American Broadcasting Company

American Broadcasting Company (ABC)
Type Television Network
Radio Network
Branding “America’s Broadcasting Company”
Country United States
Availability National


by Walt Disney

Slogan Start Here
Headquarters New York City
Owner The Walt Disney Company
Parent Disney-ABC Television Group
Key people Edward Noble
Robert Iger
Anne Sweeney
David Westin
Paul Lee
George Bodenheimer
Bret Iwan
Launch date October 12, 1943 (Radio)
April 19, 1948 (Television)
Former names NBC Blue Network
Picture format SDTV)
Callsigns ABC
Callsign meaning American
Affiliates Lists:
Official website

The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group, formerly ABC-TV. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948. It is the largest broadcaster in the world by revenues. As one of the Big Three television networks, its programming has contributed to American popular culture.

Corporate headquarters is in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City,[1] and the company’s news operations are also centered in Manhattan. Entertainment programming offices are in Burbank, California adjacent to the Walt Disney Studios and the corporate headquarters of The Walt Disney Company.

The formal name of the operation is American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., and that name appears on copyright notices for its in-house network productions and on all official documents of the company, including paychecks and contracts. A separate entity named ABC Inc., formerly Capital Cities/ABC Inc., is that firm’s direct parent company, and that company is owned in turn by Disney. The network is sometimes referred to as the “Alphabet Network”, due to the letters “ABC” being the first three letters of the Roman-Latin alphabet, in order.


[edit] History

[edit] Creating ABC

From the organization of the first true radio networks in the late 1920s, broadcasting in the United States was dominated by two companies, Blue” networks. Legend has it that the color designations originated from the color of the push-pins early engineers used to designate affiliates of WEAF (red pins) and WJZ (blue pins).

After a three-year investigation, the FCC in May 1940 issued a “Report on Chain Broadcasting.” Finding that NBC Red, NBC Blue, CBS, and MBS dominated American broadcasting, this report proposed “divorcement”, requiring the sale by RCA of one of its chains. NBC Red was the larger radio network, carrying the leading entertainment and music programs. In addition, many Red affiliates were high-powered, clear-channel stations, heard nationwide. NBC Blue offered most of the company’s news and cultural programs, many of them “sustaining” or unsponsored. Among other findings, the FCC claimed RCA used NBC Blue to suppress competition against NBC Red. The FCC did not regulate or license networks directly, but it could influence them by its licensing of individual stations. Consequently, the FCC issued a ruling that “no license shall be issued to a standard broadcast station affiliated with a network which maintains more than one network.” NBC argued this indirect style of regulation was illegal and appealed to the courts. However, the FCC won on appeal, and on January 8, 1942 NBC decided to separate its Red and Blue networks with the intention of divesting itself of the latter.[2]

The task of selling of NBC Blue was given to Mark Woods; throughout 1942 and 1943, NBC Red and NBC Blue divided their assets. A price of $8 million was put on the Blue group, and Woods shopped Blue around to potential buyers. One such, investment bank WLS, with which it would later merge under full ABC ownership in 1954).

RCA finally found a buyer in Edward Noble, owner of Life Savers candy and the Rexall drugstore chain. In order to complete the station-license transfer, Noble had to sell his New York radio station, WMCA. Controversy ensued at FCC hearings over Noble’s intention to keep Mark Woods on as president, which led to the suggestion that Woods would continue to work with (and for) his former employers. This had the potential to derail the sale. During the hearings, Woods said the new network would not sell airtime to the American Federation of Labor. Noble evaded questioning on similar points by hiding behind the NAB code. Frustrated, the chairman advised Noble to do some rethinking. Apparently he did, and the sale closed on October 12, 1943. The new network, known as “The Blue Network”, was owned by the American Broadcasting System, a company Noble formed for the deal.[3] It sold airtime to organized labor.

In September, 1944, Noble acquired the rights to the names “American Broadcasting Company” (from the licensee of WOL), “American Broadcasting Corporation” (from the licensee of WLAP), and “American Network” (from a defunct group of FM broadcasters), clearing the way to rename American Broadcasting System to American Broadcasting Company, with the Blue becoming “ABC”.[4] This set off a flurry of renaming; to avoid confusion, CBS changed the call-letters of its New York flagship, WABC 880, to WCBS in 1946. In 1953, WJZ in New York and its sister television station took on the abandoned call-letters WABC and WABC-TV. (Westinghouse later reclaimed the WJZ callsign when it acquired a Baltimore television station in 1959; WJZ-TV in Baltimore, and its sister radio station, are now owned by CBS.)

Bing Crosby. Though still rated fourth, by the late 1940s ABC had begun to close in on the better-established networks.

