TV Guide is a bi-weekly American magazine that provides television
program listings information as well as television-related news,
celebrity interviews and gossip, film reviews, crossword puzzles, and,
in some issues, horoscopes. The print magazine is owned by NTVB Media,
while its digital properties are controlled by the CBS Interactive
division of CBS Corporation; the
TV Guide name and associated
editorial content from the publication are licensed by CBS Interactive
for use on the website and mobile app through an agreement with the
magazine's parent subsidiary TVGM Holdings, Inc.
1.2 Annenberg/Triangle era
News Corporation era
1.4 Gemstar era
1.4.1 Format overhaul and conversion to national listings
TV Guide Talk
OpenGate Capital era
1.5.1 Shift towards features
1.6 Sale to NTVB Media
3 Related publications and services
TV Guide Channel/Network
TV Guide Crosswords
3.3 TV Insider
3.4 TV Weekly
3.5 Interactive program guides
TV Guide Interactive
TV Guide On Screen
4 Other usage of the
TV Guide name
5 See also
7 External links
The prototype of what would become
TV Guide magazine, was developed by
Lee Wagner (1910–1993), who was the circulation director of
MacFadden Publications in
New York City
New York City in the 1930s – and later, by
the time of the predecessor publication's creation, for Cowles Media
Company – distributing magazines focusing on movie celebrities.
In 1948, he printed
New York City
New York City area listings magazine The
TeleVision Guide (the cover was dated the "Week of June 14th"). Silent
film star Gloria Swanson, who then starred of the short-lived variety
Gloria Swanson Hour, appeared on the cover of the first
issue. Wagner later began publishing regional editions of The
TeleVision Guide for
New England and the Baltimore–Washington area.
Five years later, he sold the editions to Walter Annenberg, who folded
it into his publishing and broadcasting company Triangle Publications,
but remained as a consultant for the magazine until 1963.
The magazine went national by involving several cities where,
previously, each had their own local edition. For example, Chicago had
Television Forecast; and both
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh had TV
Digest. The national TV Guide's first issue was released on April 3,
1953. The inaugural cover featured a photograph of Lucille Ball's
newborn son Desi Arnaz, Jr., with a downscaled photo of Ball placed in
the top corner under the issue's headline: "Lucy's $50,000,000
baby". The magazine was published in digest size, which remained
its printed format for 52 years. From its first issue until the issue
of July 2-8, 1954, listings within each edition of
TV Guide began on
Friday and ended on Thursday; the issue of July 9-16 began on a Friday
and ended on the following Friday; then, beginning with the July
17-23, 1954 issue, the listings in each week's issue changed to start
on Saturday and end on Friday, which remained the listings format for
all local editions until April 2004.
The formation of
TV Guide as a national publication resulted from
Triangle Publications' purchase of numerous regional television
listing publications such as TV Forecast, TV Digest, Television Guide
and TV Guide. The launch as a national magazine with local listings in
April 1953 became an almost instant success, with
TV Guide becoming
the most read and circulated magazine in the
United States by the
1960s. The initial cost of each issue was 15¢ per copy (equivalent to
$1.37 today; the price of each issue has gradually risen over the
years, selling for $4.99 per copy as of 2018). In addition to
TV Guide was sold at the checkout counters of grocery
stores nationwide. Until the 1980s, the feature pieces included in
each issue were promoted in a television commercial. Under Triangle,
TV Guide continued to grow not only in circulation, but in recognition
as the authority on television programming with articles – the
majority of which typically appear in the color section – from both
staff and contributing writers.
Past logos used by the publication (l–r): 1953–1962, 1962–1968,
1968–1988 and 1988–2003.
Over the decades, the shape of the
TV Guide logo has changed to
reflect the modernization of the television screen, eventually
adopting its current widescreen appearance in September 2003
(different versions of the logo – the only cosmetic difference being
the utilization of different typefaces – are currently used
respectively for the magazine and the separately owned, CBS-managed
digital properties). At first, the logo had various colored
backgrounds (usually black, white, blue or green) until the familiar
red background became the standard in the 1960s with occasional
changes used for special editions.
The magazine was first based in a small office in downtown
Philadelphia, before moving to more spacious national headquarters in
Pennsylvania in the late 1950s. The new facility, complete
with a large lighted
TV Guide logo at the building's entrance, based
its management, editors, production personnel and subscription
processors as well as a vast computer system holding data on every
television show and movie available for listing in the popular weekly
publication. Printing of the national color section of
TV Guide –
which incorporates television-related stories, and select feature
columns such as program reviews – took place at Triangle's Gravure
Division plant – which was known for performing some of the highest
quality printing in the industry, with almost always perfect
registration – located adjacent to the company's landmark
Philadelphia Inquirer Building on North Broad Street in Philadelphia.
The color section was then sent to regional printers to be wrapped
around the local listing sections.
