meanwhile, became known on-air as simply "NBC". Investment
firm Dillon, Read KGO in San Francisco and WENR in
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
New York City
New York City radio station WMCA . Noble, who wanted a
better name for the network, acquired the branding rights to the
American Broadcasting Company " name from George B. Storer in 1944.
Blue Network became ABC officially on June 15, 1945, after the
sale was completed.
Defining Radio\'s Golden Age
NBC Radio Network The front entrance of the NBC
Tower at 454 N. Columbus Drive in Chicago.
NBC became home to many of the most popular performers and programs
on the air.
Al Jolson ,
Jack Benny ,
Edgar Bergen ,
Bob Hope , Fred
Allen , and
Burns and Allen called
NBC home, as did Arturo Toscanini
NBC Symphony Orchestra , which the network helped him create. Other
programs featured on the network included
Vic and Sade
Vic and Sade , Fibber McGee
and Molly ,
The Great Gildersleeve
The Great Gildersleeve (arguably broadcasting's first
spin-off program, from Fibber McGee), One Man\'s Family , Ma Perkins
Death Valley Days
Death Valley Days .
NBC stations were often the most powerful, and
some occupied unique clear-channel 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 ,
Burns and Allen and Frank Sinatra
– jumped to CBS.
NBC stars began migrating to television, including
Milton Berle , whose
Texaco Star Theater on the network
became television's first major hit. Conductor Arturo Toscanini
NBC Symphony Orchestra 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 simulcasting
. Two of the concerts were historic firsts – the first complete
telecast of Beethoven\'s Symphony No. 9 , and the first complete
telecast of Verdi 's
Herva Nelli 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
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 as hostess, it lured
prestigious entertainers, including Fred Allen,
Groucho Marx , Lauritz
Ethel Barrymore ,
Louis Armstrong ,
Ethel Merman , Bob
Danny Thomas ,
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and
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
NBC's last major radio programming push, beginning on June 12, 1955,
was Monitor , a creation of
Sylvester "Pat" Weaver , who
also created the innovative programs Today ,
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show 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
Hugh Downs ,
Ed McMahon , Joe Garagiola and
Gene Rayburn .
The potpourri show tried to keep vintage radio alive by featuring
segments from Jim and Marian Jordan (in character as Fibber McGee and
Peg Lynch 's dialog comedy
Ethel and Albert (with Alan Bunce);
and iconoclastic satirist Henry Morgan . 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
radio beyond hourly newscasts and news features, and Sunday morning
The Eternal Light .
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 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
NBC Radio Network also pioneered personal advice call-in national
talk radio 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 (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 , and sold off the NBC-owned stations to
various buyers. By 1990, the
NBC Radio Network as an independent
programming service was pretty much dissolved, becoming a brand name
for content produced by Westwood One, and ultimately by, ironically,
CBS Radio . The Mutual Broadcasting System, which Westwood One had
acquired two years earlier, met the same fate, and essentially merged
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
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
– 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
By the late 1990s, Westwood One was producing
newscasts on weekday mornings. These were discontinued in 1999 (along
with Mutual branded newscasts), and the few remaining
Network affiliates became affiliates of
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
NBC News and MSNBC, with content written by Westwood
On March 1, 2012,
Dial Global announced that it would discontinue CNN
Radio, and replace it with an expansion of
NBC News Radio
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,
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 .
NBC News Radio
NBC News Radio has been distributed by iHeartMedia 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.
High frequency tubes in the tube room. They were used for the
NBC television transmitter, 1936.
NBC kept 220 tubes in reserve for
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-
station in New York City. President
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
W2XBS Channel 1 (later WNBC-TV; now
WNBC , channel 4) and was
seen by about 1,000 viewers within the station's roughly 40-mile (64
km) coverage area from its transmitter at the
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 (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
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
W2XBS studios at
Rockefeller Center and rebroadcast by
WRGB ) 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 . About this time, occasional
special events were also broadcast in
Philadelphia (over W3XE, later
called WPTZ, now known as
KYW-TV ) as well as Schenectady. The most
NBC television "network" program of the pre-war era was the
telecast of the
Republican National Convention
Republican National Convention held in
the summer of 1940, which was fed live to the
New York City
New York City and
Schenectady stations. However, despite major promotion by RCA,
television sales in New York during 1939 and 1940 were disappointing,
primarily due to the high cost of the sets, and the lack of compelling
regularly scheduled programming. Most sets 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
receivers in the
New York City
New York City area. 30 Rockefeller Center, also
known as the GE Building, is the world headquarters of NBC.