[edit] 1948: Leonard Goldenson and ABC’s entry into television

Faced with the expenses of building a radio network, ABC was in no position to take on the additional costs demanded by television. Yet to secure a place at the table, in 1947 ABC submitted requests for licenses in the five cities where it owned radio stations (which together represented 25 percent of the entire nationwide viewing audience at the time). All five requests were for each station to broadcast on channel 7; Frank Marx, ABC’s vice president in charge of engineering, thought at the time that the low-band (channels 2 through 6) TV channels would be reallocated for military use, thus making these five stations broadcasting on VHF channel 7 the lowest on the TV dial and therefore the best channel positions.[5] (Such a move never occurred, although fortuitously, 60 years later the Channel 7 frequency would prove technically favorable for digital television transmission, a technology unanticipated at the dawn of TV broadcasting.)

The ABC television network went on the air on April 19, 1948. The network picked up its first primary affiliates, WFIL-TV in DuMont Television Network, by the fall of 1949.

For the next few years, ABC was a television network mostly in name. Except for the largest markets, most cities had only one or two stations. The FCC froze applications for new stations in 1948 while it sorted out the thousands of applicants and re-thought the technical and allocation standards set down between 1938 and 1946. What was meant to be a six-month freeze lasted until the middle of 1952. Until that time there were only 108 stations in the United States. Some large cities where TV development was slow, like Pittsburgh and St. Louis, had only one station on the air for a prolonged period, many more of the largest cities such as Boston only had two, and many sizable cities including Denver and Portland, Oregon had no television service at all until the second half of 1952 after the freeze ended. For a late-comer like ABC, this meant being relegated to secondary status in many markets and no reach at all in some. ABC commanded little affiliate loyalty, though unlike fellow startup network DuMont, it at least had a radio network on which to draw loyalty and revenue. It also had a full complement of five O&Os, which included stations in the critical Chicago (WENR-TV, now WLS-TV) and Los Angeles (KECA-TV, now KABC-TV) markets. Even then, by 1951 ABC found itself badly overextended and on the verge of bankruptcy. It had only nine full-time affiliates to augment its five O&Os—WJZ, WENR, KECA, WXYZ-TV in Detroit and KGO-TV in San Francisco.

Noble finally found a white knight in United Paramount Theaters. Divorced from Paramount Pictures at the end of 1949 by the U.S. Supreme Court decision United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., UPT was cash-rich and controlled much valuable real estate. UPT head Leonard Goldenson set out to find investment opportunities. Barred from the film business, Goldenson saw broadcasting as a possibility, and approached Noble in 1951 about buying ABC. Noble was being approached by other suitors, including Bill Paley‘s CBS, so he was not in a hurry to accommodate Goldenson. After some tough negotiations, a merger with UPT was eventually agreed to in principle and announced in the late spring of 1951.[6] Since the transfer of station licenses was again involved, the FCC set hearings, which proved to be contentious.

The FCC focused on the Paramount Pictures-UPT divorce; were they truly separate? What role did Paramount’s long-time investment in DuMont Laboratories, parent of the television network, play? After a year of deliberation the FCC finally approved the purchase by UPT in a 5–2 split decision on February 9, 1953. Speaking in favor of the deal, one commissioner pointed out that UPT had the cash to turn ABC into a viable, competitive third network. The corporate name became American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres, Inc. Edward Noble remained on the new ABC’s board of directors until his death in 1958; he and Goldenson would disagree at times over the direction ABC would now take. Robert Kintner, the network president originally hired by Noble, was forced out by 1956 despite Noble’s vigorous objections, as Goldenson and the executives he brought on board eventually took solid command.

Shortly after the ABC–UPT merger, Goldenson approached DuMont with a merger offer. DuMont was in financial trouble for a number of reasons, not the least of which was an FCC ruling that barred it from acquiring two additional O&Os because of two stations owned by Paramount. However, DuMont’s pioneering status in television and programming creativity gave it a leg up on ABC, and for a time appeared that DuMont was about to establish itself as the third television network. This all changed with the ABC-UPT merger, which effectively placed DuMont on life support. Goldenson and DuMont’s managing director, Ted Bergmann, quickly agreed to a deal. Under the proposed merger, the merged network would have been called “ABC-DuMont” for at least five years. DuMont would get $5 million in cash and guaranteed advertising time for DuMont television receivers. In return, ABC agreed to honor all of DuMont’s network commitments. The merged network would have been a colossus rivaling CBS and NBC, with O&Os in five of the six largest markets (all except Philadelphia, which would later become an O & O). It would have had to sell either WJZ-TV or DuMont flagship WABD-TV (now O&O) being part of the merger. However, Paramount vetoed the sale. A few months earlier, the FCC ruled that Paramount controlled DuMont, and there were still lingering questions about whether the two companies were truly separate. By 1956, the DuMont network had shut down.