In addition to
TV Guide and its flagship newspaper The Philadelphia
Triangle Publications also owned the
News; ten radio and six television stations (
WFIL AM-FM-TV in
Philadelphia, WNHC AM-FM-TV in New Haven, Connecticut, KFRE AM-FM-TV
in Fresno, California,
WNBF AM-FM-TV in Binghamton, New York, WFBG
AM-FM-TV in Altoona,
Pennsylvania and WLYH-TV in Lancaster–Lebanon,
Pennsylvania); The Daily Racing Form; The Morning Telegraph;
Seventeen; and various cable television interests. It was under
Triangle's ownership of WFIL-TV that
Dick Clark and American Bandstand
came to popularity.
Triangle Publications sold its Philadelphia
Knight Newspapers in 1969, its radio and television
stations during the early 1970s to
Capital Cities Communications
Capital Cities Communications (the
television stations that are now known as
subsequently acquired by ABC through its 1986 merger with Capital
Cities) and various other interests, retaining only TV Guide,
Seventeen and The Daily Racing Form.
For the magazine's first 52 years of publication, listings information
was displayed in a "log" format, a mainly text-based list of programs
organized by both start time and channel, which was the sole method
– eventually, primary once prime time grids were incorporated, and
later secondary for the final two years of its inclusion of local
listings – of displaying program information in
TV Guide until the
switch to national listings in 2005; this allowed for the display of
full titles for each program as well as the inclusion of synopses for
movies and most programs. Most listing entries in the log included
program genres (and for national news programs, anchors) after the
program's title, while its running time (which was mentioned only if a
program lasted a minimum of one hour – later 35 minutes – in
length) was listed in the synopses.
Originally, the majority of programs listed in the log each issue
featured brief synopses, except for local and national newscasts, and
programs airing on certain stations in various timeslots. As other
broadcast television stations and cable channels were added, due to
set space requirements for the local listings section, detailed
synopses were gradually restricted to series and specials – usually
those airing in evening timeslots – as well as movies airing on
broadcast television, while shorter synopses were used for programs
seen on broadcast stations outside of the edition's home market and
select cable channels; and only the title along with supplementary
information (such as genre and/or program length) for most other
broadcast and cable programs. In addition, black-and-white ads for
programs scheduled to air on broadcast stations – and later, cable
channels – during prime time (with local airtimes, and for broadcast
stations, information for network-affiliated stations featured in the
edition which were scheduled to air the advertised show) were included
within the listings.
A regular feature of the listings section was "Close-Up," which
provided expanded reviews of select programs airing each day (various
editions of "Close-Up" were eventually used for different types of
programs, from premieres of new series to shows airing on cable). Over
time, other regular and recurring features (most of them
television-related) were included alongside the listings including
"Insider" (a television news and interview section in the lead pages
of the color section); "Cheers and Jeers" (a critique page about
various aspects of television programming); "Hits and Misses"
(featuring brief reviews of select programs in the coming week, rated
on a score from 0 to 10); "Guidelines" (a half-page daily section
featuring highlights of five or six programs of interest); horoscopes;
recaps of the previous week's storylines on network daytime soap
operas; a page reviewing new home video (and later, DVD) releases;
dedicated pages that respectively listed select sporting events,
children's programs and "four-star" movies being broadcast during that
week; and crossword puzzles. Although its issues usually focus on
different television-related stories week to week,
TV Guide also
incorporates recurring issues that appear a few times each year, most
notably the "Fall Preview" (an issue featured since the magazine's
inaugural year in 1953, which features reviews of new series
premiering during the fall television season), "Returning Favorites"
(first published in 1996, featuring previews of series renewed from
the previous television season returning for the upcoming fall
schedule), "Winter Preview" (first published in 1994 and later known
as the "(year) TV Preview" from 2006 to 2009, featuring previews of
midseason series) and "The Best Children's Shows on TV" (first
published in 1989 and later renamed the "Parents' Guide to Children's
Television" in 1990, the "Parent's Guide to Children's Entertainment"
in 1993 and finally as the "Parent's Guide to Kids' TV" in 1994,
featuring stories and reviews on family-oriented programs).
The advent of cable television would become hard on TV Guide. Cable
channels began to be listed in the magazine in 1980 or 1981, depending
on the edition; regional and national superstations available on cable
systems in the designated market of many editions were the only cable
channels listed initially, with cable-originated channels (such as HBO
and CNN) – which the magazine originally promoted mainly in
full-page advertisements – being added later. Channels that were
listed also differed, depending on the edition. As the years went on,
more cable channels were added into the listings of each edition. To
help offset this, the May 11–17, 1985 issue introduced a smaller
Helvetica font for the log, along with some other cosmetic changes; in
particular, a show's length began to be listed after the show's title
instead of at the end of its synopsis.
Upon those channels' incorporation in the listings, the outlined
bullets that were originally used only for out-of-market television
stations were also assigned to cable channels, containing three-letter
abbreviations in a condensed typeface for identification; for example,
"ESN" represented ESPN, "DSC" represented The
Discovery Channel and
"NIK" represented Nickelodeon/
Nick at Nite
Nick at Nite (E! and FX later became
exceptions, as those channels were identified by two-character
abbreviations); in certain cases, the abbreviation used (such as "AMC"
for American Movie Classics, "TNT" for "Turner Network Television" and
"MTV" for "Music Television") was that which the channel had already
branded by (two pay cable networks,
Cinemax and Showtime eventually
rebranded in 1997 so that their respective
TV Guide abbreviations –
"MAX" and "SHO" – became the focal point of their logos).
