|National Broadcasting Company|
Broadcast television network
News radio network
Sports radio network
First air date
November 15, 1926
April 30, 1939 (television)
New York City (East Coast operations, news and production facilities)
The Burbank Studios, Burbank, California (West Coast production facilities)
10 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California (West Coast operations, Los Angeles news bureau, entertainment, and executive)
Stamford, Connecticut (NBC Sports)
(through NBC Entertainment)
Steve Burke, CEO
Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment
Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports
Deborah Turness, President, NBC News
November 15, 1926
April 30, 1939 (television)
|National Broadcasting Company|
By state or Details
The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American commercial broadcast television and radio network. It is headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center, with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", due to its stylized peacock logo, which was originally created for its color broadcasts.
Formed in 1926 by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), NBC is the oldest major broadcast network in the United States. In 1986, control of NBC passed to General Electric (GE), with GE's $6.4 billion purchase of RCA, which would eventually be sold to Thomson SA, who currently licenses it to various consumer electronics manufacturers, such as Audiovox, as a brand name for their products. GE had previously owned RCA and NBC until 1930, when it had been forced to sell the company as a result of antitrust charges.
After the 1986 acquisition, the chief executive of NBC was Bob Wright, who remained in that position until his retirement. He was succeeded by Jeff Zucker. The network is currently part of the media company NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, which formerly operated NBCUniversal in a joint venture with General Electric from 2011 to 2013 (and before that, jointly owned by GE and Vivendi). As a result of the merger, Zucker left NBC and was replaced by Comcast executive Steve Burke.
NBC has eleven owned-and-operated stations and nearly 200 affiliates in the United States, some of which are also seen in Canada, along with NBC-branded international channels in South Korea and Germany.
- Earliest stations: WEAF and WJZ 1.1.1
- Red and Blue Networks 1.1.2
- Chimes 1.1.3
- New beginnings: The Blue Network becomes ABC 1.1.4
- Defining radio's golden age 1.1.5
- Decline 1.1.6
- Restoration 1.1.7
- Color television 1.2.1
- 1970s doldrums 1.2.2
- Tartikoff's turnaround 1.2.3
- "Must See TV" 1.2.4
- New century, new problems 1.2.5
- Comcast takes over 1.2.6
- Radio 1.1
- NBC News 2
- Specials 3.1
- Daytime programs 3.2
- Children's programming 3.3
- NBCi 4
- Evolution of the NBC logo 5
International broadcasts 6
- Canada 6.1
Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East 6.2
- NBC Super Channel becomes NBC Europe 6.2.1
- Canal de Noticias 6.2.2
- Bahamas 126.96.36.199
- Bermuda 188.8.131.52
- Netherlands Antilles 184.108.40.206
Asia Pacific 6.3
- Guam 6.3.1
- American Samoa 6.3.2
- Federated States of Micronesia 6.3.3
- NBC Asia and CNBC Asia 6.3.4
- Regional partners 6.3.5
- Australia 6.4
- Library 7
- Controversy 8
- Presidents of NBC Entertainment 9
- See also 10
- References 11
- Further reading 12
- External links 13
Earliest stations: WEAF and WJZ
During a period of early broadcast business consolidation, radio manufacturer Radio Corporation of America (RCA) had acquired New York City radio station WEAF from American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T). An RCA shareholder, Westinghouse, had a competing facility 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.
WEAF acted as a laboratory for AT&T's manufacturing and supply outlet Western Electric, whose products included transmitters and antennas. The Bell System, AT&T's telephone utility, was developing technologies to transmit voice- and music-grade audio over short and long distances, using both wireless and wired methods. The 1922 creation of WEAF offered a research-and-development center for those activities. WEAF had a regular schedule of radio programs, including some of the first commercially sponsored programs, and was an immediate success. In an early example of chain or networking broadcasting, the station linked with the Outlet Company's WJAR in Providence, Rhode Island; and with AT&T's station in Washington, D.C., WCAP.
New parent RCA saw an advantage in sharing programming, and after getting a license for 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 interference.
In 1925, AT&T decided WEAF and its embryonic network were incompatible with AT&T's primary goal of providing a telephone service. AT&T offered to sell the station to RCA in a deal that included the right to lease AT&T's phone lines for network transmission.
Red and Blue Networks
RCA spent $1 million to buy WEAF and Washington sister station WCAP, shut down the latter station and merged its facilities with surviving station WRC, and announced in late 1926 the creation of a new division known as The National Broadcasting Company. The new division was divided in ownership among RCA (50 percent), General Electric (30 percent), and Westinghouse (20 percent). NBC officially launched on November 15, 1926.
WEAF and WJZ, the flagships of the two earlier networks, 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 push pins NBC engineers used to designate affiliates of WEAF (red) and WJZ (blue), or from the use of double-ended red and blue colored pencils. A similar two-part/two-color strategy appeared in the recording industry, dividing the market between classical (cf. RCA Red Seal) and popular offerings.
On April 5, 1927, NBC reached the West Coast with the launch of the NBC Orange Network, also known as The Pacific Coast Network. This was followed by the October 18, 1931, debut of the NBC Gold Network, also known as The Pacific Gold Network. The Orange Network carried Red Network programming and the Gold Network carried programming from the Blue Network. Initially the Orange Network recreated Eastern Red Network programming for West Coast stations at KPO in San Francisco. In 1936, the Orange Network name was dropped and network affiliate stations became part of the Red Network. At the same time, the Gold Network became part of the Blue Network. NBC also developed a network for shortwave radio stations in the 1930s called the NBC White Network.
Prior to occupying its location at Rockefeller Center, NBC had occupied upper floors of a building at 711 Fifth Avenue developed by Floyd Brown, himself an architect. Home of NBC from its construction in 1927, the broadcast company occupied floor designed by Raymond Hood – who designed the tenant's multiple studios as "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 designs.”" NBC outgrew 711 Fifth Avenue in 1933.
In 1930, General Electric was compelled by antitrust charges to divest itself of RCA, which it had founded. RCA moved its corporate headquarters into the new Rockefeller Center in 1933, signing the leases in 1931. RCA was the lead tenant at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the "RCA Building" (now the GE Building). The building housed NBC's studios, as well as theaters for RCA-owned RKO Pictures. Rockefeller Center's founder and financier John D. Rockefeller, Jr., arranged the deal with the chairman of GE, Owen D. Young, and the president of RCA, David Sarnoff.
The famous three-note audio trademark to be accepted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A variant sequence was also used that went G-E'-C'-G, known as "the fourth chime" and used during wartime (especially in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor), on D-Day, and disasters. The NBC chimes were mechanized in 1932 by Richard H. Ranger of the Rangertone company; their purpose was to send a low level signal of constant amplitude that would be heard by the various switching stations manned by NBC and AT&T engineers, and thus used as a system cue for switching different stations between the Red and Blue network feeds. Contrary to popular legend, the three musical notes, G-E'-C', did not originally stand for NBC's previous parent corporation, the General Electric Company; although GE's radio station in Schenectady, New York, WGY, was an early NBC affiliate, and GE was an early shareholder in NBC's founding parent RCA. General Electric did not own NBC outright until 1986. G-E'-C' was incorporated into John Williams' theme music for the NBC Nightly News, and is still used on NBC television. A variant with two preceding notes is used on the MSNBC cable television network. NBC's radio branch no longer exists.
New beginnings: The Blue Network becomes ABC
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had, since its creation in 1934, investigated the monopolistic effects of network broadcasting. The FCC found that NBC's two networks and its owned-and-operated stations dominated audiences, affiliates and advertising in American radio. In 1939, the FCC ordered RCA to divest itself of one of the two networks. RCA fought the divestiture order, but in 1940 divided NBC into two companies in case an appeal was lost. The Blue Network became NBC Blue Network, Inc. and NBC Red became NBC Red Network, Inc. Both networks formally divorced operations on January 8, 1942, and the Blue Network was referred to on the air as either Blue or Blue Network, with official corporate name Blue Network Company, Inc. NBC Red, on the air, became known simply as NBC.