Television's experimental period ended, as the FCC allowed
full-fledged commercial television broadcasts to begin on July 1,
New York City
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
Bulova , which aired that day, just before the start of a
Brooklyn Dodgers 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 –
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 at 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 -sponsored
NBC Radio program anchored by
Lowell Thomas ; amateur boxing at Jamaica Arena ; the Eastern Clay
Courts tennis championships; programming from the
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 ,
Lever Brothers .
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 game ever telecast, between the
Brooklyn Dodgers and
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 Mobilgas he put on a
filling station attendant's cap while giving his spiel; and for
Wheaties 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
New York City to affiliated stations in
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 , a mainstay on
NBC radio since 1928, which was transmitted
New York City
New York City to
Philadelphia and Schenectady on a regular,
weekly basis beginning on April 10, 1944. The series is considered to
NBC television network's first regularly scheduled program.
Grace Brandt and Eddie Albert in an early
NBC television program The
Honeymooners-Grace and Eddie Show.
On V-E Day , 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 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.
NBC television network grew from its initial post-war lineup of
four stations. The
1947 World Series featured two
New York City
New York City area
teams (the Yankees 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.
NBC commissioned Italian-American composer Gian Carlo
Menotti to compose the first opera ever written for television;
Menotti came up with
Amahl and the Night Visitors , a 45-minute work
for which he wrote both music and libretto, about a disabled shepherd
boy who meets the
Three Wise Men and is miraculously cured when he
offers his crutch to the newborn 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 Title card used by
NBC in the
1950s, promoting their color broadcasts.
CBS and the
DuMont Television Network
DuMont Television Network also had plans to
begin offering color television broadcasts,
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 .
NBC broadcast a live production in color of Peter Pan , a
new Broadway musical adaptation of
J. M. Barrie 's beloved play, on
the Producers\' Showcase anthology series, The first such telecast of
its kind, the broadcast starred the musical's entire original cast,
Mary Martin as Peter and
Cyril Ritchard in a dual role as Mr.
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
Producers' Showcase had ended its run, Peter Pan, with most of
the 1955 cast, was restaged again, this time as a standalone special ,
and was videotaped so that it would no longer have to be performed
live on television.
NBC started a subsidiary, California National Productions
(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 about handling syndication distribution for MGM series.
National Association of Broadcasters meeting in
NBC announced that its owned-and-operated station in that
market, WNBQ (now
WMAQ-TV ), 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 , 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.
NBC approached Walt Disney about acquiring the rights to his
anthology series , 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 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 game ever to be telecast in color.
By 1963, much of NBC's prime time schedule was presented in color,
although some popular series (such as
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. , 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 and Convoy ), 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 became the first soap
opera to premiere in color, when it debuted in November 1965.
NBC contracted with
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.
NBC reached a deal with
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) to acquire
the broadcast rights to the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz . 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
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 boomers 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
Sing Along With Mitch , 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.
The 1970s started strongly for
NBC thanks to hits like
WBAL-TV was originally to go to ABC, but the station decided
against it because ABC's evening newscasts had attracted ratings too
dismal for them to consider doing so. In the case of
WSOC-TV, which have both since become ABC affiliates, both stations
were (and remain) under common ownership with
Cox Enterprises , with
NBC affiliate at the time, WIIC-TV in
WPXI in 1981 and also remains owned by Cox), only staying
with the network because WIIC-TV itself was a distant third to
KDKA-TV and ABC affiliate
owned at the time by Group W and now owned by
CBS , infamously passed
up affiliating with
NBC after Westinghouse bought the station from
DuMont in 1954, leading to an acrimonious relationship between
Westinghouse that lasted for years afterward). In markets such as San
Diego, Charlotte and Jacksonville,
NBC had little choice but to
affiliate with a UHF station, with the
San Diego station (
eventually becoming an
NBC O She\'s the Sheriff (from
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
George S. Kaufman play You Can\'t Take It with You
(airing Wednesdays), starring
Harry Morgan ; 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 15th birthday; and a revival of the
We Got It Made (produced by Fred Silverman
MGM Television 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 and Pacific
Time Zone , 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 ,
Hollywood Squares .
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
NBC aired the first of eight consecutive Summer Olympic Games
broadcasts when it covered the 1988 Games in
South Korea . The
1988–89 season saw
NBC have an astonishing 18 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. The network continued
its hot streak into the early 1990s with new hits such as The Fresh
Prince of Bel-Air , Blossom and
Law & Order
Law & Order .
"Must See TV"
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
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 , Sisters ,
Friends , ER and Will the deal
National Football League
National Football League (NFL) game telecasts after 59
years and AFC games after 36 years (dating back to its existence as
American Football League
American Football League prior to its 1970 merger with the NFL).
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
NBC Entertainment by
Scott Sassa , who oversaw the
development of such shows as
The West Wing , Law even so, the strength
of Friends, Will
Jerry Orbach , who had played one of the most popular
characters of its hit Law the move was done in the hopes of attracting
new viewers, although the network saw only a slight boost.