Out-of-market superstations were first identified with a combination
of their channel number and a letter representing their originating
market city following the incorporation of cable listings (
Detroit, which effectively served as the Fox affiliate for most of
Michigan until December 1994 via cable, was listed as "50D", for
instance; these identifiers were also used in some regional editions
to disambiguate broadcast stations with identical channel numbers in
genre-based listings pages (such as the sports guide) and
crossreferences in the pages preceding the local listings, with the
numeric identifier used for either a local or out-of-market station,
and the alphanumeric identifier for an out-of-market station); the
three major national superstations at the time, TBS, WGN and WOR
(which were respectively identified as "17A", "9C" and "9N"), were
eventually given conventional three-letter abbreviations in line with
other cable channels.
News Corporation era
On August 7, 1988,
Triangle Publications was sold to the News America
Corporation arm of
News Corporation for $3 billion, one of the
largest media acquisitions of the time and the most expensive
publication transaction at the time.
To save channel space,
TV Guide eventually incorporated a grid (a
rowed display of listings for programs scheduled to air during the
evening hours each night, primarily organized by channel, from 5:00 to
11:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. depending on the
start of prime time within a given time zone) into the listings by the
late 1980s;[specify] some cable channels – mainly premium channels
– had an asterisk displayed by them in that edition's channel lineup
page, which meant that it was only listed in the evening grid (and
later the "Pay-TV (later "Premium Channels") Movie Guide," a feature
placed within the final pages of the listing section that incorporated
synopses for films being aired as well as a list of films scheduled to
premiere that week on the premium channels included in both the log
and grid listings, excluding those featured exclusively in the grids).
Cinemax and The
Disney Channel initially started only in
the grids, but later expanded to the log listings as well; by the
mid-1990s, most editions of
TV Guide incorporated nearly all cable
channels each issue provided program listings for in both the grids
and the log listings, although some editions continued to list at
least one channel, such as
The Movie Channel
The Movie Channel (the only pay service
that was excluded from the log listings in many editions by that point
– though its inclusion in the log, as with select other cable
channels, varied by market – until the September 1998 additions of
Starz, Encore, and
HBO multiplex channels
HBO Plus (now HBO2) and HBO3
HBO Signature) to the listings), in the grids only.
Another change to the listings took place in 1996; the show's title
was no longer displayed in all-uppercase, but a mixed case font (which
changed to Franklin Gothic). In addition, the generic title "MOVIE"
that appeared before a film's synopsis was replaced with the movie's
actual title, which had previously been displayed within the film
description and began to appear italicized with the move. Beginning
with the January 4, 1997 issue, the log listings began incorporating
content ratings for programs assigned through the newly implemented TV
Parental Guidelines system (the system's content ratings were
subsequently added upon their introduction in October 1998).
News Corporation sold
TV Guide to the United Video Satellite Group,
parent company of Prevue Networks, on June 11, 1998 for $800 million
and 60 million shares of stock worth an additional $1.2 billion (this
followed an earlier merger attempt between the two companies in 1996
that eventually fell apart). Following the sale, reports
TV Guide would remove program listings from the
magazine, shifting them entirely to its new sister cable network
Prevue Channel, which would be rebranded as a result of United Video's
TV Guide magazine;
News Corporation executives later
stated that listings information would remain part of the
magazine. That year, United Video acquired TVSM Inc. (publishers
of competing listings guides Total TV and The Cable Guide) in a $75
million all-cash acquisition; as a result,
TV Guide merged with Total
TV, and began printing a version of the magazine in the latter
magazine's full-size format (while retaining the original digest size
version) effective with the July 11, 1998 issue.
Because most cable systems published their own listing magazine
reflecting their channel lineup, and now had a separate guide channel
or an electronic program guide that can be activated by remote and
provide the same information in a more detailed manner – with
additional competition coming in the late 1990s from websites that
also specialize in providing detailed television program information
(such as TVGuide.com, then jointly operated with
TV Guide Magazine,
and Zap2It), a printed listing of programming in a separate magazine
became less valuable. The sheer amount and diversity of cable
television programming made it hard for
TV Guide to provide listings
of the extensive array of programming that came directly over the
TV Guide also could not match the ability of the cable
box to store personalized listings. Nevertheless, beginning with the
September 12, 1998 issue, the magazine added several new channels to
many of its editions, including those that had previously been
mentioned only in a foreword on the channel lineup page as well as
those that were available mainly on digital cable and satellite;
although most of these newly added channels were placed within the
prime time grids, only a few (such as
Animal Planet and MSNBC) were
also incorporated into the log listings. Some of the channels that
were added to the grids beginning with the expansion were identified
by four character abbreviations (such as "BBCA" for
BBC America and
Features in the magazine were also revamped with the additions of "The
Robins Report" (a review column by writer J. Max Robins), "Family
Page" (featuring reviews of family-oriented programs) and picks of
select classic films airing that week, as well as the removal of the
"Guidelines" feature in the listings section in favor of the new
highlight page "Don't Miss" (listing choice programs selected by the
magazine's staff for the coming week) in the national color section.