After losing its final appeal before the Central Time Zone. The lineup consisted of Marblehead Manor airing Mondays, She's the Sheriff airing Tuesdays, You Can't Take It With You airing Wednesdays, Out of This World airing Thursdays, and We Got It Made closing out the week on Fridays.
The inspiration for the block's conception was the loosening of the Prime Time Access Rule, which had required that the 7:30 p.m. time slot be given back to the local stations; and the relaxation of the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules, which had prevented the networks from setting up wings with programming from their own syndication units to fill the void. The shows in the package were regularly outrated in many markets by such syndicated game shows as Wheel of Fortune starring Pat Sajak and Vanna White, the Alex Trebek-hosted revival of Jeopardy!, and the John Davidson version of Hollywood Squares. Marblehead Manor, We Got It Made, and You Can't Take It With You were cancelled at the end of the 1987-88 season, with She's the Sheriff lasting one more season in weekend syndication before cancellation. Out of This World aired for three additional seasons, airing largely on weekends, and was the most successful of the five series.
NBC aired the first of seven consecutive Summer Olympic Games broadcasts when it covered the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea. In 2002, the network would add the Winter Olympics, giving NBC the rights to every Olympics through the 2012 London Games.
"Must See TV"
In 1991, Tartikoff left NBC to take a position at Paramount Pictures. In one decade, he had taken control of a network with no shows in the Nielsen Top 10 and left it with five. Warren Littlefield took his place as president of NBC Entertainment. His start was shaky due to the end of most of the Tartikoff-era hits. Some blamed him for losing David Letterman to CBS after giving The Tonight Show to Jay Leno following Johnny Carson's May 1992 retirement. Things turned around with hit series Mad About You, Frasier, Friends, ER and Will & Grace. One of Tartikoff's late acquisitions, Seinfeld, initially struggled, but became one of NBC's top-rated shows after it was moved into the timeslot following Cheers. The "Must See TV" tagline was applied to Thursday night's strong lineup. After Seinfeld ended its run in 1998, Friends became the most popular sitcom on NBC. It dominated the ratings, never leaving the top five watched shows of the year from its second through tenth seasons and landing on the number-one spot during season eight in the 2001–2002 season. Frasier was also popular and, despite not being as highly rated as Friends, still usually landed in the top 20 and won numerous Emmy Awards.
By the mid-1990s, NBC's sports division, headed by NFL, Major League Baseball and NBA), the Olympics, and the national powerhouse Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. The NBA on NBC enjoyed great success in the '90s due in large part to the Chicago Bulls' run of six championships with superstar Michael Jordan. NBC Sports would suffer a major blow in 1998, however, when it lost the NFL to CBS, which itself had lost rights to Fox four years earlier.
In 1998, Littlefield left NBC. Scott Sassa replaced him as president of NBC Entertainment. Sassa oversaw the development of such shows as The West Wing, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Fear Factor. Sassa then named Garth Ancier as his replacement in 1999. Ancier was responsible for putting The West Wing on the air. Jeff Zucker replaced Ancier as president of NBC Entertainment in 2000.
NBC's "Must See TV" declined after Friends and Frasier ended their runs in 2004. Friends spin-off Joey (despite a relatively good start) started to fail during its second season.
New century, new problems
At the start of the 2000s, NBC's fortunes took a rapid turn for the worse. The network had already lost many viewers in the late 1990s who boycotted NBC programming after the cancellation of the long-running soap opera Another World in 1999. In 2001, CBS chose its hit reality series Survivor to anchor its Thursday night lineup. Its success was taken as a suggestion that NBC's nearly two decades of Thursday night dominance could be broken. With the loss of Friends and Frasier in 2004, NBC was left with several moderately rated shows and few true hits. By then, its major sports offerings had been reduced to the Olympics, PGA Tour golf and a floundering Notre Dame football program (NBC had by this time, lost Major League Baseball after the 2000 season and the NBA after the 2001–02 season). NBC's ratings fell to fourth place. CBS led for most of the decade, followed by a resurgent ABC, and Fox (which would eventually become the most watched network for the 2007–08 season). During this time, all of the networks faced shrinking audiences due to increased competition from cable television, home video, video games and the Internet, with NBC being the hardest hit.
In October 2001, NBC made a deal with Liberty Media and Sony Pictures Entertainment to acquire Spanish-language television network Telemundo for $2.7 billion, beating out other bidders such as CBS/Viacom. The deal was completed in 2002.
With the beginning of the 2004–2005 season, NBC became the first major network to air some of its dramas in widescreen over its analog broadcast feed, hoping to attract new viewers; however, the network saw only a slight boost.
In 2004, Zucker was promoted to the newly created position of president of NBC Universal Television Group. Kevin Reilly became the new president of NBC Entertainment.
In December 2005, NBC began its first week-long primetime game show event, Deal or No Deal, garnering high ratings, and returning multi-weekly in March 2006. On sustained success, Deal or No Deal returned in the fall of 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, surviving for a second season. The 2006–07 season was a mixed bag, with Heroes becoming a surprise hit on Monday nights, while the highly touted Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, from the creator of NBC's hit drama The West Wing, lost a third of its premiere-night viewers by week six and was eventually cancelled. Sunday Night NFL football returned to NBC after eight years, Deal or No Deal stayed strong, and its comedies The Office and 30 Rock won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for four consecutive years. However, NBC has remained in a very distant fourth place, barely ahead of The CW.
However, NBC did gain success in its summer schedule, despite its falling ratings within the regular broadcast season. America's Got Talent, a reality talent show originally hosted by Regis Philbin, which premiered in 2006, gained a 4.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which was higher than the original premiere of Fox's American Idol in 2002. The show would continue to garner unusually high ratings throughout its summer run. However, NBC decided not to place it in the spring season, and instead use it as a platform to promote their upcoming fall shows. The show is now hosted by Nick Cannon as of 2013, and continues to garner high ratings throughout its summer seasons.
In March 2007, NBC announced that it would offer full-length prime-time television shows like The Office and Heroes on-demand to play on mobile phones. This was a first for the United States, as the market began shifting away from traditional television.
In 2007, Ben Silverman replaced Kevin Riley as president of NBC Entertainment, while Jeff Zucker succeeded Bob Wright as CEO of NBC. No new primetime hits emerged in the 2008–2009 season (despite NBC's rare good fortune to have both the Super Bowl and the Beijing Olympic Games in which to promote their new offerings), while Heroes and Deal or No Deal both collapsed in the ratings, and both were later cancelled. In a March 2009 interview, Zucker had stated that NBC no longer believed that they could be #1 in prime time. In 2009, Jeff Gaspin replaced Ben Silverman as president of NBC Entertainment.
Comcast takes over
NBC aired the luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. This led NBC News president Steve Capus to order the footage not to be shown without his permission and announcer Bob Costas to promise that the video would not be shown again during the Games. NBC Universal was on track to pull in at least $250 million less from advertisers than the $820 million paid for the U.S. rights to air the Games. Even so, with its continuing position in fourth place (although it virtually tied with ABC in many categories due to the sporting events), the 2009–2010 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 – to be renewed for second seasons, while others such as Heroes and veteran series Law & Order were cancelled, the latter of which after 20 seasons, tying it with Gunsmoke for the record for longest-running scripted drama.
When Conan O'Brien replaced Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show in 2009, the network gave Leno a new talk show, committing to air it every weeknight at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT (9:00 p.m. CT/MT), as an inexpensive comedic alternative to the procedurals and other one-hour dramas that typically air during that time slot. In doing so, NBC became the first major U.S. network in decades, or possibly ever, to broadcast the same show every weekday during the prime time hours. 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 at that hour, and that it would hurt NBC by undermining a reputation built on successful scripted shows. In January 2010, however, NBC would end up announcing that Leno's 10 p.m. show would be cancelled, citing complaints from many affiliates, whose local newscasts saw significant ratings drops as a result of the change. Zucker attempted to move and shorten The Jay Leno Show to a half-hour 11:35 p.m. time slot and move the existing shows, including The Tonight Show, back 30 minutes. This, however, caused considerable backlash, as O'Brien had not been given any choice or prior notification of the move. Furthermore, his contract guaranteed him a minimum of three years as host and the majority of his staff had moved with him from New York to California less than a year before the show started. O'Brien refused to be a part of the moves if they went through, gaining tremendous public and professional support, and leading to a host and timeslot conflict, with Leno, Zucker and NBC as a whole having seen significant negative backlash against them for their involvement. Leno would end up returning as host of The Tonight Show on March 1, 2010, while O'Brien accepted a buyout from NBC. O'Brien went on to host a new show, Conan, on cable network TBS starting in November 2010.