In December 2005,
NBC began its first week-long primetime game show
event, Deal or No Deal ; the series garnered high ratings, and
returning as a weekly series in March 2006. Otherwise, the 2005–06
season was one of the worst for
NBC in three decades, with only one
fall series, the sitcom
My Name Is Earl
My Name Is Earl , surviving for a second
season; the sole remaining anchor of the "Must See TV" lineup, Will
two critically acclaimed sitcoms, 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 Sunday Night Football package from
ESPN (as part of a deal that
Monday Night Football move to
ESPN from ABC). However,
NBC remained at a very distant fourth place, barely
ranking ahead of
The CW .
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 international talent competition franchise ) would
continue to garner unusually high ratings throughout its summer run.
NBC decided not to place it in the spring season, and instead
use it as a platform to promote their upcoming fall shows. Originally
Regis Philbin , as of 2013 the series is currently hosted
Nick Cannon , and continues to garner strong ratings throughout its
summer seasons. In March 2007,
NBC announced that it would begin
offering full-length episodes of its prime time series for streaming
on mobile devices, becoming the first U.S. broadcast network to offer
on-demand mobile episode content, as the market began shifting away
from traditional television.
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 season
(despite the rare good fortune of having the rights to both the Super
Bowl and the 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 cancelled (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
Ben Silverman left the network in 2009, with Jeff Gaspin
replacing him as president of
Comcast Era (2011–present)
2010 Tonight Show conflict
2010 Tonight Show conflict
On December 3, 2009,
Comcast announced they would purchase a 51%
controlling stake in
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's broadcast of the
2010 Winter Olympics
2010 Winter Olympics in
Vancouver , in
February of that year, generated a ratings increase of 21% over its
broadcast of the 2006 Winter Games in Torino . The network was
criticized for repeatedly showing footage of a crash occurring during
practice for an Olympic luge competition that killed Georgian luger
Nodar Kumaritashvili .
NBC News president
Steve Capus ordered the
footage not to be shown without his permission and Olympics prime time
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 season ended with only
two scripted shows – Community and Parenthood , as well as three
unscripted shows – The Marriage Ref , Who Do You Think You Are? and
Minute to Win It
Minute to Win It – being renewed for second seasons, while other
series such as Heroes and veteran crime drama Law "> Supporters of
Conan O'Brien's hosting duties at
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show stage a protest
Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
After Conan O\'Brien succeeded
Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show
in 2009, the network gave Leno 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 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 weekdaily prime time 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 season compared to 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
Comcast announced it would acquire a majority interest
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
NBC Universal's CEO once the company's merger with
completed at the end of the year. After the deal was finalized,
Steve Burke was named CEO of
NBCUniversal and Robert Greenblatt
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 . 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 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
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 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 and sitcom 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
Univision during the February sweeps period .
The 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 and Hannibal
NBC Sports migrated its business and production operations
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 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 season was mostly successful for
to the continued success of The Voice,
Chicago Fire, Revolution,
Sunday Night Football and Grimm . Along with new hits including The
Blacklist , Hannibal and
Chicago PD and a significant ratings boost
from its broadcast of the
2014 Winter Olympics
2014 Winter Olympics ,
NBC became the #1
network in the coveted 18-49 demographic that season for the first
time since 2003–04, when
NBC also improved
considerably in total viewership, finishing behind long-dominant CBS
in second place for the season.
The 2014–15 season was something of a mixed bag for NBC, but still
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 ). 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 season was successful for NBC, with the successful
launch of the new drama Blindspot premiering after The Voice , then
subsequently being renewed for a second season in November 2015. NBC
also continued with the success with the
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 brought the failed launch of Heroes
Reborn which was cancelled in January 2016, and thriller The Player ,
NBC found success with police procedural Shades of Blue which
improved the 10pm time slot and was renewed for a second season in
February 2016. On the comedy side,
NBC surprisingly found success in
the new workplace sitcom 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
The 2016–17 season brought more success for
NBC with new
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 continued to bring in modest ratings however, it brought the
failed launch of its spinoff The Blacklist: Redemption .
to grow the
Chicago franchise with a third spinoff titled Chicago
Justice . On the comedy side, workplace sitcom 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.
List of programs broadcast by NBC and List of programs
previously broadcast by
As of 2013 ,
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 between 12:00 and 3:00
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
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 political talk show
Meet the Press
Meet the Press , weekday
early-morning news program
Early Today and newsmagazine
Dateline NBC .