Listings for movies within the log also began identifying made-for-TV
and direct-to-video films, as well as quality ratings on a scale of
one to four stars (signifying movies that have received "poor" to
"excellent" reviews). The evening grids were also reduced to the
designated prime time hours, 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. (or 7:00 to
10:00 p.m.) Monday through Saturdays and 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.
(or 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.) on Sundays. In 1999, the magazine began
TV Guide Awards, an awards show (which was telecast on
Fox) honoring television programs and actors, with the winners being
TV Guide subscribers through a nominee ballot inserted in
the magazine; the telecast was discontinued after the 2001 event.
On October 5, 1999, Gemstar International Group Ltd., the maker of the
VCR Plus+ device and schedule system (whose channel and program codes
for VCRs using the system for timed recordings were incorporated into
the magazine's listings in 1988), and which incidentally was partially
owned by News Corporation, purchased United Video Satellite Group; the
two companies had previously been involved in a legal battle over the
intellectual property rights for their respective interactive program
guide systems, VCR Plus+ and
TV Guide On Screen, that began in
1994. That month,
TV Guide debuted a 16-page insert into
editions in 22 markets with large Hispanic populations titled TV Guide
en Español, which provided programming information from national
Spanish language networks (such as
Univision and Telemundo) as well as
special sections with reviews of the week's notable programs. The
magazine discontinued the insert in March 2000 due to difficulties
resulting from confusion by advertisers over its marketing as "the
first weekly Spanish-language magazine," despite its structure as an
insert within the main
TV Guide publication.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of
TV Guide as a national
magazine, in 2002, the magazine published six special issues:
"TV We'll Always Remember (April 6–12): Our Favorite Stars Share
Fifty Years of Memories, Moments and Magic"
"50 Greatest Shows of All Time (May 4–10): The Ultimate List of the
50 Best TV Series. (Just Try to Guess What's No. 1!)"
Note: This was the only one to be presented on television itself (in
the form of a two-hour special) and referenced in the book TV Guide:
Fifty Years of Television, considering the magazine's purpose to
present weekly listings of regularly scheduled series.
"Our 50 Greatest Covers of All Time (June 15–21): Fabulous Photos of
Your Favorite Shows and Stars Plus: Amazing Behind-the-Scenes Stories"
"50 Worst Shows of All Time (July 20–26): Not Just Bad! Really Awful
– And We Love Them That Way!"
"50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time (August 3–9): Funny!
Clever! Drawn to perfection! They're the tops in toons!"
"50 Sexiest Stars of All Time (September 28–October 4): Charisma,
Curves, Confidence, Charm! Could We Be Having Any More Fun?"
By 2003, the number of cable channels that were only listed in the
grids expanded, with the addition of channels such as BBC America,
Soapnet and the
National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Channel (some editions also
featured a limited amount of broadcast stations – either in-market,
out-of-market or both – exclusively in the grids); conversely,
sister cable network
TV Guide Channel (whose listings were added to
the magazine after the Gemstar purchase) was relegated from the log
listings to the grids in most editions. From its inception until 2003,
TV Guide had offered listings for the entire week, 24 hours a day.
Numerous changes to the local listings took place beginning with the
June 21, 2003 issue – in just a few select markets, when the
5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday listings were
condensed down to four grids: these ran from 5:00 to 8:00 a.m.,
8:00 to 11:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and 2:00
to 5:00 p.m. If programming differed from one weekday to the
next, the generic descriptor "Various Programs" was listed. The
weekday grid maintained day-to-day listings for certain cable channels
(primarily movie channels as well as a limited number of basic cable
channels such as Lifetime, The History Channel and USA Network), which
were organized separately from the other channels. These changes
became permanent in all
TV Guide editions beginning with the September
13, 2003 "Fall Preview" issue.
Other changes were made to the magazine beginning with the June 21
issue in select markets and the 2003 "Fall Preview" issue elsewhere. A
half-page daily prime time highlights section featuring the evening's
notable shows, movies and sports events – similar to the former
"Guidelines" feature – was re-added to the listings section; a
full-page "Weekday Highlights" page was also added featuring guest and
topical information for the week's daytime talk and morning shows as
well as picks for movies airing during the day on broadcast and cable
channels. In addition, while log listings continued in use for prime
time listings, program synopses were added to the grids and log, as
well as a "NEW" indicator for first-run episodes, replacing the
"(Repeat)" indicator in the log's synopses. The "Premium Channels
Movie Guide" was also restructured as "The Big Movie Guide," with film
listings being expanded to include those airing on all broadcast
networks and cable channels featured in each edition (as well as some
that were not listed in a particular local edition), as well as movies
that were available on pay-per-view (page references to the films
included in this section were also incorporated into the prime time
grids and log listings). Beginning in January 2004, the midnight to
5:00 a.m. listings (as well as the Saturday and Sunday 5:00 to
8:00 a.m. listings) ceased to include any broadcast stations
outside of the edition's home market, leaving only program information
for stations within the home market and for cable channels.