After its acquisition by UPT, ABC at last had the means to offer a full-time television network service on the scale of CBS and NBC. By mid-1953, Goldenson had begun a two-front campaign, calling on his old pals at the Hollywood studios (he had been head of the mighty Paramount theater chain since 1938) to convince them to move into television programming (within a few years shifting television programming from predominantly live shows from New York to films made for television in Hollywood). And he began wooing station owners to convince them that a refurbished ABC was about to burst forth. He also convinced long-time NBC and CBS affiliates in several markets to move to ABC. His two-part campaign paid off when the “new” ABC hit the air on October 27, 1954. Among the shows that brought in record audiences was Disneyland, produced by and starring Walt Disney…the beginning of a relationship between the studio and the network which would eventually, four decades later, transform them both. MGM, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century-Fox were also present that first season. Within two years, Warner Bros. was producing ten hours of programming for ABC each week, mostly interchangeable detective and western series, including Cheyenne, Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside 6, Bronco, Hawaiian Eye, and Colt .45. The middle 1950s saw ABC finally have shows in the top 10 including Disneyland. Other early hit series on ABC during this period which helped establish the network included The Lone Ranger (ABC’s only Top 10 show before Disneyland), The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet, (starring the real-life Nelson family), Leave It To Beaver (which moved over from CBS), The Detectives and The Untouchables. In 1955, the network picked up the national broadcast rights to KTLA‘s Dodge Dancing Party, which eventually evolved into The Lawrence Welk Show, becoming an ABC fixture throughout the late 1950s and 1960s. However, it still had a long way to go. It was relegated to secondary status in many markets until the late 1960s and, in a few cases, into the 1980s.

In 1955, ABC established a recording division, the AmPar Record Corporation,[7] which founded and operated the popular label ABC-Paramount Records (which became ABC Records in 1965) and the noted jazz label Impulse Records, created in 1961. ABC-Paramount subsequently purchased more labels from the Famous Music division of Gulf+WesternDot, Steed, Acta, Blue Thumb, and Paramount, along with legendary Country and R&B label Duke/Peacock in 1974. The entire group was sold to MCA Records in 1979; as a result of subsequent takeovers, the remnants of the ABC music group are now owned by Universal Music Group. After the merger with Disney, ABC became sister company to a record label group once again, the Buena Vista Music Group (which includes such labels as Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records).

[edit] 1961–1965: Growth and restructuring

While ABC-TV continued to languish in third place nationally, it often topped local ratings in the larger markets. With the arrival of Hollywood’s slickly produced series, ABC began to catch on with younger, urban viewers that advertisers wanted to reach. At the same time, a series of regulatory moves by the FCC opened up the more desirable VHF band for additional full power stations in sizable Eastern and Midwestern markets between 1958 and 1963, allowing ABC to acquire full-time affiliation agreements with additional full-coverage stations in key parts of the country. This would permit the network to build for further nationwide audience growth in the coming decade. As the network gained in the ratings, it became an attractive property, and over the next few years ABC approached, or was approached, by Department of Justice questions about ITT’s foreign ownership influencing ABC’s autonomy and journalistic integrity. ITT’s management promised that ABC’s autonomy would be preserved. While it was able to convince the FCC, antitrust regulators at the Justice Department refused to sign off on the deal. After numerous delays, the deal was called off on January 1, 1968. ABC would remain an independent company for almost another two decades.

By 1960, the ABC Radio Network found its audience continuing to gravitate to television. The ABC owned radio stations were not enjoying very large audiences either, with the exception of Detroit’s Nancy Terrell as “Miss Nancy.”

On September 23, 1962, ABC began televising the animated television series The Flintstones, had been filmed in color since its debut in 1960 and was soon shown in color on the network. In the 1965–66 season, ABC joined NBC and CBS in televising most of its shows in color.

In 1967, WLS General Manager, Ralph Beaudin, was promoted to head up ABC Radio. Beaudin made the bold move on January 1, 1968, when he split the ABC Radio Network into four new “networks”, each one with format-specific news and features for pop-music-, news-, or talk-oriented stations. The “American” Contemporary, Entertainment, Information and FM networks were later joined by two others — Direction and Rock. During 1968, KXYZ and KXYZ-FM in Houston were acquired by ABC, giving the network the maximum seven owned and operated AM and FM stations allowed at the time.