Late nights feature the weeknight talk shows
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show Starring
Jimmy Fallon ,
Late Night with Seth Meyers and Last Call with Carson
Daly , weeknight replays of the fourth hour of Today and
Mad Money , and the sketch comedy show
Saturday Night Live , and the
1st Look and Open House NYC on Saturdays (replays of
the previous week's
1st Look also air on Friday late nights on most
The network's Saturday morning children's programming time slot is
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 , based on
the network's long-time strand of internally-produced public service
announcements of the same name . It premiered on October 8, 2016,
giving Litton control of all but Fox's Saturday morning E/I
programming among the five major broadcast networks.
Sports programming is also provided weekend afternoons at any time
between 12:00 and 6:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., or tape-delayed in
the Pacific Time Zone). Due to the unpredictable length of sporting
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
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
have included pre-empting regularly scheduled programs during daytime,
primetime, and late night.
News coverage has long been an important part of NBC's operations and
public image, dating to the network's radio days. Notable
productions past and present include Today,
NBC Nightly News
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 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
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
NBC Sports coverage of the
Olympic Games .
NBC is currently the home to only one daytime program, the hour-long
soap opera Days of Our Lives, which has been broadcast on the network
since 1965. 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, the network currently ties with
The CW for the
fewest daytime programming hours of any major broadcast television
Long-running daytime dramas seen on
NBC in the past include The
Doctors (1963–1982), Another World (1964–1999), Santa Barbara
Passions (1999–2007, later moving to The 101 ).
NBC also aired the final 4½ years of Search for Tomorrow
(1982–1986) after that series was initially cancelled by CBS,
NBC affiliates did not clear the show during its tenure
on the network.
NBC has also aired numerous short-lived soap operas,
including Generations (1989–1991), Sunset Beach (1997–1999), and
the two Another World spin-offs, Somerset (1970–1976) and Texas
Notable daytime game shows that once aired on
NBC include The Price
Is Right (1956–1963), Concentration (1958–1973 and 1987–1991 as
Classic Concentration), The
Match Game (1962–1969), Let\'s Make a
Deal (1963–1968 and 1990–1991, as well as a short-lived primetime
revival in 2002),
Jeopardy! (1964–1975 and 1978–1979), The
Hollywood Squares (1966–1980), Wheel of Fortune (1975–1989 and
1991), Password Plus/Super Password (1979–1982 and 1984–1989),
Sale of the Century (1969–1973 and 1983–1989) and 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
The Ernie Kovacs Show (1955–1956), The Merv
Griffin Show (1962–1963),
Leeza (1994–1999) and Later Today
Main articles: Children\'s programming on
TNBC , Discovery Kids
NBC , qubo , and
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
The Jetsons ; foreign acquisitions like
Astro Boy and Kimba the
White Lion ; animated adaptions of
Punky Brewster , ALF and Star Trek
as well as animated vehicles for
Gary Coleman and
Mr. T ; live-action
The Banana Splits ,
The Bugaloos and
H.R. Pufnstuf ; and
the original broadcasts of
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show ,
The Smurfs , 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
Saved by the Bell
Saved by the Bell , a live-action teen sitcom
which originated on The
Disney Channel the previous year as Good
Morning, Miss Bliss (which served as a starring vehicle for Hayley
Mills ; four cast members from that show were cast in the
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 and Tweety Show in its first season.
The success of
Saved by the Bell
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 Today . Most of the series featured on
TNBC lineup were executive produced by Peter Engel (such as City
Guys , Hang Time ,
California Dreams , One World and the Saved by the
Bell spinoff, Saved by the Bell: The New Class ), with the lineup
being designed from the start to meet the earliest form of the FCC's
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
NBC entered into an agreement with Discovery Communications
to carry educational children's programs from the
Discovery Kids cable
channel. Debuting that September, the
Discovery Kids on NBC
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 series
Trading Spaces ); the Emmy-nominated reality game show
Endurance , hosted and produced by
J. D. Roth (whose production
company, 3-Ball Productions, would also produce reality 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
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
NBC Universal, Ion
Media Networks ,
Scholastic Press ,
Classic Media and Corus
Nelvana unit (Ion acquired the other partners' shares
in 2013), the
Qubo venture also encompassed weekly blocks on Telemundo
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 ,
3-2-1 Penguins! , Babar , Jane and the Dragon and 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,
Sesame Workshop and Apax Partners
, with the former acquiring the other's interests later that year).
NBC Kids , premiered on July 7, 2012, replacing the "Qubo
on NBC" block.
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
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;
NBC holds rights to the parade, it has exclusivity over
the broadcast of Broadway and music performances appearing in the
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
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
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade each
The network also broadcasts several live-action and animated specials
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
Since 2013, the network airs live musical adaptations.