The magazine's format was changed beginning with the April 11, 2004
issue to start the week's listings in each issue on Sunday (the day in
which television listings magazines supplemented in newspapers
traditionally began each week's listings information), rather than
Saturday. In July 2004, the overnight listings were removed entirely,
replaced by a grid that ran from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
that included only the broadcast stations in each edition's home
market and a handful of cable channels. It also listed a small
selection of late-night movies airing on certain channels. The time
period of the listings in the daytime grids also shifted from starting
at 5:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m. to running from
7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. By this point, the log listings were
restricted to programs airing from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. In early
2005, more channels were added to the prime time and late-night grids.
Format overhaul and conversion to national listings
On July 26, 2005, Gemstar-
TV Guide announced that
TV Guide would
abandon its longtime digest size format and begin printing as a larger
full-size national magazine that would offer more stories and fewer
program listings. All 140 local editions were eliminated, being
replaced by two editions covering the time zones within the contiguous
United States: one for the Eastern and Central time zones, and one for
the Pacific and Mountain time zones (which had existed separately from
the local editions prior to the change, although their distribution
was primarily limited to hotels). The change in format was attributed
to the increase in the internet, cable television channels (like TV
Guide Network), electronic program guides and digital video recorders
as the sources of choice for viewers' program listings. The new
TV Guide went on sale on October 17, 2005, and featured
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host
Ty Pennington on the cover. The
listings format, now consisting entirely of grids, also changed to
start the listings in each week's issue on Monday rather than Sunday.
As a result of the elimination of the local editions, broadcast
stations were replaced by broadcast network schedules with the
description "Local Programming" being used to denote time periods in
which syndicated, locally produced or paid programs would air instead
of network shows.
In September 2006,
TV Guide launched a redesigned website, with
expanded original editorial and user-generated content not included in
the print magazine. On December 22, 2006,
TV Guide introduced the
magazine's first ever two-week edition. The edition, which featured
Rachael Ray on the cover, was issued for the period from December 25,
2006 to January 7, 2007. In early 2008, the Monday through Friday
daytime and daily late night grids were eliminated from the listings
section, and the television highlights section was compressed into a
six-page review of the week, rather than the previous two pages for
each night. By 2007, TV Guide's circulation had decreased to less than
three million copies from a peak of almost 20 million in 1970.
With the $2.8 billion acquisition of Gemstar-
TV Guide by Macrovision
on May 2, 2008, that company, which purchased the former mostly to
take advantage of their lucrative and profitable VCR Plus and
electronic program guide patents, stated it wanted to sell both the
TV Guide Network, along with the company's horse racing
TVG Network to other parties.
TV Guide Talk
On May 18, 2005,
TV Guide Talk, a weekly podcast that was available to
download for free, was launched. The podcast was headlined by TV Guide
reporter/personality Michael Ausiello, and was co-hosted by his
colleagues at the magazine, Matt Webb Mitovich, Angel Cohn, Daniel
Manu and Maitland McDonagh. Each episode featured commentary from TV
Guide staff on the week's entertainment news stories, television
programs, and film releases, as well as occasional interviews with
actors, producers, and executives. On April 4, 2008 (following
Ausiello's move to Entertainment Weekly), it was announced that the
podcast would be ending, and the final episode (Episode No. 139)
was released on April 10, 2008.
Talk podcasts were released every Friday afternoon and
averaged an hour in length. They featured the participants discussing
and commenting on the past week in television and the entertainment
industry in general. The beginning of each podcast was devoted to
in-depth discussion on the week's biggest new story in the
entertainment industry, whether it be a television program or
something outside the scope of television show or movie (such as the
Academy Awards or the Emmys). The middle part was devoted to
discussion and commentary on individual shows. The podcast emphasized
programs that tend to have a large online following even if that
following is not necessarily reflected in the programs' Nielsen
rating. Examples include American Idol, Heroes, Lost, Survivor,
Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, and
Project Runway (the latter three
being examples a low-rated shows which nevertheless have sizable
online followings). Each podcast also ended with a weekly review of
that weekend's new theatrical releases.
OpenGate Capital era
TV Guide Digital, used since March 2010; the logo was also
incorporated into that used by
TV Guide Network (now Pop) from March
2010 until it rebranded as TVGN on April 14, 2013.