In 1969, Neal and Beaudin hired former WCFL Chicago programmer, Allen Shaw, to program the seven ABC Owned FM Radio stations. Shaw pioneered the first album oriented rock format on all seven stations and changed their call letters to KLOS Los Angeles. By the mid-1970s, the ABC owned AM and FM stations, and the ABC Radio Network were the most successful radio operations in America in terms of audience and profits. Leonard Goldenson often credited ABC Radio for helping fund the development of ABC Television in those early years.

During this period of the 1960s, ABC founded an in-house production unit, ABC Films, to create new material especially for the network. Shortly after the death of producer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had acquired outright in the 1940s).

[edit] 1965–1969: Success

Monday Night Football. By doing so, he helped to make sports broadcasting into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Despite its relatively small size, ABC found increasing success with television programming aimed at the emerging “Baby Boomer” culture. It broadcast Shindig!, two shows that featured new popular and youth-oriented records of the day.

The network ran science fiction fare, a genre that other networks considered too risky: The Fugitive.

In January 1966, an unheralded mid-season replacement show became a national pop culture phenomenon. Batman ended its run on March 1968.

In 1968, the parent company changed its name from American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres, Inc. to American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., formally dropping the Paramount name from the company and all subsidiaries which bore that name. The network would continue to have an association with Paramount Television in the 1970s, however—many of its television programs would come from Paramount, and most of the shows would bring ABC great success in the ratings.

In 1968, Howard Hughes attempted to purchase 2 million ABC shares. Failing to line up the full number of shares he wished to buy, he dropped the offer and instead purchased the Sports Network.[8]

[edit] 1969–1985: Rising to the top

Continuing the network’s upswing in the 1960s were highly rated primetime Edgar J. Scherick was Vice President of Network Programming and responsible for much of the lineup during this era.

ABC’s daytime lineup became strong throughout the 1970s and 1980s with the Family Feud.

By the early 1970s, ABC had formed its first theatrical division, ABC Pictures, later renamed ABC Motion Pictures. It made some moneymaking films like ABC Movie of the Week. This series of made-for-TV films aired once per week on Tuesday nights. Three years later, Wednesday nights were added as well. Palomar Pictures International, the production company created by Scherick after leaving ABC, produced several of the Movies of the Week.

The network itself, meanwhile, was showing signs of overtaking CBS and NBC. Broadcasting in color from the mid-1960s, ABC started using the new science of Academy Awards ceremony in 1976, which today is contractually planned to do so until 2014. By 1977, ABC had become the nation’s highest-rated network. Meanwhile CBS and NBC ranked behind for some time, and due to NBC ranking third place, ABC sought stronger affiliates by having former NBC affiliations swap networks for ABC.

ABC also offered big-budget, extended-length the 1978 television series of the same name, was seen by 64 million people and at the time was the most expensive TV movie ever made.

ABC-TV began the transition from Intelsat Galaxy 3C. ABC Radio began using the SEDAT satellite distribution system in the mid-1980s, switching to Starguide in the early 2000s.

In 1984, ABC acquired majority control of 24-hour cable sports channel ESPN.

[edit] 1985–1996: The Capital Cities era

ABC’s dominance carried into the early 1980s. But by 1985, veteran shows like KTRK-TV.

ABC was acquired by [9]

As the 1990s began, one could conclude the company was more conservative than at other times in its history. The miniseries faded off. Saturday morning cartoons were phased out. But the network did acquire Home Improvement also strengthened ABC’s ratings, as it was constantly rated in the top 10 of the Nielsen’s Ranking Chart until its finale in 1999.

[edit] 1996–2003: Disney purchase and network decline

In 1996, The Walt Disney Company acquired Capital Cities/ABC, and renamed the broadcasting group ABC, Inc., although the network continues to also use American Broadcasting Companies, such as on TV productions it owns.

ABC’s relationship with Disney dates back to 1953, when Leonard Goldenson pledged enough money so that the “Disneyland” theme park could be completed. ABC continued to hold Disney notes and stock until 1960, and also had first call on the “Disneyland” television series in 1954. With this new relationship came an attempt at cross-promotion, with attractions based on ABC shows at Disney parks and an annual soap festival at Walt Disney World. (The former president of ABC, Inc., Robert Iger, now heads Disney.) In 1997, ABC aired a Saturday morning block called One Saturday Morning which changed to ABC Kids in 2002. It featured a 5-hour line-up of children’s shows (mostly cartoons) for children ages 5–12. but it was changed to a 4-hour line-up in 2005. Since then, it was aimed for children more in the 10–16 range.

Despite intense micro-managing on the part of Disney management, the flagship television network was slow to turn around. In 1999, the network was able to experience a brief bolster in ratings with the hit game show George Lopez.