* The Sound of Music in 2013
* Peter Pan in 2014
* The Wiz in 2015
* Hairspray in 2016
* Bye Bye Birdie in 2017 (upcoming)
From 2003 to 2014,
NBC also held rights to two of the three pageants
organized by the
Miss Universe Organization
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
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
Miss USA on June 29, 2015, as part of its decision to cut business
Donald Trump and the
Miss Universe Organization
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 2016 campaign for the Republican Presidential
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
NBC have included
Get Smart ,
Bonanza , Little House on the
Prairie, Las Vegas and
Crossing Jordan .
NBC sold the distribution rights to programs it produced prior to
that year to
National Telefilm Associates in 1973; those rights are
currently owned by
CBS Television Distribution , although
owns the copyrights to the episodes. As a result, NBC, in a way, now
owns several other series aired on the network prior to 1973, such as
Wagon Train .
NBC continues to own its entire library of programs
produced after 1973, through corporate sister
Group (the successor to Universal Television).
List of NBC television affiliates (by U.S. state) ,
List of NBC television affiliates (table) , and
NBC Owned Television
As of January 2017 ,
NBC has eleven owned-and-operated stations and
current and pending affiliation agreements with 220 additional
television stations encompassing 48 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 95.92% of all households in
United States (or 299,732,600 Americans with at least one
New Hampshire and
New Jersey are the only U.S. states
NBC does not have a locally licensed affiliate (
New Hampshire is
currently served via the second subchannel of
a simulcast of Boston-based O&O
WBTS-LD ), while
New Jersey is served
New York City
New York City O&O WNBC-TV and
New Jersey formerly
had an in-state affiliate in Atlantic City -based
WMGM-TV , which was
affiliated with the network from 1955 to 2014).
affiliations with low-power stations (broadcasting either in analog or
digital) in a few smaller markets, such as Binghamton, New York
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
As mentioned with
New Hampshire and Boston,
NBC operates a
low-powered station in Boston,
WBTS-LD , which aims to serve as its
station in that market while using a network of additional full-power
stations to cover the market in full. This is expected to be a
temporary arrangement, as broadcasters like
NBC are currently unable
to purchase any new full-power television stations during the current
FCC spectrum auction .
Currently outside of the
NBC Owned Television Stations -operated O
Gray Television is the largest operator of
NBC stations by numerical
total, owning 23 NBC-affiliated stations.
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
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
NBCUniversal is a part-owner of
Hulu (as part of a consortium
that includes, among other parties, the respective parent companies of
ABC and Fox,
The Walt Disney Company and
21st Century Fox ), and has
offered full-length episodes of most of NBC's programming through the
streaming service (which are available for viewing on Hulu's website
and mobile app ) since
Hulu launched in 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
Charles in Charge ,
Emergency! , Knight Rider (both the
original series and the short-lived 2008 reboot ),
Quantum Leap and Simon it has transmitted limited NBC
programming in UHD through a secondary subchannel, and is currently
the only station overall which transmits NBC's schedule in
its main subchannel.
Meet the Press
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
480i 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 with the launch
of its simulcast feed,
NBC HD, on April 26, 1999, when The Tonight
Show 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 to high
definition beginning with the 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
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 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).
NBCi header used from 1999 to 2007.
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.com , e-mail.com,
AllBusiness.com , and Snap.com
(eventually acquiring all four companies outright) to launch a
multi-faceted internet portal with e-mail, webhosting, community, chat
and personalization capabilities, and news content. Subsequently, in
NBC purchased GlobalBrain, a company specializing in
search engines that learned from searches initiated by its users, for
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.
EVOLUTION OF THE
Logo of NBC
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 peacock designs, including the current version
that has been in use since 1986.
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
Duluth, Minnesota ,
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York and WDIV-TV
Detroit ). 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 2009 due to the lower radiated power required to transmit digital
EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
NBC no longer exists outside the Americas as a channel in its own
NBC News and
MSNBC programs are broadcast for a few
hours a day on
Orbit News in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
CNBC Europe also broadcasts occasional breaking news
MSNBC as well as
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
(until 2010, the channel formerly broadcast daily airings of NBC
NBC Super Channel Becomes
In 1993, then-
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".
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 , which the channel's slogan "Where the Stars
Come Out at Night" was based around. Many
NBC News programs were
NBC Europe, including Dateline NBC,
Meet the Press
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.
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 . GIGA Television
was subsequently spun off as a separate digital channel, available on
satellite and cable providers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
NBC programming is available in
Mexico through affiliates in markets
located within proximity to the Mexico–
United States border (such as
Yuma, Arizona ;
Laredo, Texas ; KTSM /El Paso, Texas
Brownsville, Texas ; and
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 domestic cable
and satellite providers throughout the country, including in the
Mexico City area.