On October 13, 2008,
Macrovision sold the money-losing magazine (which
was reportedly posting revenue losses of $20 million per year by that
point) to Beverly Hills-based equity fund
OpenGate Capital for $1, and
a $9.5 million loan at 3% interest. As part of the sale, however,
Macrovision retained ownership of the companion website – which
was then sold to equity firm
One Equity Partners
One Equity Partners for $300 million
– which severed all editorial connections between the
magazine and website, including the end of critic Matt Roush's
presence on TVGuide.com. The editorial content of the magazine was
launched on a new site, TVGuideMagazine.com, which did not feature TV
Guide's listings in any form. TVGuideMagazine.com was later shut down
on June 1, 2010;
TV Guide magazine and TVGuide.com then entered into a
deal to restore content from the magazine to the latter website,
which Lionsgate Entertainment had bought along with the TV Guide
Network in January 2009.
In January 2009, the magazine cut several networks from its grid
listings – including
DIY Network – citing "space
concerns"; however, two cuts, those of
The CW and TV Guide
Network, were seen as suspicious and arbitrary, as the
magazine carries several channels which have the same schedule night
after night or have low viewership and could have easily been cut,
while several Fox-owned networks continued to be listed due to
agreements with the former
News Corporation ownership. It is likely
TV Guide Network's removal from TV Guide's listings was related
to the "divorce" of the website and network from the magazine. In
early February 2009,
The CW and
MTV were brought back to the listings
after the magazine received numerous emails protesting the move; as a
consequence, listings for several low-rated networks were removed.
The other channels previously incorporated into the listings before
their removal were slowly re-added, until
TV Guide Network's schedule
returned to the listings pages in June 2010 with its logo prominent
within the grids as part of the deal with Lionsgate's TV Guide
division. Under OpenGate ownership,
TV Guide slowly returned to
profitability mainly through cost reductions instituted by its venture
capital parent, making significant staffing reductions and switching
to bi-weekly editions full-time, reducing the number of issues it
published to 29 per year.
In March 2013,
CBS Corporation acquired One Equity Partners' stake of
TV Guide assets. The CBS acquisition was finalized later
that month for $100 million. On May 31, 2013, CBS bought
Lionsgate's share of
TV Guide Digital, which includes the website and
mobile apps. On January 31, 2014,
OpenGate Capital and CBS
Interactive announced a deal to cross-promote
TVGuide.com and CBS Interactive's other internet properties (including
Metacritic and CNET).
Shift towards features
On June 26, 2014,
OpenGate Capital announced that
TV Guide would
undergo a major redesign beginning with the August 11 issue; the
magazine eliminated 14 pages of listings, with the listings pages that
remained displaying programming information for only top-rated
broadcast and cable networks. It also added "enhanced editorial
features," including recommendation sections focusing on traditional
television and online programming – such as additional content from
senior critic Matt Roush (an expanded "Roush Review" column and an
additional column featuring ten picks for each week's programs as
selected by Roush) and several new sections ("Upfront," featuring
trending television-related stories, infographics, question-and-answer
coluumns and ratings charts; "The Guide," containing expanded
highlights for each day's television programming, including sports,
daytime programming and content available for streaming online; a
monthly television-related technology column; "The TV Guide
Interview," an occasional feature featuring celebrity interviews
focusing on their career; and "On Demand," a review column of movies
premiering through streaming and on-demand services). In addition, the
magazine's size was reduced from 7³/₈×10¼ inches to 7×10 inches
in a cost-saving measure; it also began to be distributed in airport
Sale to NTVB Media
On October 8, 2015,
OpenGate Capital sold the magazine and co-owned
website TVInsider.com to Troy, Michigan-based publishing company NTVB
Media for an undisclosed amount, marking TV Guide's third ownership
transaction in eight years (OpenGate managing partner Andrew Nikou
stated that the purchase price was for "more than $1 and less than $3
billion," while estimates from other industry sources stated that the
magazine sold for a price within the range of $12 million). TVGM
Holdings chief executive officer David J. Fishman and chief financial
officer Joe Clemente as well as the remainder of the magazine's
62-person staff will remain with the company; the magazine's corporate
offices in New York City, Los Angeles and Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
will also remain in operation – the former two of which also
continue to base the magazine's editorial staff. 
The acquisition made NTVB Media the largest owner of consumer
television publications in the United States, with a combined reach of
more than 20 million readers. NTVB already owned TV Weekly and Channel
Guide, both of which provide national editorial content and –
through syndication agreements with 160+ newspapers throughout the
country, in which they are distributed as supplementary publications
incorporated within each paper's Sunday editions – listings
customized for individual regions (the company began distributing its
listings magazines in this manner in 2008, as newspapers began to
cease publication of their proprietary television listings magazines
due to cost-cutting measures spurred by declining circulation and
revenue); it also publishes listings publications for pay television
providers such as Comcast,
Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable and Dish Network. As
such, it is undetermined whether NTVB will reach deals to distribute
TV Guide to newspapers on a separate basis or extend the name to its
existing television publications. Staff with
TV Guide and NTVB's other
titles will collaborate on feature content included in the respective
magazines, while the company will fold advertising sales for the
magazine with its existing television magazine titles.