Despite the removal of The Jay Leno Show in prime time, the change had almost no impact on the network's ratings. The increases NBC noticed in the 2010 season compared to 2009 were almost entirely attributable to increased ratings for NBC Sunday Night Football. By 2012, the shows that occupied the 10 p.m. time slot drew lower numbers than The Jay Leno Show did when it aired in that hour.
Jeff Zucker announced on September 24, 2010 that he would step down as CEO of NBC Universal once Comcast's purchase of NBC was completed at the end of the year. After the purchase was complete, Steve Burke became the new CEO of NBCUniversal and Robert Greenblatt replaced Jeff Gaspin as chairman of NBC Entertainment. In 2011, NBC was finally able to find a breakout hit in mid-season reality singing competition series The Voice. NBC otherwise had another tough season, with mid-season legal drama Harry's Law being its only freshman scripted show to be renewed. The network nearly completed its full conversion to an all-HD schedule (outside of the Saturday morning hours leased by the Qubo consortium, which NBCUniversal would rescind its stake in the following year) on September 20, 2011, with the premiere of the 11th season of Last Call with Carson Daly in the format.
In 2012, buoyed by Super Bowl XLVI, the then-most-watched U.S. television broadcast in history, and the success of its Monday night mid-season lineup of The Voice and musical-drama Smash, the network managed to lift itself into third place in the 18-49 demographic, breaking the network's eight-season ratings streak at fourth place. NBC had more development success during the 2011–12 season, with several shows surviving for a second season, although none were unqualified ratings successes. The network's Saturday morning children's block was given over to new partial sister network PBS Kids Sprout for their programming in July 2012 under the branding NBC Kids, giving the network a schedule transmitting in full HD.
In the fall of 2012, NBC greatly expanded its roster of comedies, increasing the number to eight, airing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. For the fall, NBC was the first place network in the 18-49 demographic, boosted from the fall return of The Voice, the initial success of freshman drama Revolution and comedy Go On, and the continued success of Sunday Night Football. However, withholding the new season of The Voice and benching Revolution until late March, the network's mid-season ratings suffered; in February sweeps, the network fell to fifth behind the Spanish-language network Univision. The 2012-13 season would end with another overall third place finish for the network, albeit narrowly, with only three new shows, all dramas, surviving for a second season (Revolution, Chicago Fire and Hannibal).
Also in 2013, the entirety of NBC Sports' operations except for Football Night in America (which remained at Studio 8G in Rockefeller Center, but originated from Studio 8H, which remains home to Saturday Night Live), including NBCSN, moved to new facilities in Stamford, Connecticut. Football Night in America would also move to Stamford the following year (2014).
The 2013-14 season has been mostly successful for NBC. The network has seen the continued success of The Voice, Chicago Fire, Revolution, Sunday Night Football and Grimm. Along with new hits including The Blacklist and Chicago PD and significantly boosted by the 2014 Winter Olympics, NBC, at the end of the season became the number one network in the coveted 18-49 demo for the first time since the 2003-2004 season, when Friends ended. NBC also improved considerably with total viewers where it placed second, after perennial first place winner for 11 years, CBS.
News presentation has long been an important part of NBC's operations and public image, dating to the network's radio days. Notable NBC News productions include:
The expansion of the news division to cable has seen the launch of the channels CNBC for business news, MSNBC for general news with a liberal stance, NBCSN for sports news and events, and the acquisition of a share in The Weather Channel. Key anchors from NBC News are also used during NBC Sports coverage of the Olympic Games.
As of 2013, NBC provides a schedule of 87 regular weekly hours of network programming. The network provides 22 hours of prime time programming to affiliated stations from 8:00-11:00 p.m. (ET/PT)/7:00-10:00 p.m. (CT, MT, AT)/6:00-9:00 p.m. (HT) Monday through Saturday and 7:00-11:00 p.m. (ET/PT)/6:00-10:00 p.m. (CT, MT, AT, HT) on Sundays.
Daytime programming is also provided between 12:00 and 3:00 p.m. weekdays in the form of the one-hour weekday soap opera Days of our Lives (the scheduling of the program varies depending on the station). NBC News programming includes the morning news/interview program Today from 7–11 a.m. weekdays and Saturdays, and 7–8 a.m. Sundays; nightly editions of NBC Nightly News (whose weekend editions are occasionally subject to abbreviation or preemption due to sports telecasts overrunning into the program's timeslot), the Sunday political talk show Meet the Press, weekday early-morning news program Early Today and newsmagazine Dateline NBC. Late nights feature the weeknight talk shows The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers and Last Call with Carson Daly, weeknight replays of the fourth hour of Today and CNBC program Mad Money, and the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, and the LXTV-produced 1st Look and Open House NYC on Saturdays (replays of the previous week's 1st Look also air on Friday late nights on most stations).
The network's Saturday morning children's programming timeslot, consisting of three hours, is filled by cable channel Sprout, which produces the live-action/animation block for preschoolers NBC Kids, under a time-lease agreement.
Sports programming is also provided weekend afternoons at any time from between 12:00 and 6:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., or tape-delayed PT). Due to the unpredictable length of sporting events, NBC will occasionally pre-empt scheduled programs (more common with the weekend editions of NBC Nightly News, and local and syndicated programs carried by its owned-and-operated stations and affiliates).
NBC holds the broadcast rights to several annual specials and award show telecasts including 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 owner Donald Trump that gave the network half-ownership of the pageants, until 2007, when NBC declined to renew its contract to carry the Miss Teen USA pageant which effectively discontinued televised broadcasts of that event).
NBC is currently the home of only one daytime soap opera, Days of our Lives, which has been broadcast on the network since 1965.
Long-running daytime dramas seen on NBC in the past include The Doctors (1963–1982), Another World (1964–1999), Santa Barbara (1984–1993), and Passions (1999–2008). NBC also aired the final four and a half years of Search for Tomorrow (1982–1986) after that series was dropped by CBS, although many NBC affiliates did not air the show during that time. NBC has also aired numerous short-lived soaps, including Generations (1989–1991), Sunset Beach (1997–1999), and the two Another World spin-offs, Somerset (1970–1976) and Texas (1980–1982).
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, 1990–1991, and a short-lived 2002 primetime revival), 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 final game show to air on NBC's daytime schedule was the short-lived Caesars Challenge, which ended in January 1994.
Children's programming has played a part in NBC's programming since its initial roots in television. In 1947, NBC's first major children's series was Howdy Doody, one of the era's first breakthrough television shows. The series, which ran for 13 years, featured a freckle-faced marionette and a myriad of other characters and was hosted by "Buffalo" Bob Smith. Howdy Doody spent most of its run on weekday afternoons. In 1956, NBC abandoned children's programming on weekday afternoons, relegating the lineup to Saturdays only with Howdy Doody as its marquee franchise for the series' remaining four years.
From the mid-1960s until 1992, the bulk of NBC's children's programming were derived from mainly animated programing including classic Looney Tunes and Woody Woodpecker shorts, reruns of primetime animated sitcoms such as The Flintstones and The Jetsons, foreign acquisitions like Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, animated adaptions of Gary Coleman, Mr T, Punky Brewster, ALF and Star Trek, live-action programs like The Banana Splits, The Bugaloos and H.R. Pufnstuf, and the original broadcasts of Gumby, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Underdog, The Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears. From 1984 to 1989, One to Grow On PSAs were shown after the end credits of every show or every other children's show.
In 1989, NBC premiered Saved by the Bell, which originated on The Disney Channel as Good Morning, Miss Bliss. Saved by the Bell, despite bad reviews from TV critics, would become one of the most popular teen series in television history as well as the number one series on Saturday mornings, dethroning The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show in its first season.