Nicaragua , satellite providers carry either select U.S.-based NBC
Telemundo affiliated stations or the main network feed from NBC
Universal or Telemundo. The main local affiliate stations are
Miami . In addition to the
there is also available by the
NBC sister network Telemundo, a Spanish
network based in the United States.
Canal De Noticias
NBC launched a 24-hour Spanish-language news channel serving
Latin America (the second news channel serving that region overall,
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
In the Caribbean, many cable and satellite providers carry either
NBC affiliated stations or the main network feed
NBC O 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 satellite station
American Samoa ,
NBC was affiliated with
from 2005 to 2012.
Cable television providers on the islands carry the
network's programming via Seattle affiliate KING-TV.
Federated States Of Micronesia
Federated States of Micronesia ,
NBC programming is available
on domestic cable providers via
NBC Asia And
NBC Asia launched in 1994, distributed to
Nepal , Japan,
South Korea ,
Thailand , Pakistan and the
Philippines . Like
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
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 . As is the case with
NBC Europe, CNBC
Asia broadcasts select episodes of
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show and Late Night as
Meet the Press
Meet the Press are as part of its weekend schedule, and airs
NFL games under the Sunday Night Football brand.
Through regional partners, NBC-produced programs are seen in some
countries in the continent. In the
Jack TV (owned by
Solar Entertainment) airs Will a grand jury later acquitted him on
murder charges while on trial in August 2013) is heard saying, "This
guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black." A portion of the
tape in which Zimmerman was describing Martin to the 911 operator was
removed in its broadcast version; in the unedited version, Zimmerman
said, "This guy looks like he's up to no good. Or he's on drugs or
something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about."
The operator then asked, "OK, and this guy – is he black, white or
Hispanic?", to which Zimmerman answered, "He looks black."
Following an internal investigation into the production of the
NBC News fired two employees involved with the piece,
including a producer based at the division's
Miami bureau, and NBC
News executive Lilia Luciano. In a statement,
NBC News' president at
Steve Capus apologized, calling the editing "a mistake and
not a deliberate act to misrepresent the phone call."
On December 6, 2012,
George Zimmerman filed a defamation lawsuit
against NBC, alleging that the phone call was edited intentionally to
give the impression that he targeted Martin because he was black and
to "create the myth that
George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory
villain". Florida Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson dismissed the
suit on June 30, 2014, citing that there were "no genuine issues"
determinable by a jury that any "actual malice" was acted upon.
Weaver was hired by
NBC in 1949, to help challenge CBS's ratings
lead. While at NBC, Weaver established many operating practices that
became standard for network television; he introduced the practice of
networks producing their own television programs and selling
advertising time during the broadcasts. Prior to this, advertising
agencies usually developed each show for a particular client. Because
commercial slots could now more easily be sold to more than one
corporate sponsor for each program, a single advertiser pulling out of
a program would not necessarily threaten it. Weaver also created
several series for the network, Today (in 1952), Tonight Starring
Steve Allen (in 1954, the first program in the Tonight Show
franchise), Home (1954) and
Wide Wide World (1955). Weaver strongly
believed that broadcasting should educate as well as entertain and
NBC shows to typically include at least one sophisticated
cultural reference or performance per installment – including a
segment of a
Giuseppe Verdi opera adapted to the comedic style of Sid
Imogene Coca 's groundbreaking
Your Show of Shows . Weaver
did not ignore
NBC Radio and gave it a shot in the arm in 1955, at a
time when network radio was dying and giving way to television, when
NBC Monitor, a weekend-long magazine-style block
featuring an array of news, music, comedy, drama and sports, with
rotating advertisers and some of the most memorable names in broadcast
journalism, entertainment and sports that ran until 1975 (20 years
after Weaver's departure). Weaver departed shortly afterward,
following disputes with
NBC chairman David Sarnoff, who believed that
his ideas were either too expensive or too highbrow for company
tastes. His respective successors, Robert Sarnoff and Robert Kintner,
standardized the network's programming practices with far less of the
ambitiousness that characterized the Weaver years.