Main article: List of
TV Guide editions
From the magazine's inception until the October 2005 conversion to
national listings based on time zone,
TV Guide maintained a
local-national hybrid format with local editions tailored to a
specific region or individual market. Each regional edition generally
served either a single city, a large market and certain smaller
adjacent markets, or a single or multiple neighboring states or
provinces. South Dakota,
Delaware and the U.S. territories did not
have their own editions during the local listings era (in the case of
the two U.S. states, Rapid City and Sioux Falls,
South Dakota were
presumably both considered too small to have their own editions and
were located too far away from one another to be included in one
Delaware is split between two markets – New Castle and Kent
counties are part of the
Philadelphia market, while Sussex County is
part of the
Salisbury, Maryland market). Some editions that once
provided statewide listings were eventually split off into separate
editions that only provided listings for a specific region; in
addition, certain markets have been added or dropped from some
By the mid-1990s, nearly 150 editions of the magazine were published;
during that decade,
TV Guide began to diversify its editions from
those for individual cities and multiple media markets within a given
state or multi-state region to include editions for certain cable
providers in larger television markets – which were later
branded as "Ultimate Cable" editions – as well as editions for
satellite providers such as
Dish Network (which were
published in addition to the listings magazines that both providers
Each channel in the listings section was designated by a bullet –
which, like the magazine's logo, also resembled a television screen.
Bullets used for broadcast stations contained a channel number, and,
in many editions, were displayed as a filled black screen for local
stations and as a screen outline for most out-of-market stations (the
outlined bullets were also used to identify black and white and by
1985, colorized programs). If a certain edition featured more than one
station that transmitted on the same channel but served different
markets, the primary station in the edition was displayed as a black
bullet with a white number, while the other shown as a white bullet
with a black number; some editions have also used a split (half for
stations broadcasting on frequencies from channel 10 and up; three
split with the channel number in the middle) or vertical channel
bullet if it covered a large area. Out-of-market stations and
(originally) superstations featured an alphanumeric identifier (with a
letter next to the channel number) to disambiguate it from a local
station, particularly in feature pages preceding the main listings
(such as in the Northern Wisconsin edition, in which "6M" was used to
WLUC-TV in Marquette,
Michigan from WITI in Milwaukee,
which only used a "6" as its identifier).
If the same program or episode was scheduled to air in the same
timeslot on more than one channel, two or more bullets identifying
each channel would precede the program title listed in a particular
time entry. The usage of multiple bullets to denote stations airing
the same program was a more common occurrence in instances where
multiple broadcast stations aired the same network program or their
respective local news programs at the same time, although this also
applied to broadcast and/or cable channels carrying the same episode
of a syndicated program; separate time entries would only be used in
this situation if the program had differing running times between
channels (the grouping of bullets based on a station's affiliated
network was later applied to the prime time grids beginning in
September 2003). Another example would involve the synopsis or topic
of the program listed; if the same description from the program aired
on different channels later on in the day or during that week when it
had aired first on another station listed in the edition, readers will
notice “See ch.(xx) at (day/time) for details” below the program.
There were some exceptions to this formatting. For example, the Hawaii
edition had the primary Honolulu-based stations listed first, followed
by their satellite sister stations, while the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
edition had that market's primary stations listed first, followed by
the out-of-market outlets; the latter being unique with having the
other stations listed below WPGH (channel 53) when it listed a show
during non-network hours, and during a network-scheduled lineup – in
this case, NBC – the primary station and channel being listed first
WPXI (11), followed by WJAC-TV/Johnstown (6), WTOV-TV/Steubenville
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Clarksburg, West Virginia (12) and WFMJ-TV/Youngstown,
Ohio (21) – instead of by order of over-the-air channel number for
For much of the log listings era, the actual listings were immediately
preceded by a channel lineup page, which listed the broadcast stations
– and later, cable channels – whose program information was
provided in each edition, organized numerically for broadcast stations
and alphabetically by abbreviation for cable channels. As cable
channels were gradually added to the magazine, a foreword was added
below the listed channels in the lineup page that provided
descriptions of channels that were not included in each issue; this
foreword was removed beginning with the September 12, 1998 issue, as
the magazine began adding many of the channels mentioned in that
notation. In some editions, particularly the "Ultimate Cable" and
satellite editions, the channel lineup was diagrammed in the form of a
conversion chart that listed each channel's assigned placement on
cable and satellite providers as well as their VCR Plus+ code number;
the lineup pages in some of the local editions switched to these
charts beginning in 2003, listing channel slots for major cable
providers within the local edition's home market (or in more
regionalized editions, the largest markets served by that edition).
The channel lineup page was dropped in June 2004 in most local
Related publications and services
TV Guide Channel/Network
Main article: Pop (U.S. TV channel)
In June 1998, the
TV Guide brand and magazine were acquired by United
Video Satellite Group, the parent company of the Prevue Channel –
a channel first launched in 1981 as the Electronic Program Guide
network, that was carried by cable and some satellite television
providers and was originally formatted to feature a scrolling program
guide, short segments featuring previews of upcoming programs, and
promos and short-form film trailers for programs airing on various
channels. Its new owners promptly rebranded Prevue as the TV Guide
Channel on February 1, 1999. With the rebranding, some of the hourly
segments featured on the channel at that point were renamed after
features in the magazine, including
TV Guide Close-Up, TV Guide
Sportsview (which was formatted more similarly to the listings
section's sports guide than the color column of that name) and TV
Guide Insider. After Gemstar's acquisition of TV Guide, the channel
began to shift towards airing full-length programs featuring celebrity
gossip and movie-focused talk shows alongside the program listings;
the channel was rebranded as the
TV Guide Network in 2007.