NBC abandoned the animated series in August 1992 in favor of a Saturday edition of Today and more live-action series under the brand TNBC ("Teen NBC"). Most of the series on the TNBC lineup were series 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, and was designed from the start to meet the earliest form of the FCC's educational and informational programming guidelines. NBA Inside Stuff was also a part of the TNBC lineup during the duration of the NBA season.
In 2002, NBC entered into a deal with Discovery Communications' Discovery Kids to air that network's educational children's programming under the banner Discovery Kids on NBC. The schedule originally consisted of only live-action series, including a kid-themed version of Trading Spaces, J. D. Roth's Emmy-nominated reality game show Endurance, and scripted series such as Strange Days at Blake Holsey High and Scout's Safari, but later expanded to include some animated series such as Kenny the Shark, Tutenstein and Time Warp Trio.
In May 2006, NBC announced plans to launch a new children's block on Saturday mornings to launch in September 2006, replacing the Discovery Kids on NBC block, as part of the qubo endeavor teaming parent company NBC Universal with Ion Media Networks, Scholastic Press, Classic Media and Corus Entertainment's Nelvana. Qubo included blocks on NBC, Telemundo, and Ion Media Networks's Ion Television, as well as a 24-hour digital broadcast network on Ion's stations, video on demand services and a branded website. Qubo launched on NBC on September 9, 2006 with six programs: VeggieTales, Dragon, VeggieTales Presents: 3-2-1 Penguins!, Babar, Jane and the Dragon, and Jacob Two-Two.
On March 28, 2012, it was announced that NBC, with assistance from PBS Kids Sprout (once jointly owned by NBCUniversal, PBS, Sesame Workshop and Apax Partners; yet currently owned 100% only by the former), would launch a new Saturday morning preschool block, called NBC Kids, which replaced the "Qubo on NBC" block on July 7, 2012.
- NBCi redirects here.
In April 2000, NBC purchased a company that specialized with search engines that learned from the users' searches for $32 million, called GlobalBrain.
In 1999, NBC briefly changed its web address to "www.nbci.com", in a heavily advertised attempt to launch an Internet portal and homepage. This move saw NBC teaming up with XOOM.com, e-mail.com, AllBusiness.com, and Snap.com (eventually acquiring all four of them), launching a multi-faceted internet portal with e-mail, webhosting, community, chat, personalization and news capabilities. This experiment lasted roughly one season, failed, and NBCi was folded back into NBC. The NBC Television portion of the website reverted to NBC.com. However, the NBCi website continued as a portal for NBC-branded content (NBCi.com 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 NBC.com. Starting in 2010, NBCi.com began to redirect to NBC.com.
Evolution of the NBC logo
NBC has used a number of logos throughout its history; early logos were similar to the logo of its then parent company, RCA, but later logos included stylized peacock images, including the one currently used since 1986.
NBC broadcasts from the United States can be received throughout most of Canada (via stations such as KING-TV in Seattle, WGRZ in Buffalo, New York and WDIV-TV in Detroit), primarily through cable and satellite television providers, but also over-the-air in areas close to the Canada–United States border (coverage was somewhat reduced after the 2009 digital switchover due to less power required to transmit digital signals). Aside from simultaneous substitution (a practice that requires pay television providers to switch the signal of an American station to a Canadian station when that network is syndicating a program on the American station to protect advertising revenues), the programming and broadcasting are the same as in the United States.
Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is shown on CNBC Europe but the NBC Nightly News is no longer aired. NBC is no longer shown outside the Americas on a channel in its own right. However, NBC News and MSNBC programs are shown for a few hours a day on Orbit News in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. MSNBC programming is also shown occasionally on sister network CNBC Europe during breaking news. Border cities in the Mexico–United States border region can easily receive NBC stations on-the-air, and through cable and satellite providers across Mexico, especially in the Mexico City area.
NBC Super Channel becomes NBC Europe
In 1993, the Pan-European cable network Super Channel was taken over by former NBC parent General Electric, and became NBC Super Channel. In 1996, the channel was renamed NBC Europe, but was, from then on, almost always referred to as simply "NBC" on the air.
Most of NBC Europe's prime time programming was produced in Europe due to rights restrictions associated with U.S. primetime shows, but after 11 p.m. Central European Time on weekday evenings, the channel aired The Tonight Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Later, leading to its slogan "Where the Stars Come Out at Night." Many NBC News programs were broadcast on NBC Europe, including Dateline NBC, Meet the Press and NBC Nightly News, which was aired live. Today was also initially shown live in the afternoons, but was later broadcast the following morning instead, by which time it was more than half a day old.
In 1999, NBC Europe stopped broadcasting to most of Europe. At the same time, the network was relaunched as a German language computer channel, targeting a young demographic. The main show on the new NBC Europe was called NBC GIGA. In 2005, the channel was relaunched once again, this time as a free-to-air movie channel under the name "Das Vierte". GIGA Television started its own digital channel then, which could be received via satellite and many cable networks in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Tonight Show and NBC Nightly News continue to be broadcast on CNBC Europe.
Canal de Noticias
In 1993, NBC launched Canal de Noticias NBC. The service was beamed to Latin America from the Charlotte, North Carolina headquarters of NBC's affiliate news service NBC Newschannel. Over 50 journalists were brought to produce, write, anchor and technically produce a 24-hour news service based on the popular "wheel" format conceived at CNN. The service folded in 1997 as sales departments were not able to generate any revenue. After Mexican Noticias ECO, Canal de Noticias NBC holds the distinction of being the first 24-hour news service in Latin America. Telenoticias, at one point owned by CBS, came later followed by CNN en Español.
In the Caribbean, many cable and satellite television providers carry local NBC affiliates from the United States, or the main network feed from NBC owned-and-operated stations WNBC in New York City or WTVJ in Miami. A few locally owned NBC affiliates do exist, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In this areas are the main receivers of NBC programs available in English and Spanish via the SAP option.
NBC programming is shown on cable via over-the-air affiliates from the United States.
NBC's full program lineup is carried by local affiliate VSB-TV, received from the network's East Coast satellite feed and carried as-is live an hour later due to the island nation residing in the Atlantic Time Zone.
KUAM-TV serves as the NBC affiliate for Guam and carries the full NBC program lineup via satellite. Entertainment and non-breaking news programming is shown day and date on a one-day tape delay due to Guam being on the west side of the International Date Line (for example, the Thursday night lineup airs Friday evenings on KUAM and is promoted as such), with live programming and breaking news airing as scheduled, meaning live sports coverage often airs early in the morning.
Federated States of Micronesia
NBC Asia and CNBC Asia
In 1994, NBC launched a channel in Asia called NBC Asia available in Nepal, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Republic of China, Thailand, Pakistan, and the Republic of the Philippines. Like with NBC Europe, NBC Asia featured most of NBC's news programs as well as The Tonight Show and Late Night. Like its European counterpart, it could not broadcast American-produced primetime shows due to rights restrictions. It also operated NBC Super Sports to broadcast select sporting events. On weekday evenings, NBC Asia produced a regional evening news program. It occasionally simulcast some programs from CNBC Asia and MSNBC.
In July 1998, NBC Asia was replaced by the National Geographic Channel. As is the case with NBC Europe, however, select Tonight Show and Late Night episodes and Meet the Press can still be seen on CNBC Asia on weekends. CNBC Asia shows NFL games and also brands them as Sunday Night Football.
Through regional partners, NBC-produced programs are seen in some countries in the region. In the Philippines, Solar Entertainment's Jack TV airs Will & Grace and Saturday Night Live, while TalkTV airs The Tonight Show and NBC News programs like Today, Early Today, Weekend Today, Dateline and NBC Nightly News. Solar TV used to air The Jay Leno Show. In Hong Kong, TVB Pearl, the English free-to-air channel operated by TVB, airs NBC Nightly News live, as well as selected NBC programming.