Robert E. Kintner
Kintner was appointed President in 1958; his tenure at
marked by his aggressive effort to push the network's news division
CBS News in ratings and prestige. The news division was given
more money, leading it to gain additional resources to provide
coverage, notably of the 1960 Presidential election campaign , and led
Huntley-Brinkley Report to prominence among the network news
Goodman, who joined
NBC in 1966, helped establish
Chet Huntley and
David Brinkley as a well-known anchor team. While working at NBC, he
negotiated a $1 million deal to retain
Johnny Carson as host of The
Johnny Carson announced he wanted to cancel the weekend
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show in order to instead have repeats of it
aired on weeknights, Schlosser approached his vice president of late
Dick Ebersol , and asked him to create a show to
fill the Saturday night time slot. At the suggestion of Paramount
Barry Diller , Schlosser and Ebersol then
Lorne Michaels . Over the next three weeks, Ebersol and
Michaels developed the latter's idea for a variety show featuring
high-concept comedy sketches, political satire, and music
performances. By 1975 Michaels had assembled a talented cast,
Dan Aykroyd ,
John Belushi ,
Chevy Chase ,
Jane Curtin ,
Garrett Morris ,
Laraine Newman , Michael O\'Donoghue ,
Gilda Radner ,
George Coe . The show was originally called NBC's Saturday Night,
Saturday Night Live was in use by a program on the rival
network ABC that was hosted by its sportscaster
Howard Cosell . NBC
purchased the rights to the name in 1976 and officially adopted the
new title on March 26, 1977.
Saturday Night Live remains on the air to
Although Silverman developed many successful shows during his
tenure at ABC, he left that network to become President and CEO of NBC
in 1978. His three-year tenure at the network proved to be a difficult
period for the network, marked by several high-profile failures such
as Hello, Larry, Pink Lady and Jeff,
Supertrain and the Jean Doumanian
Saturday Night Live (Silverman hired Doumanian after Al
Franken, the planned successor for outgoing creator/executive producer
Lorne Michaels, castigated Silverman's failures in a sketch on the
program ). Despite these failures, high points during Silverman's
tenure included the launch of
Hill Street Blues and the miniseries
Shōgun. He also brought
David Letterman to the network to host
daytime talker The
David Letterman Show , two years before the debut
of Letterman's successful late night program in 1982, after Silverman
negotiated a holding deal after the former's cancellation to keep
Letterman from going to another network. However, Silverman nearly
lost late night leader Johnny Carson, who filed a lawsuit against NBC
during a contract dispute with the network; the case was settled out
of court and Carson remained with
NBC in exchange for acquiring the
rights to his show and permission to reduce his time on-air (leading
to the use of guest hosts on
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show such as
Joan Rivers and
his immediate successor, Jay Leno). Silverman also developed
successful sitcoms such as Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life and
Gimme a Break!, and made the series commitments that led to
St. Elsewhere. Silverman also pioneered the reality television genre
with the 1979 debut of Real People. His contributions to the network's
game show output included the Goodson-Todman -produced
Card Sharks and
a revival of Password, both of which enjoyed great success as part of
the morning schedule, although he also canceled several other
relatively popular series, including The
Hollywood Squares and High
Rollers , to make way for The
David Letterman Show (those
cancellations also threatened Wheel of Fortune, whose host, Chuck
Woolery , left in a payment dispute during Silverman's tenure,
although the show survived). Silverman also oversaw, while
simultaneously objecting to, the hiring of
Pat Sajak as the new host
of Wheel (Sajak remains as host to this day in its syndicated
incarnation). On Saturday mornings, at a time when there was much
similarity in animated content on the major networks, Silverman
oversaw the development of an animated series based on The Smurfs
(which ran from 1981 to 1989, well after Silverman's departure, making
it one of his longest-lasting contributions to the network) as well as
a revival of
The Flintstones . In addition, Silverman revitalized the
NBC News division, helping Today and
NBC Nightly News
NBC Nightly News achieve parity
with their competition for the first time in years; and created a new
FM radio division with competitive stations in New York City, Chicago,
San Francisco and Washington, D.C. During his
NBC tenure, Silverman
also brought in an entirely new divisional and corporate management
team, which remained in place long after Silverman's departure (among
this group was Brandon Tartikoff, who as President of Entertainment,
would help get
NBC back on top by 1985). Silverman also reintroduced
the peacock as NBC's corporate logo in 1979.
Tartikoff was hired as a program executive at ABC in 1976. He
NBC the following year, after being hired by
Dick Ebersol to
direct comedy programs for the network. Tartikoff took over as
president of NBC's entertainment division in 1981, becoming the
youngest person ever to hold the position, at age 32. At the time
Tartikoff took over,
NBC was mired in last place behind ABC and CBS,
and faced a looming writers' strike and affiliates defecting to other
networks (mostly to ABC); Little House on the Prairie, Diff'rent
Real People were the only prime time shows the network had
in the Nielsen Top 20. Also of issue,
Johnny Carson was reportedly in
talks to move his landmark late-night talk show to ABC; while the
original cast and writing staff of
Saturday Night Live had left the
show, and their replacements had earned SNL some of its worst reviews.