Following the respective sales of TV Guide's magazine and cable
OpenGate Capital and Lionsgate, the
TV Guide Network became operationally separate, although
the two properties still collaborated on content for TVGuide.com.
CBS Corporation bought stakes in TV Guide's properties in March
TV Guide Network was rebranded under the abbreviated name
TVGN that April to de-emphasize its ties to
TV Guide magazine, as part
of a transition into a general entertainment format while the channel
gradually decommissioned its scrolling listings grid. The network was
relaunched as Pop on January 14, 2015, with its programming focus
shifting towards shows about pop culture and its fandom.
TV Guide Crosswords
TV Guide Crosswords was a spin-off publication, first published in the
late 1980s,[specify] based on the crossword puzzle feature in the
penultimate page of each issue. The puzzles featured in
TV Guide and
the standalone magazine featured answers related to television
programs, films, actors, entertainment history and other
entertainment-related trivia. In addition to the regular magazine, TV
Guide Crosswords also published special editions as well as books.
TV Insider is a website promoted internally as an online "guide
to...TV" published by TV Guide's parent holding company TVGM Holdings,
LLC, which launched in January 2015. The website features reviews
and interviews from critics and columnists (such as Matt Roush) who
write for the print magazine.
TV Weekly is a weekly magazine that offers television listings for
viewers in the local markets, featuring the local channels and
regional cable networks alongside the major network and cable outlets.
The settings are similar to TV Guide's national listings.
Interactive program guides
TV Guide Interactive
TV Guide Interactive is an interactive electronic program guide
software system incorporated into digital set-top boxes provided by
cable providers; the program listings grid rendered by the software is
visually similar in its presentation to the grid used by the
present-day Pop under its former
TV Guide Network/TVGN identity on
TV Guide On Screen
See also: Guide Plus
A separate IPG system,
TV Guide On Screen, was a brand name for Guide
Plus+, a build of software featured in products such as televisions,
DVD and digital video recorders, and other digital television devices
providing on-screen program listings. First marketed in the mid-1990s,
it was originally owned by
Gemstar-TV Guide International
Gemstar-TV Guide International before being
acquired by the
Rovi Corporation on December 7, 2007 in a $2.8 billion
cash and stock deal. From November 2012 to April 2013, Rovi
gradually discontinued broadcast transmission of the Guide Plus+
Other usage of the
TV Guide name
A Canadian edition of TV Guide, which followed the same format as the
U.S. magazine but published editorial content directed from Canada,
was launched in 1977 (prior to this, beginning in 1953, the U.S.
edition was published in Canada with appropriate localized television
listings). It continued as a print publication until November 2006
(with only special editions being printed thereafter), after which it
was replaced by the website tvguide.ca, which operated until December
2012, at which point it was incorporated into the entertainment and
lifestyle website The Loop by Sympatico. The Canadian publication's
Transcontinental Media discontinued TV Guide's online editorial
content on July 2, 2014, ceasing the Canadian edition's existence
after 61 years; its listings department, which distributes programming
schedules to newspapers and The Loop owner Bell Canada's pay
television services (Bell TV, Bell Aliant TV and Bell Fibe TV) remains
The term "TV guide" has partly become a genericized trademark to
describe other television listings appearing on the internet and in
newspapers. Read/Write Web published "Your Guide to Online TV
Guides: 10 Services Compared." Techcrunch in 2006 offered
"Overview: The End of Paper TV Guides."
TV Guides is also the name of an interactive video and sound
installation produced in 1995 with assistance from the Canada Council,
and was presented at SIGGRAPH 1999.
National television listings magazines using the
TV Guide name
(verbatim or translated into the magazine's language of origin) are
also published in other countries, but none of these are believed to
be affiliated with the North American publication:
In Australia, during the 1970s, a version of
TV Guide was published
under license by Southdown Press. In 1980, that version merged with
competitor publication TV Week, which uses a very similar logo to that
used by TV Guide.
New Zealand has a digest-sized paper called TV Guide, which is not
associated with the
United States or Canadian publications. It has the
largest circulation of any national magazine, and is published by
In Mexico, a digest-sized publication called TV Guía is published by
Editorial Televisa. It is unrelated to the U.S. publication.
In Italy, a digest-size Guida TV has been published since September
1976 by Mondadori.
TV Guide covers
List of TV Guide covers (1950s)
List of TV Guide covers (1960s)
List of TV Guide covers (1970s)
List of TV Guide covers (1980s)
List of TV Guide covers (1990s)
List of TV Guide covers (2000s)
List of TV Guide covers (2010s)
TV Guide Canada
TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time
TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time
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