The Seven Network in Australia has close ties with NBC and has used a majority of the network's imaging and slogans since the 1970s. Seven News has featured "The Mission" as its news theme since the mid-1980s. Local newscasts were named Seven Nightly News from the mid-1980s until around 2000. NBC and Seven will often share news resources between the two countries. NBC News has been known to use Seven News reporters for live crosses on a developing news story in Australia. Seven News will sometimes also incorporate an NBC News report into its national bulletins.
Seven rebroadcasts some of NBC's news and current affairs programming between 3am-5am, including:
- Today (known as NBC Today and unrelated to Nine Network's Australian Today program)
- Weekend Today
- Dateline NBC
- Meet the Press with David Gregory
Through the years, NBC has produced many shows in-house, in addition to airing content from other producers such as Revue Studios and its successor Universal Television.
Notable in-house productions of NBC included Get Smart, Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, Las Vegas and Crossing Jordan. NBC sold the distribution rights to its pre-1973 shows to National Telefilm Associates in 1973. Today, those rights are owned by CBS Television Distribution, though NBC still owns the copyrights to the episodes.
NBC continues to own its post-1973 productions, through sister company NBCUniversal Television Group, the successor to Universal Television. As a result, NBC in a way now owns several other series aired on the network prior to 1973, such as Wagon Train.
On December 6, 2012,  While NBC News initially declined to comment, the news agency did issue an apology to viewers.
Presidents of NBC Entertainment
- Sylvester Weaver (1953-1955) - NBC hired him in 1949 to challenge the CBS network's programming lead. At NBC, Weaver established many operating practices that became standard for network television. He introduced the practice of networks producing their own television programming, then selling advertising time during the broadcasts. Prior to that, ad agencies usually created each show for a particular client. Because commercial announcements could now more easily be sold to more than one company sponsor for each program, a single advertiser pulling out would not necessarily threaten a program. Weaver created Today in 1952, followed by Tonight Starring Steve Allen (1954), Home (1954) with Arlene Francis and Wide Wide World (1955), hosted by Dave Garroway. He believed so deeply that broadcasting should educate as well as entertain that he typically required NBC shows to include at least one sophisticated cultural reference or performance per installment—including a segment of a Verdi opera adapted to the comic style of Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca's groundbreaking Your Show of Shows. Weaver did not ignore NBC Radio, either. In 1955, as network radio was dying, Weaver gave it one of the greatest adrenaline kicks in its history with NBC Monitor, a weekend-long magazine-style programming block that featured an array of news, music, comedy, drama, sports, and anything that could be broadcast within magazine style, with rotating advertisers and some of the most memorable names in broadcast journalism, entertainment and sports. NBC Monitor long outlived Weaver's tenure running the network. Following disputes with chieftain David Sarnoff, Weaver departed. His ideas were either too expensive or too highbrow for company tastes. His successors (first, Sarnoff's son, Robert; then, Robert Kintner) standardized the network's programming practices with far less of the ambitiousness that characterized the Weaver years.
- Robert E. Kintner (1958-1965) - His NBC tenure was marked by his aggressive effort to push NBC News past CBS News in rankings and prestige. The news department was given more money, leading to notable coverage of the 1960 Presidential election campaign, and the prominence of The Huntley-Brinkley Report.
- Julian Goodman (1966-1977) - Goodman helped establish Chet Huntley and David Brinkley as a well-known news team and led the network from 1966 to 1974. While working for NBC, he negotiated a $1 million deal to retain Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show.
- Herb Schlosser (1974-1978)
- Fred Silverman (1978-1981) - Although Silverman's tenure at ABC was very successful, he left to become President and CEO of NBC in 1978. His three-year tenure at the network proved to be a difficult period, marked by several high-profile failures such as the sitcom Hello, Larry, the variety show Pink Lady, the drama Supertrain, and the Jean Doumanian era of Saturday Night Live (Silverman hired Doumanian after Al Franken, the planned successor for outgoing Lorne Michaels, castigated Silverman's failures on-air). Despite these failures, there were high points in Silverman's tenure at NBC, including the launch of the critically lauded Hill Street Blues (1981), the epic mini-series Shogun and The David Letterman Show (daytime, 1980), which would lead to Letterman's successful late night program in 1982. Silverman had Letterman in a holding deal after the morning show which kept the unemployed Letterman from going to another network. However, Silverman nearly lost his then-current late night host, market leader Johnny Carson, after Carson sued NBC in a contract dispute; the case was settled out of court and Carson remained with NBC in exchange for the rights to his show and a reduction in time on air. Silverman also developed successful comedies such as Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, and Gimme a Break!, and made the series commitments that led to Cheers and St. Elsewhere. Silverman also pioneered entertainment reality programming with the 1979 launch of Real People. His contributions to the network's game show output included Goodson-Todman's Card Sharks and a revival of Password, both of which enjoyed great success in 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, departed the show in a payment dispute during Silverman's tenure, although the show survived). Silverman also oversaw the hiring of Pat Sajak as the new host of Wheel of Fortune, a position Sajak holds to this day, although Silverman himself objected to Sajak's hiring. On Saturday mornings, in a time when most of the cartoon output of the three networks were similar, Silverman oversaw the development of an animated series based on The Smurfs; the animated series The Smurfs ran from 1981 to 1989, well after Silverman's departure, making it one of his longest-lasting contributions to the network. He also oversaw a revival of The Flintstones. In other areas of NBC, Silverman revitalized the news division, which resulted in Today and NBC Nightly News achieving parity with their competition for the first time in years. He created a new FM Radio Division, with competitive full-service stations in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington. During his NBC tenure, Silverman also brought in an entirely new divisional and corporate management, a team that stayed in place long after Silverman's departure. (Among this group was a new Entertainment President, Brandon Tartikoff, who would help get NBC back on top by 1985.) Silverman also reintroduced the peacock as NBC's corporate logo.
- Brandon Tartikoff (1981-1991) - Tartikoff was hired as a program executive at ABC in 1976. One year later, he moved to NBC (after being hired by Dick Ebersol to direct comedy programming). Tartikoff took over programming duties at NBC from Fred Silverman in 1981. At age 32, Tartikoff became the youngest president of NBC's entertainment division. When Tartikoff took over, NBC was in last place behind ABC and CBS, and the very future of the network was in doubt. A writers' strike was looming, affiliates were defecting, mostly to ABC, and the network had only three prime time shows in the Top 20: Little House on the Prairie, Diff'rent Strokes and Real People. Johnny Carson was reportedly in talks to move his landmark late-night talk show to ABC. The entire cast and writers of Saturday Night Live had left that late-night sketch-comedy series, and their replacements had received some of the show's worst critical notices. By 1982, Tartikoff and his new superior, the highly regarded former producer Grant Tinker, slowly, but surely turned the network's fortunes around. As head of NBC's Entertainment Division, Tartikoff's successes included The Cosby Show, for which Tartikoff had pursued actor-comedian Bill Cosby to create a pilot after having been impressed by Cosby's stories when Cosby guest-hosted The Tonight Show. Tartikoff wrote a brainstorming memo that simply read "MTV cops," and later presented the memo to series creator Anthony Yerkovich, formerly a writer and producer for Hill Street Blues. The result was Miami Vice, which became an icon of 1980s pop culture. Knight Rider 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. During the casting process of Family Ties, Tartikoff was unexcited about Michael J. Fox for the role of Alex P. Keaton. However, the show's producer, Gary David Goldberg, insisted 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." Some years later, after the movie Back to the Future cemented Fox's stardom, Fox good-naturedly sent Tartikoff a lunch box with Fox's picture on it and a note inside reading: "To Brandon: This is for you to put your crow in. Love and Kisses, Michael J. Fox." Tartikoff kept the lunch box in his office for the rest of his career. Johnny Carson broke the news of his retirement in February 1991 to Tartikoff at the Grille in Beverly Hills. For several days only Tartikoff and NBC Chairman Bob Wright knew of the planned retirement. 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 Ever."
- Warren Littlefield (1991-1998) - A protégé of Brandon Tartikoff, Littlefield developed Cheers, The Cosby Show, and The Golden Girls as senior and executive vice president of NBC Entertainment under Tartikoff. During his time as president of NBC, Littlefield oversaw the creation of many shows for the network throughout 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, NewsRadio, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Suddenly Susan, Just Shoot Me!, Will & Grace and The West Wing.