For the 2001–2002 television season, ABC began airing newer scripted programming in High Definition; in addition, the network also converted all of its existing situation comedies and drama programming to HD, making it the first such American television network to produce its entire slate of scripted programming in that format. CBS became the first television network to produce programming in High Definition a year earlier.

In 2002, ABC committed over $35 million to build an automated Network Release (NR) facility in New York to distribute programming to its affiliates. This facility, however, was designed to handle only standard definition broadcasts, not the modern HDTV, so it was obsolete before construction began. NR’s biggest error, to date, is the loss of several minutes of the Dancing with the Stars results show live telecast on March 27, 2007 to 104 affiliates. The previous biggest blunder was the airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas in December 2006 with several acts in the wrong order. In 2008 ABC committed $70 million to build a new HDTV facility. NR’s standard definition operations shut down in the week before the revised digital television transition mandated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on June 12. ABC only has 5 working control rooms for HDTV, and two of them are dual edit/control suites. A fifth break studio, HD-5, was put into service in August 2009.

Still one asset that ABC lacked in the early 2000s that most other networks had was popularity in reality television. ABC’s briefly lived reality shows I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! proved to be an embarrassment for the network. By end of the 2003–2004 television season, ABC slumped to fourth place, becoming the first of the original “Big Three” networks to fall to such a ranking.

[edit] 2004–2007: Resurgence

Determined not to lose its prominence on TV, ABC was able to find success in ratings beginning in 2004. Under new entertainment president Stephen McPherson, in the fall of that year ABC premiered two highly anticipated series based on a popular international telenovela), which were all popular among viewers and critically acclaimed.

ABC finally found reality television prosperity first with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in 2003 and then with Dancing with the Stars in 2005. In spite of these newfound successes ABC continues to flounder in creating new reality television series. Particularly during the summer months, ABC has repeatedly attempted to launch new unscripted shows such as Shaq’s Big Challenge, Fat March, and Brat Camp. One show of note in ABC’s attempt to expand its reality TV brand was the rebuttal of Fox’s enormously popular American Idol, The One: Making a Music Star, which attempted to combine a talent competition with a traditional reality show. The show came in response to 5 years of utter dominance by American Idol over even ABC’s most popular shows. However, The One received unanimously negative reviews, pulled some of the lowest ratings in TV history, and was canceled after only two weeks.

Through the early 2000s, the ABC Sports division and ESPN merged operations. ESPN, which had been broadcasting its own popular package of Sunday night games since 1987, took over the ESPN on ABC” banner, with ESPN graphics and announcers (including both the ESPN and ABC logos on-screen; ESPN in the presentation graphics with an ABC bug in the corner of the screen).

ABC aired the left, for its alleged inaccuracies.

Borrowing a proven Disney formula, there have been attempts to broaden the ABC brand name. In 2004, ABC launched a news channel called ABC News Now. Its aim is to provide round-the-clock news on over-the-air digital TV, cable TV, the Internet, and mobile phones.

With the Disney merger, Touchstone Television began to produce the bulk of ABC’s primetime series. This culminated in the studio’s name change to ABC Studios in 2007, as part of a Disney strategy to focus on the 3 “core brands”: ABC, Disney, and ESPN. Buena Vista Television, the studio’s syndication arm also changed their name, to Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Also in 2007, ABC unveiled a new, glossier logo and their new imaging campaign, revolving around the slogan ABC: Start Here, which signifies the network’s news content and entertainment programming being accessible through not only television, but also the Internet, portable media devices, podcasting, and mobile device-specific content from the network.[10] But despite all this, and a few more successes such as Brothers & Sisters, Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Private Practice, and summer game show smash Wipeout, the resurgence would not last, as ABC would fall from second to third place in 2007.

[edit] 2007–present: The writers’ strike and loss of steam

While the Samantha Who? among others) not living to see a third season after the 2008–2009 season.

Although to a lesser extent, the writers’ strike continued to affect the network in the 2008–2009 season, as more series such as Boston Legal and the U.S. version of Life on Mars suffered from low viewership, despite the former being a once-highlighted breakout show on the network.[11]

In early 2009, Disney-ABC Television Group merged ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios into a new division called ABC Entertainment Group, which would be responsible for both production and broadcasting.[12][13][14][15][16] Disney-ABC Television Group planned to reduce its workforce by 5% during this reorganization.[17]

The 2009–2010 season would be a season of contrasts for ABC. The network notably made Wednesday nights that fall consist entirely of new programming; out of the five shows premiered, three of them, Castle, a midseason replacement from the previous season and one of ABC’s only successful procedurals to date, was also renewed.