By 1982, Tartikoff and network president
Grant Tinker gradually turned
the network's fortunes around. Tartikoff's successes as President of
The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show (Tartikoff had pursued
Bill Cosby to create a comedy pilot after having been
impressed by the comedian's stories when Cosby was a guest host on The
Tonight Show), the iconic 1980s drama
Miami Vice (Tartikoff wrote a
brainstorming memo that simply read "
MTV cops ", and later presented
it to former
Hill Street Blues writer/producer
Anthony Yerkovich , who
turned into the concept behind
Miami Vice). and Knight Rider
(which was inspired by a perceived lack of leading men who could act,
with Tartikoff suggesting that a talking car could fill in the gaps in
any leading man's acting abilities). While
Family Ties was undergoing
its casting process, Tartikoff was unexcited about Michael J. Fox
being considered for the role of Alex P. Keaton, however,
Gary David Goldberg insisted on having Fox
in the role until Tartikoff relented, saying, "Go ahead if you insist.
But I'm telling you, this is not the kind of face you'll ever see on a
lunch box ". After Fox's stardom was cemented by
Back to the Future ,
he good-naturedly sent Tartikoff a lunch box with Fox's picture that
contained a note reading: "To Brandon: This is for you to put your
crow in. Love and Kisses, Michael J. Fox", which Tartikoff kept in his
office for the rest of his career.
Johnny Carson broke the news of his
retirement in February 1991 to Tartikoff during a lunch meeting at the
Grille in Beverly Hills. Tartikoff and chairman
Bob Wright were the
only ones who knew of the planned retirement before it was made public
days later. Tartikoff wrote in his memoirs that his biggest
professional regret was cancelling the series Buffalo Bill , which he
later went on to include in a fantasy "dream schedule" created for a
TV Guide article that detailed his idea of "The Greatest Network
Littlefield helped develop Cheers,
The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show and The Golden
Girls as senior, and later, executive vice president of NBC
Entertainment under Brandon Tartikoff, of whom Littlefield was his
protégé. During his tenure as president of NBC, Littlefield oversaw
the creation of many hit shows during the 1990s such as Seinfeld, The
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Wings, Blossom, Law & Order, Mad About You,
Sisters, Frasier, Friends, ER, Homicide: Life on the Street , Caroline
in the City ,
3rd Rock from the Sun
3rd Rock from the Sun ,
Suddenly Susan ,
Just Shoot Me!,
Will & Grace
Will & Grace and The West Wing.
NBC in September 1997 as president of the NBC
Television Stations division, where he was responsible for overseeing
the operation of NBC's then 13 owned-and-operated stations. In
October 1998, Sassa became president of
NBC Entertainment, lasting in
that position for eight months until he was reassigned to NBC's West
Coast division in May 1999, where as its president, he oversaw NBC's
entertainment-related businesses. Sassa made the transition to that
position after working alongside his predecessor, Don Ohlmeyer. During
this time, he oversaw the development and production of NBC's new
primetime series including such shows as The West Wing, Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit and Fear Factor. Under Sassa,
NBC rated as the #1
network for three out of four seasons.
Ancier, who also worked as television producer (most notably,
serving as executive producer of tabloid talk show Ricki Lake ) prior
to joining the network, was named President of
NBC Entertainment in
Zucker was named President of
NBC Entertainment in 2000, succeeding
Garth Ancier. In a 2004 profile on Zucker,
Businessweek stated that
in his four years as entertainment president, he was responsible for
having "kept the network ahead of the pack by airing the gross out
show Fear Factor, negotiating for the cast of the hit series Friends
to take the series up to a tenth season, and signing
Donald Trump for
the reality show The Apprentice " and having helped increase NBC's
operating revenue from $532 million in 1999 to $870 million by 2003.
Other critical and/or commercial successes greenlit under Zucker
included Las Vegas, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Scrubs . He
originated the concept of airing "Supersized" episodes (running longer
than the standard 30-minute slot) of
NBC sitcoms during sweeps and
making aggressive programming efforts during the summer to compete
with cable networks that began to draw viewers to their original
programming content while the networks ran mostly reruns. Zucker also
oversaw the successful transition of Bravo (which
NBC acquired from
Rainbow Media in 2002) from a film and arts-focused network to a
network primarily reliant on reality series, and the repositioning of
Telemundo to become more competitive with leading Spanish-language
network Univision. In May 2004, following NBC's merger with Vivendi
Universal , Zucker was promoted to president of the
Television Group. Zucker's responsibilities, which already included
NBC's cable channels, were expanded to include oversight of television
production as well as
USA Network , Sci-Fi Channel and Trio .
Following his promotion,
NBC slid from first place to fourth in the
ratings. Shows that Zucker championed such as animated series Father
of the Pride and the
Friends spinoff Joey floundered.
Reilly was appointed President of Entertainment in May 2004. Having
begun his career at
NBC Entertainment almost two decades earlier, he
returned to the network in the fall of 2003 as President of Primetime
Development. Early in his
NBC career, Reilly supervised Law
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