- Scott Sassa (1998-1999) - Sassa joined NBC in September 1997 as president of the NBC Television Stations division. In this position, he was responsible for overseeing the operation of NBC’s 13 owned-and-operated television stations. From May 1999, Sassa served as President NBC West Coast responsible for overseeing all of NBC’s entertainment-related businesses and reported to Bob Wright, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NBC. Sassa made the transition to that position after working with his predecessor, Don Ohlmeyer, and serving as president of NBC Entertainment since October 1998. 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 was the number one network 3 out of 4 seasons.
- Garth Ancier (1999-2000) - Beginning in 1999, Ancier served as President of NBC Entertainment, where he put The West Wing on the air.
- Jeff Zucker (2000-2004) - In 2000, he was named NBC Entertainment's president. A 2004 Businessweek Profile stated that "During that time he oversaw NBC's entire entertainment schedule. He 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. The Zucker era produced a spike in operating earnings for NBC, from $532 million the year he took over to $870 million in 2003." Zucker put his mark on the network with Las Vegas, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Scrubs. He originated the idea of airing "Supersized" (longer than the standard 30 minute slot) episodes of NBC's comedies and aggressively programming in the summer months as cable networks began to draw away viewers with original programming from the network's rerun-filled summer slate. Also on Zucker's watch, Bravo changed its programming direction towards reality television, seeing much growth with that strategy, while the newly acquired Spanish network Telemundo was positioned to be more competitive with leading network Univision." Following the merger with French media empire Vivendi Universal, he was promoted to president of its Television Group in May 2004. Zucker's responsibilities, which already included NBC's cable channels, were expanded to include TV production as well as the USA Network, Sci-Fi, and Trio cable channels. During Zucker's tenure, NBC slid from first place to fourth place in the ratings. Shows that Zucker championed such as Father of the Pride and the Friends spinoff Joey were considered failures.
- Kevin Reilly (2004-2007) - Reilly served as President, Entertainment from May 2004 to May 2007. Having begun his career at NBC Entertainment almost two decades earlier, he returned there in fall 2003 as President of Primetime Development. Early in his career at NBC, Reilly supervised Law & Order in its first season and developed ER. After his first stint at NBC, Reilly was President of Brad Grey Television, the television production arm of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment. He joined Brillstein-Grey in 1994. He was responsible for shepherding some of television’s top shows, such as the pilot for The Sopranos, and the NBC comedies Just Shoot Me! and NewsRadio. Reilly's vocal support of The Office helped it survive its low-rated first season. He is credited with developing shows such as My Name Is Earl, Heroes, 30 Rock, and Friday Night Lights. Despite having received a new three-year contract at NBC in February 2007, Reilly's partnership with NBC was terminated in late May 2007, and Reilly departed soon after. Approximately one month later, Reilly was hired as President of Entertainment at Fox.
- Ben Silverman (2007-2009) - Silverman was named co-chairman of NBC Entertainment in 2007 (along with Marc Graboff), succeeding Kevin Reilly. That same year, Silverman was the first producer since Norman Lear, 34 years earlier, to have two shows nominated for an Emmy in the best comedy category (The Office and Ugly Betty). He is credited for his role in saving the critically acclaimed but low-rated NBC drama Friday Night Lights by striking an innovative deal with DirecTV. The satellite television provider agreed to take on a substantial amount of the show's production budget in exchange for exclusive first window airing rights on its 101 channel. NBC would then repurpose the episodes to be aired on the network later in the season.
- Jeff Gaspin (2009-2010) - After finding no jobs on Wall Street in Finance, Gaspin looked at an associates program at NBC. After spending five years in the NBC finance department, he shifted to news programming at the urging of Michael Gartner, who was at the time the President of NBC News. After time, he then shifted to entertainment programming. During this tenure, Gaspin helped to develop and launch the critically acclaimed Dateline NBC as well as expanding The Today Show to its current seven day schedule. In 1996, Gaspin left NBC to go to head program development at VH1. Returning to NBC in 2001, Gaspin was named Executive Vice President of Program Strategy at NBC Entertainment where he helped to develop new programs such as The Apprentice and Biggest Loser. In 2002, NBC acquired the Bravo Network and Gaspin was named its new President. Some of his most noteworthy accomplishments were the massive hits Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Project Runway. He was named President of NBC Universal Cable and Digital Content in 2007. In July 2009, Gaspin was promoted to Chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment. Some of the businesses he is responsible for are NBC Entertainment (home to hits such as The Office, 30 Rock, and The Tonight Show), cable channels USA Network and Bravo, and NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution which distributes such shows as The Martha Stewart Show and The Jerry Springer Show.
- Robert Greenblatt (2011–present) - He succeeded Jeff Gaspin in January 2011 after Comcast took control of the newly rechristened NBCUniversal.
- List of NBC personalities
- List of NBC television affiliates (by U.S. state)
- List of NBC television affiliates (table), arranged by market
- List of programs broadcast by NBC
- List of programs previously broadcast by NBC
- Must See TV
- NBC chimes
- NBC Daytime
- NBC Kids
- NBC News
- NBC pages
- NBC Sports
- Olympics on NBC
- NBC Studios
- NBCUniversal (the parent company of NBC)
- Telemundo Puerto Rico
- The Weather Channel
- Universal Studios
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- Carter, Bill (November 21, 2010). "Comcast’s Plans for Executives Offer Clues to Future of NBC". New York Times.
- Hilmes, Michele (2007). NBC: America's Network. University of California Press.
- Robinson, Marc (2002). Brought to You in Living Color: 75 Years of Great Moments in Television and Radio from NBC. Wiley.
- Official website
- NBC's channel on YouTube
- Museum of Broadcast Communications – NBC History
- NBC Logo Creation History
- Watch NBC Live Online Stream
In 1984, the huge success of The Cosby Show led to a renewed interest in sitcoms, while Family Ties and Cheers, both of which premiered in 1982 to mediocre ratings, saw their viewership increase from having Cosby as a lead-in. The network moved from third place to second place that season. It reached first place in the Nielsen rankings in the 1985–86 season, with hits The Golden Girls, Miami Vice, 227, Night Court, Highway to Heaven, and Hunter. The network's upswing continued through the decade with ALF, Amen, Matlock, L.A. Law, The Hogan Family, A Different World, Empty Nest, and In the Heat of the Night. In 1986, Bob Wright became chairman of NBC. In the 1988–1989 season, NBC, which was home to an astonishing 18 of the 30 highest-rated programs, won every week in the ratings for more than 12 months, an achievement that has not been duplicated before or since.
In February 1982, NBC canceled Tom Snyder's The Tomorrow Show and gave the time slot to 34-year-old comedian David Letterman. Though Letterman had an unsuccessful weekday morning series which debuted on June 23, 1980, Late Night with David Letterman proved much more successful.
In the summer of 1981, Fred Silverman resigned. Grant Tinker became president of the network and Brandon Tartikoff became chief of programming. Tartikoff inherited a schedule full of aging dramas and very few sitcoms, but showed patience with promising programs. One such show was the critically acclaimed Hill Street Blues, which rated poorly in its first season. Instead of canceling it, he moved the Emmy Award-winning police drama to Thursday night where its ratings improved dramatically. He used the same tactics with St. Elsewhere and Cheers. Shows like these were able to get the same ad revenue as their higher-rated, mass-audience competition because of their desirable demographics, upscale, 18–34 year-old viewers. While the network claimed moderate successes with Gimme a Break!, Silver Spoons, Knight Rider and Remington Steele, its biggest hit in this period was The A-Team, which, at tenth place, was the network's only top-20 rated show of the 1982–1983 season, and it reached third place the next year. These shows helped NBC through the disastrous 1983–84 season, in which none of its nine new fall shows gained a second year.