In March 2010, Disney considered spinning ABC off into an independent broadcasting company because, “it doesn’t add a lot of value to Disney’s other divisions.”[19]

In 2010, [23]

With the combination of relatively little buzz surrounding its 2010–2011 pilots, compounded by a sexual harassment suit against him, Stephen McPherson resigned as ABC Entertainment Group president on July 27, 2010. His replacement, Paul Lee, was announced the same day.[25]

With the cancellation of [27]

Since the launch of ABC’s gloss logo in September 2007, ABC has suggested network affiliates integrate the ABC logomark within their station logos, with ABC’s O&O’s being the first to comply. This is to allow both simpler common branding among affiliates and the network, and to allow ABC to brand their video players on and WPVI-TV was the last O&O to forgo obvious or non-standard ABC branding until December 2010 (instead using a red two-toned ABC ball to go with their graphics coloring), when the station placed their longtime “6” logo within a Circle 7-esque blue circle with the ABC gloss logo to the bottom right. Some ABC affiliates use their ABC logo forms only to advertise ABC programming, with unbranded station logos for the remainder of their broadcast day.

[edit] History with Disney

In 1954, the Walt Disney Presents in 1958.

Walt Disney had long wanted ABC to broadcast his show in color, but the network still cash strapped balked at the idea because of the cost of color broadcasting. In 1961, Walt Disney struck a deal with NBC to move the show to their network. At the time, NBC was owned by RCA, who was promoting color at the time in order to sell their color TV sets. The show moved in the fall of 1961 and was renamed Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color allowing Disney to broadcast in color, including shows that had previously been run in black and white on ABC. It became one of the longest-running TV series of all time. The show was revived twice: once in 1986 and again in 1997, both times on ABC (though the first revival moved to NBC in 1988 where it lasted two more years).

ABC was the first radio and television network to use the wireless microphone, a 1957 invention of Raymond A. Litke of Silicon Valley, California. ABC first tested Litke’s wireless microphone at the Olympic trials held at Stanford University in 1959. ABC’s broadcast of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in July, 1960, used the wireless microphone where it proved a great success with reporters on the convention floors, where reporters were able to roam about interviewing candidates and politicians without trailing wires or snarled cables.

[edit] Sale of ABC Radio

Through the 1980s and 1990s, as radio’s music audience continued to drift to FM, many of ABC’s heritage AM stations—the powerhouse properties upon which the company was founded, like WABC New York and WLS Chicago—switched from music to talk. While many of ABC’s radio stations and network programs remained strong revenue producers, growth in the radio industry began to slow dramatically after the dot-com boom of the early 2000s and the consolidation that followed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In 2005, Disney CEO Bob Iger sought to sell the ABC Radio division, having declared it a “non-core asset.” On February 6, 2006, Disney announced that all ABC Radio properties (excluding Federal Communications Commission approved the transfer of ABC’s 24 radio station licenses to Citadel; the $2.6 billion merger closed on June 12, 2007. ABC News – a unit of the ABC Television Network – continues to produce ABC News Radio, which Citadel has agreed to distribute for at least ten years.

With the sale of ABC Radio, ABC became the second heritage American television network to sell its original radio properties. NBC sold its radio network to Westwood One in 1987, and its stations to various companies through 1988. CBS is now the only broadcast television network with its original radio link, though both Fox News & Fox Sports (through Westwood One) have a significant radio presence.

On March 10, 2011, Federal Communications Commission, the deal was approved by Citadel shareholders on September 15, 2011. The merger of the two companies closed on September 16, 2011, and Citadel became an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Cumulus Media.

[edit] ABC’s library

Today, ABC owns nearly all its in-house television and theatrical productions made from the 1970s forward, with the exception of certain co-productions with producers (for example, The Commish is now owned by the estate of its producer, Stephen Cannell).

Also part of the library is the aforementioned Selznick library, the Cinerama Releasing/Palomar theatrical library and the Selmur Productions catalog the network acquired some years back, and the in-house productions it continues to produce (such as Disney-ABC International Television (formerly known as Buena Vista International Television) handles international TV distribution.

Worldwide video rights are currently owned by various companies, for example, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment owns US video rights to many of ABC’s feature films.

Most of the in-house ABC shows produced before 1973 are now the responsibility of Worldvision Enterprises in 1999).

[edit] Programming

At present, ABC operates 86 weekly regular hours of network programming schedule.

ABC provides 22 hours of prime time programming to affiliated stations: 8–11 p.m. Monday to Saturday (all times ET/PT) and 7–11 p.m. on Sundays.