The press was merciless towards Silverman, but the two most savage attacks on his leadership came from within. The company that composed NBC's on-air "Proud as a Peacock" promo music created a spoof of the ad campaign called "Loud as a Peacock". Radio host Don Imus at WNBC in New York played the parody on-air. This angered Silverman and he ordered all remaining copies of the parody destroyed, though some copies remain. On Saturday Night Live, series writer and occasional performer Al Franken satirized Silverman in an SNL sketch titled "Limo for a Lame-O". As a result, Silverman admitted he "never liked Al Franken to begin with," and the sketch ruined Franken's chance of succeeding Lorne Michaels as executive producer of SNL.
When U.S. President Jimmy Carter pulled the American team out of the 1980 Summer Olympics, NBC canceled a planned 150 hours of coverage (which had cost $87 million), and the network's future was in doubt. It had been counting on $170 million in advertising revenues and on the broadcasts to help promote fall shows.
Also during this time, NBC suffered the defections of several longtime affiliates in markets such as: Atlanta (WSB-TV), Baltimore (WBAL-TV), Baton Rouge (WBRZ-TV), Charlotte (WSOC-TV), Dayton (WDTN), Indianapolis (WRTV), Jacksonville (WTLV), Minneapolis-St. Paul (KSTP-TV), San Diego (KGTV), Schenectady (WRGB), and Wheeling (WTRF-TV). Most were wooed away by ABC, which had lifted out of last place to become the number-one network during the late 1970s and early 1980s, while WBAL-TV, WRGB, and WTRF-TV went to CBS. In the case of WSB-TV and WSOC-TV, who have both since become affiliated with ABC, were (and remain) under common ownership with Cox Enterprises, with its other NBC affiliate at the time, WIIC-TV in Pittsburgh (which would become WPXI in 1981 and also remains owned by Cox), only remaining with the network because WIIC-TV itself was in a distant third to then-CBS affiliate and Group W powerhouse KDKA-TV and pre-existing ABC affiliate WTAE-TV (KDKA-TV, which is now owned by CBS, infamously passed up affiliating with NBC after Westinghouse Electric bought the station from DuMont in 1954, leading to an acrimonious relationship between NBC and Westinghouse for years afterward). In markets such as San Diego, Charlotte, and Jacksonville, NBC was forced to replace the lost stations with new affiliates broadcasting on the UHF band, with the San Diego station (KNSD) eventually becoming an NBC O&O. In the case of NBC's presence in Wheeling, it ultimately upgraded its affiliation long-term with WTOV-TV from nearby Steubenville, Ohio overtaking former affiliate WTRF-TV in the local ratings by a large margin. Other smaller television markets like Yuma, Arizona waited many years to get another local NBC affiliate (see TV stations KIVA and KYMA). The stations in Baltimore, Dayton and Jacksonville, however, have since rejoined the network.
In 1978, Schlosser was promoted to executive vice presidency at RCA, and a desperate NBC lured Fred Silverman away from number-one ABC to turn the network's fortunes around. With the notable exceptions of Diff'rent Strokes, Real People, The Facts of Life, and the mini-series Shogun, he could not find a hit. Failures accumulated rapidly under his watch (such as Hello, Larry, Supertrain, Pink Lady and Jeff and The Waverly Wonders). Ironically many of them were beaten in the ratings by shows that Silverman had greenlit at CBS and ABC.
The 1970s started strongly for the network thanks to hits like Adam-12, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Ironside, The Dean Martin Show, and The Flip Wilson Show, but this did not last. In spite of the success of such new shows as the NBC Mystery Movie, Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man, Little House on the Prairie, The Midnight Special, The Rockford Files, Police Woman and Emergency!, as well as continued success from veterans like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Wonderful World of Disney, the network entered a slump in the middle of the decade. Disney, in particular, saw its ratings nosedive once CBS put 60 Minutes up against it in the 1975–1976 season. In 1974, under new president Herb Schlosser, the network tried to go after younger viewers with a series of costly movies, miniseries and specials. This failed to attract the desirable 18–34 demographic, and alienated older viewers. None of the new prime-time shows that NBC introduced in the fall of 1975 earned a second season, all failing in the face of established competition. The network's lone breakout success that season was the groundbreaking late-night comedy/variety show, NBC's Saturday Night – which would soon become Saturday Night Live, in a time slot previously held by reruns of The Tonight Show.
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 existing programming had not only been on for years, but had a superannuated audience. The large youth population was highly attractive to advertisers and the networks moved to clean house of a number of long-in-the-tooth shows. In NBC's case, this included programming like The Bell Telephone Hour and Sing Along With Mitch which were found to have an average viewer age of 50. During this period, the networks came to define 18–49 as their main target age, although depending on the show, this could be subdivided into 35–45 or 18–25 or 18–35. Regardless of the exact target demographic, the general idea was appealing to any viewers who were not close to retirement age and that television programming was overall stuck in a 1950s mentality and had to be updated to resemble contemporary American society more.
- The film was shown for the first time without a host to introduce it as had always been previously done;
- The film was slightly cut to make room for more commercials. Despite the cuts, however, it continued to score excellent television ratings in those pre-VCR days, as audiences were generally unable to see the film any other way at that time.
Two distinctive features of the film's showings on NBC were:
In 1967, NBC acquired MGM's classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz after CBS, which had televised the film beginning in 1956, refused to meet MGM's increased price for more television showings. Oz had been, up to then, one of the few programs that CBS had telecast in color, but by 1967, color was the norm on television, and the film became another in the list of color specials telecast by NBC. The network showed the film annually for eight years, beginning in 1968, after which CBS, realizing that they may have committed a colossal blunder by letting this then-huge ratings success go to another network, now agreed to pay MGM more money so that the rights to show the film could revert to them.
NBC contracted with Universal Studios in 1964 to produce the first TV film, See How They Run, broadcast on October 17, 1964. With its second TV movie, The Hanged Man, following six weeks later. Even while the TV movies did well in the rating, NBC did not broadcast another TV film until two years later.
By 1963, much of NBC's prime time schedule was in color, although some popular programs like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which premiered in late 1964, had their entire first season in black-and-white. In the fall of 1965, NBC achieved 95% color programming in prime time (the exceptions were 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 100% prime-time color programming in the 1966–67 season. Days of our Lives was the first soap opera to premiere in color.
- In 1955, on the television anthology Producers' Showcase, NBC broadcast a live production in color of Peter Pan, a new Broadway musical adaptation of J. M. Barrie's beloved play, with the musical's entire original cast, the first such telecast of its kind. Mary Martin starred as Peter and Cyril Ritchard played the dual role of Mr. Darling and Captain Hook. The broadcast drew the highest ratings for a television program up to then. It was so successful that NBC restaged it live a mere ten months later, and in 1960, long after Producers' Showcase had ended its run, Peter Pan, with most of the 1955 cast, was restaged again, this time as a television special on its own, and videotaped so that it would no longer have to be done live on television.
- In 1956 during a National Association meeting in Chicago, NBC announced that its Chicago station WNBQ (now WMAQ-TV) was the first color television station in the nation (airing at least six hours of color broadcasts a day).
- The television edition of the radio program The Bell Telephone Hour premiered in color on NBC in 1959, where it continued for nine more years.
- In September 1961, the Walt Disney anthology television series moved from ABC to NBC, where the show continued its very long run, this time in color. As many of the Disney programs shown in black-and-white on ABC had actually been filmed in color, they could easily be repeated on the NBC edition of the program.
- The 1962 Rose Bowl was the first color television broadcast of a college football game.
While rivals CBS and DuMont also offered color broadcasting plans, RCA convinced the FCC to approve its color system in December 1953. NBC was ready with color programming within days of the FCC's decision. NBC began with some shows in 1954, and that summer broadcast its first program to air all episodes in color, The Marriage.
In 1951, 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 quarrel between Menotti and NBC ended the broadcasts. However, by 1978, Menotti and NBC had patched things up, and an all-new production of the work, filmed partly on location in the Middle East, was telecast that year.
The post-war 1940s and early 1950s brought success for NBC in the new medium. Television's first big 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 fifty 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.
The NBC television network grew from its initial post-war lineup of four stations. The 1947 World Series featured two New York teams (Yankees and Dodgers), and TV sales boomed locally, since the games were telecast in New York. More 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.