Daytime programming is also provided 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. weekdays (with an hour break at noon for local stations to air news or other programming) featuring the talk/lifestyle shows Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

The network’s Saturday morning children’s programming timeslot, consisting of three hours, is filled by syndicator Litton’s Weekend Adventure block of programming under an arrangement where the programming is syndicated out exclusively to ABC stations, rather than being leased out directly by the network to Litton. (The 86 weekly hour of network programming mentionned above does not include the Litton’s Weekend Adventure block.)

In addition, sports (or sometimes other) programming is also provided weekend afternoons any time from 3–6 p.m. ET (12-3 p.m. PT) and, during burned off series which had no room in the primetime schedule, or theatrical films which were acquired in the early-mid 2000s which no longer have a primetime slot to air in, in the afternoon hours, usually airing in the late afternoon between 4–6 p.m. ET/PT.

[edit] Specials

ABC owns the broadcast rights to the Miss America pageant from 1954–1956, 1997–2005, and 2011–present.

[edit] Daytime

ABC Daytime is the daytime programming block of ABC. ABC Daytime currently airs soap opera General Hospital, and talk shows The View and The Chew. General Hospital is the longest-running entertainment program in the entire history of the ABC television network. ABC also broadcasts the morning news program Good Morning America since 1975, though it’s not considered part of the ABC Daytime block.

Notable soap operas of the past include The Edge of Night.

ABC’s daytime game shows over the years have included Who Wants To Be A Millionaire which is produced by ABC).

[edit] Children’s programming

ABC’s first big break into children’s television was with Walt Disney and the The Mickey Mouse Club which aired on weekday afternoons from 1955 to 1959, and became one of the networks highest rated shows. During the 1960s ABC aired numerous prime-time animated shows that would become staples of children’s television for decades, including The Bugs Bunny Show, The Flintstones and The Jetsons. Shows intended for children included George of the Jungle, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and various incarnations of the Scooby-Doo franchise. The crown jewel of its children’s programming lineup was the award-winning Schoolhouse Rock! which aired beginning in 1973 and was finally retired in 2001.

Following ABC’s sale to Disney, the network’s content produced by its new owners would increase; this also included the animated and/or live-action children’s programming.

On September 13, 1997, ABC remodeled its Saturday morning children’s programming lineup, renaming it Hannah Montana only had a limited number of episodes from their runs aired on ABC Kids, in the aforementioned show’s case, the first season’s episodes aired for four consecutive years).

In Summer 2011, The Walt Disney Company announced its intentions to shift its focus on Saturday morning children’s programming to its cable outlet, Jack Hanna.

[edit] Full Episode Player was the first network website to offer full-length episodes online from May–June 2006. Beginning with the 2006–2007 television season, has regularly begun airing full length episodes of most of its popular and new shows on its website the day after they aired on ABC, with some advertisements (though less than when broadcast for television). This is assumed to be a response to the popularity of digital recording devices and piracy issues that major network broadcasters are facing. In April 2007 the full-episode player began offering full-screen viewing, as well as a small “mini” screen that users can position wherever they choose on their desktops, in addition to the two original standard viewing size viewing options. In July 2007, began presenting content in HD. Launching initially as a beta test in early July, the full-episode broadband player’s HD channel will feature a limited amount of content in true high-definition 1280×720 resolution from such series as Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, General Hospital and Ugly Betty. In conjunction with the launch of the new season in September, a more robust HD programming lineup will be offered. This fall’s full episode player will be expanded further to include national news and local content, in addition to primetime entertainment programming. This new player will be geo-targeted, offering the ability for local ads and content to be more relevant to each individual user. ABC has been the subject of some criticism for not supporting linux based operating systems.[28]

[edit] ABC On Demand

On November 20, 2006, ABC and Comcast reached a landmark deal to offer hit shows (Lost and Desperate Housewives) through Video on demand.[29]

On February 25, 2008, ABC said it will release hit shows (Lost and Desperate Housewives) for free over video on demand services, including Comcast; only this time, viewers who watch the shows on demand will not be able to fast forward through supported commercial advertisements.[30]

ABC on Demand is also available on DirecTV channel 1007. All ABC shows are available for download through DirecTV’s On Demand service, free of charge.

ABC on Demand will also arrive on TalkTalk TV in the UK via channel 6, previously home to C1, starting in December 2011. C1 closed down on October 31, 2011, to clear space for ABC.

[edit] International Broadcasts

[edit] Canada

Like simsubbing, where the American signal is replaced with the Canadian signal if both happen to air the same programming at the same time.

[edit] Caribbean

In the Caribbean, many cable television and satellite television providers air local NBC affiliates, or the main network feed from SAP option.

[edit] Bahamas

ABC programming is shown via cable from over-the-air affiliates in the United States.