On V-E Day, May 8, 1945, WNBT broadcast hours of news coverage, and remotes from around New York City. This event was pre-promoted 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.
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 service upon the war's end. Even before the war ended, a few programs were sent from New York to affiliated stations in Philadelphia (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 sent from New York to Philadelphia and Schenectady on a regular, weekly basis beginning April 10, 1944. This series is considered to be the NBC Television Network's first regularly scheduled program.
Although full commercial telecasting began on July 1, 1941 with the first paid advertisements on WNBT, it is to be noted that there had been experimental, non-paid advertising on television as far back as 1930. NBC's earliest non-paid, television commercials may have been those seen during the first Major League Baseball game ever telecast, a game between Brooklyn and Cincinnati, on August 26, 1939 over W2XBS. In order to secure the rights to show the game on television, NBC allowed each of the Dodgers' regular radio sponsors at the time to have one commercial during the telecast, and these were done by Dodger 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.
Television's experimental period ended, and the FCC allowed full commercial telecasting to begin on July 1, 1941. NBC's New York station W2XBS received the first commercial license, adopting the call letters WNBT (later WNBC-TV, now simply WNBC). The first official, paid television advertisement on that day broadcast by any station in the United States was for Bulova Watches, seen just before the start of a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball telecast on WNBT. A test pattern, featuring the newly assigned WNBT call letters, was modified to look like a clock, complete with functioning hands. The Bulova logo, with the phrase "Bulova Watch Time", was shown in the lower right-hand quadrant of the test pattern. A photograph of the NBC camera telecasting the test pattern-advertisement for that first official TV ad can be seen at this page. Among the programming on the opening week of WNBT's new, commercial schedule was The Sunoco News with Lowell Thomas, a simulcast of his NBC Radio broadcast, sponsored by Sun Oil; amateur boxing at Jamaica Arena, the Eastern Clay Courts tennis championships, programming from the USO, a spelling bee-type game show called "Words on the Wing", a few feature films, and a one-time-only, test broadcast of the game show Truth or Consequences, sponsored by Lever Brothers.
Reportedly, the first NBC Television "network" program was broadcast on January 12, 1940 when a play entitled "Meet The Wife" was originated at the W2XBS studios at Rockefeller Center and rebroadcast by W2XB/W2XAF (now WRGB) in Schenectady via an off-air relay. About this time, occasional special events were also seen in Philadelphia (over W3XE, later called WPTZ, now known as KYW) as well as Schenectady. The most ambitious NBC television "network" program of this pre-war era was the telecasting of the Republican National Convention in the summer of 1940 from Philadelphia, which was fed live to New York and Schenectady. However, despite major promotion by RCA, television set sales in New York in the 1939–1940 period were disappointing, primarily due to the high cost of the sets, and the lack of compelling regular programming. Most sets were sold to bars, hotels and other public places, where the general public viewed special sporting and news events.
The next day, May 1, four models of RCA television sets went on sale to the general public in various New York City department stores, promoted in a series of splashy newspaper ads. It is to be noted that DuMont (and others) actually offered the first home sets in 1938 in anticipation of NBC's announced April 1939 start-up. Later in 1939, NBC took its cameras to professional football and baseball games in the New York City area, establishing many "firsts" in the history of television.
For many years, NBC was closely identified with David Sarnoff, who used it as a vehicle to sell consumer electronics. RCA and Sarnoff had captured the spotlight by introducing all-electronic television to the public at the 1939–40 New York World's Fair, simultaneously initiating a regular schedule of programs on the NBC-RCA television station in New York City. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared at the fair, before the NBC cameras, becoming the first U.S. president to appear on television on April 30, 1939. The David Sarnoff Library has available an actual, off-the-monitor photograph of the FDR telecast. The broadcast was transmitted by NBC's New York television station W2XBS Channel 1 (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 Empire State Building transmitter location.
NBC News Radio offers two hourly full-length newscasts 24 hours a day. Previously, it had only offered 60 second updates during weekdays. On September 4, 2012, Dial Global launched NBC Sports Radio, a sports-talk radio service.
On March 1, 2012, Dial Global announced that CNN Radio would be discontinued and replaced by an expansion of NBC News Radio on April 1, 2012. This marked the first time since Westwood One bought NBC Radio and its properties that NBC would have round the clock presence on radio. A previous NBC program, First Light, placed new emphasis on the NBC brand after diminishing it over the years.
By the late 1990s, Westwood One was producing NBC Radio-branded newscasts, on weekday mornings only. In 1999, these were discontinued, and the few remaining NBC Radio Network affiliates began to receive CNN Radio-branded newscasts around the clock. But in 2003, Westwood One began distributing a new service called NBC News Radio, consisting of one-minute news updates read by television anchors and reporters from NBC News and MSNBC. The content, however, is written by employees of Westwood One – not NBC News.
It should be noted that GE's divestiture of NBC's entire radio division was the first cannon shot of what would play out in the national broadcast media, as each of the Big Three broadcast networks were soon acquired by other corporate entities. The NBC case was particularly noteworthy in that it was the first to be bought – and was bought by a corporate behemoth outside the broadcast industry as GE is a manufacturer. Prior to the acquisition by GE, 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, that broadcast spectrum is limited, there are only so many broadcast stations to go around which was/is the basis for broadcast regulation requiring certain content for the public good). Syndicators such as Westwood One were not subject to such rules as they owned no stations. Thus did GE's divestiture of NBC Radio – "America's First Network" – in many ways mark the "beginning of the end" of the old broadcasting era and the ushering in of the new, largely unregulated industry that is present today.
GE acquired RCA in 1986, and with it NBC, signaling the beginning of the end of NBC Radio. There were three factors that led to its demise. First, GE decided that radio did not fit its strategy. Second, the radio division had not been profitable for many years. Finally, FCC rules at the time prevented a new owner 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 different buyers. By 1990, the NBC Radio Network as an independent programming service was pretty much gone, 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 with NBC Radio.
The NBC Radio Network also pioneered personal advice call-in national talk radio with a satellite-distributed talk show in the evening entitled TalkNet, featuring Bruce Williams (personal financial advice), Bernard Meltzer (personal/financial advice) and Sally Jessy Raphael (personal/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 the evenings 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 ever-more control of radio content by networks and syndicators.
Beginning 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 format. NBC aired 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 the subscribers six months' notice that it would be discontinued. NIS operations ended on May 29, 1977. In 1979, NBC started The Source, a modestly successful secondary network providing news and short features to FM rock stations.
on Sunday mornings. The Eternal Light went off the air on January 26, 1975, little remained of NBC network radio beyond hourly newscasts and news features, and Monitor After  NBC's last major radio programming push, beginning June 12, 1955, was
Aiming to keep classic radio alive as television matured, and to challenge CBS's Sunday night radio lineup, much of which had jumped from NBC with Jack Benny, 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 Melchior, Ethel Barrymore, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Merman, Bob Hope, Danny Thomas, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Ella Fitzgerald. But 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 endured two years, with NBC losing perhaps a million dollars on the project (they were only able to sell advertising time during the middle half-hour every week).
In addition, NBC stars began moving toward television, including comedian Milton Berle, whose Texaco Star Theater on NBC became television's first major hit. Conductor Arturo Toscanini conducted ten television concerts on NBC between 1948 and 1952. The concerts were simulcast on both TV and radio, perhaps the first such instance in which this was done. Two of them were historic firsts – the first complete telecast of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, and the first complete telecast of Verdi's Aida, performed in concert rather than with scenery and costumes. The Aida telecast starred Herva Nelli and Richard Tucker.
In the late 1940s, rival Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) gained ground by allowing radio stars to use their own production companies, which was profitable for them. In early radio years, stars and programs commonly hopped between networks when their short-term contracts expired. In 1948–49, 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 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's NBC Symphony Orchestra, which the network helped him create. Other programs were Vic and Sade, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Great Gildersleeve (arguably broadcasting's first spin-off program, from Fibber McGee), One Man's Family, Ma Perkins, and Death Valley Days. NBC stations were often the most powerful, and some occupied unique clear-channel national frequencies, reaching many hundreds or thousands of miles at night.
Defining radio's golden age