[edit] Bermuda

ABC programming is available in Bermuda, on ZFB-TV.

[edit] Netherlands Antilles

ABC programming is shown on Sint Eustatius.

[edit] Asia Pacific

[edit] Guam

ABC programming is shown on KTGM in Guam.

[edit] Northern Marianas Islands

KPPI-LP 7 in Northern Marianas Islands airs ABC programming, as a full-time repeater of KTGM-TV in Guam.

[edit] American Samoa

In American Samoa, ABC programming is shown alongside KOMO.

[edit] Federated States of Micronesia

ABC is available on cable television in the Federated States of Micronesia, via its Honolulu, Hawaii affiliate, KITV.

[edit] Australia

Most of ABC’s programming is shown on the Nine Network.

[edit] Europe

[edit] ABC1

Launched September 27, 2004, ABC1 was a British digital channel available on the [32]

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Frequently Asked Questions.” American Broadcasting Company. Retrieved on August 28, 2009.
  2. ^ Swift, Thomas P. “Red and Blue Networks of NBC To Be Split; WJZ May Be Sold,” The New York Times, Friday, January 9, 1942.
  3. ^ “Approves Buying of Blue Network,” The New York Times, Wednesday, October 13, 1943.
  4. ^ “Realigned Blue Slated to Be ABC Network”. Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.) 27 (13): 11. September 25, 1944.
  5. 0-8138-2969-0.
  6. ^ The New York Times, May 24, 1951]
  7. ^ Ashley Kahn: The House That Trane Built (Granta Books, London, 2006)
  8.,2955778. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  9. ^,0,1403859.story. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  10. ^ “ABC News: TV Online: A Glimpse of the Future”. Archived from the original on October 16, 2008. Retrieved November 9, 2008.
  11. ^ “2008 – 2009 Canceled TV Shows”. TV Series Finale. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  12. ^ ABC Combines TV Network, Production Units, Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2009
  13. ^ ABC Entertainment Group Announces Reorganization, Animation World News, June 18, 2009
  14. ^ ABC Unveils Reorganized Operations,, June 19, 2009
  15. ^ Disney Combines ABC’s Programming, Production Units,, January 23, 2009
  16. ^ James, Meg and Dawn Chmielewski, ABC combines TV network, production units, Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2009
  17. ^ Disney’s ABC Television Group to Cut 5% of Workforce, Los Angeles Times, January 30, 2009
  18. ^ Zeidler, Sue (March 10, 2010). “UPDATE 1-Disney keeps ABC options open, including spin-off”. Reuters.
  19. ^ Zeidler, Sue (May 26, 2010). “UPDATE 3-Insider charges in Disney case raise ABC sale hopes”. Reuters.
  20. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (January 27, 2010). “‘Ugly Betty’ canceled by ABC”. USA Today.
  21. ^ Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  22. ^ Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  23. ^ Gorman, Bill (June 2, 2011). “Final Broadcast TV Season Primetime Network Ratings & Viewership”. TV By The Numbers. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  24. ^ “ABC programming chief Stephen McPherson abruptly resigns; network was No. 3 last season”. Associated Press. The Washington Examiner. July 27, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  25. ^ (July 27, 2010). “ABC Family’s Paul Lee Taking Over ABC Entertainment Group After President Steve McPherson Resigns”. Archived from the original on August 09 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
  26. ^ “Important Announcement Regarding ABC Daytime”. ABC television network.
  27. ^ “ABC’s short-lived ‘Revolution’ comes to an end”.
  28. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  29. ^ Disney, Comcast Reach Landmark Deal,, November 21, 2006
  30. ^ ABC to Offer Shows Via Video-On-Demand, Newsvine, February 25, 2008
  31. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  32. Retrieved March 3, 2009.

[edit] References

  • Barnouw, Erik. eb: A History of Broadcasting in the United States,. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.
  • Baughman, James Lewis. ABC and the Destruction of American Television 1953-1961. In Business Economic and History: Second Series, by Jeremy Atack, vol. 12, 1983.
  • Goldenson, Leonard, and Marvin J. Wolf. Beating the Odds: The Untold Story Behind the Rise of ABC. New York: Scribners, 1991.
  • Kisseloff, Jeff, The Box: An Oral History of Television,. New York: Viking Press, 1988.
  • Sampson, Anthony. Stein and Day, 1973.
  • Sobel, Truman Talley — Times Books, 1982.
  • Quinlan, Sterling. Inside ABC: American Broadcasting Company’s rise to power. New York: Hastings House, 1979.
  • Williams, Huntington. “Beyond Control: ABC and the fate of the Networks”. New York: Atheneum, 1989.

[edit] External links

Source: Wikipedia