NBC through the years …

Nov 12, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Nov. 15, 1926-The National Broadcasting Company, owned by the Radio Corporation of America, begins broadcasting on 25 stations in 21 markets, as far west as Kansas City.
1927-RCA starts experimental TV transmission; a doll of Felix the Cat is the first picture.
Oct. 30, 1931-From high atop the Empire State Building, NBC starts transmitting TV signals.
1933-Jack Benny starts his long association with NBC (he defects to rival CBS in 1948); Bob Hope begins his lifelong association with NBC; Kraft Foods initiates its “Kraft Music Hall,” which later becomes a staple on NBC TV.
1937-Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony begin their Saturday night broadcasts.
May 30, 1939-With the words “Now we add sight to sound,” General Sarnoff starts TV broadcasting from the New York World’s Fair.
July 1, 1941-WNBT-TV (later WNBC-TV) begins broadcasting.
1941-The Federal Communications Commission, worried about monopoly programming practices, orders NBC to sell off one of its two radio networks, NBC Blue or NBC Red. Complying with the order, in 1943 NBC sells its Blue network to Edward J. Noble, who had made millions from manufacturing and selling Lifesavers candy. Noble, who paid $8 million for the Blue network, later renamed it the American Broadcasting Co.
May 6, 1947-The Golden Age of Television begins, with the debut of “Kraft Television Theatre.”
Sept. 30, 1947-It’s Da Bums vs. the Yankees in the first televised World Series.
Dec. 27, 1947-The TV debut of Howdy Doody.
June 8, 1948-Milton Berle headlines “Texaco Star Theater,” and TV’s first superstar is born.
1949-TV visionary Sylvester “Pat” Weaver joins NBC, and by the time he leaves in 1956, he revolutionizes the medium in terms of programming and advertising.
Jan 14, 1952-The “Today” show, one of Pat Weaver’s inspired ideas, debuts with Dave Garroway as host.
May 24, 1953-Paddy Chayefsky’s “Marty” is broadcast live on “Goodyear Television Playhouse.” The teleplay will later be made into a film that garners an Oscar as best picture.
1953-In a stunning decision, the FCC makes RCA technology the standard for color TV, reversing a 1950 decision that had made a CBS system the color standard. NBC helps make color TV a reality during the next decade by scheduling lots of color programming.
1954-Yet another Pat Weaver idea, the “Tonight” show takes off with host Steve Allen, later replaced by Jack Paar.
Aug. 13, 1956-The historic pairing of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.
Nov. 5, 1956-The Nat “King” Cole show debuts, making him the first nationally known black performer to headline a network variety series.
1958-Herbert Stempel, after losing to Charles Van Doren on the quiz show “Twenty One,” says the show was fixed. The legendary quiz show scandal begins.
Sept. 12, 1959-“Bonanza,” the first Western in color, debuts.
Sept. 10, 1961-“Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” debuts.
Oct. 1, 1962-Johnny Carson begins hosting the “Tonight” show.
Sept. 15, 1965-Bill Cosby becomes the first black actor to have a lead role in a network drama with “I Spy.”
Jan 15, 1967-NBC, along with CBS, airs Super Bowl I.
Oct. 11, 1975-The debut of “Saturday Night Live.”
1980-Brandon Tartikoff takes over NBC programming and eventually leads the network to No. 1.
Jan 15, 1981-The debut of the groundbreaking ensemble drama “Hill Street Blues,” from Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll, based on a suggestion (in 1980) by then-NBC programming chief Fred Silverman.
Sept. 10, 1984-The debut of “The Cosby Show.”
Dec. 11, 1985-General Electric agrees to buy NBC.
April 17, 1989-The Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) debuts.
May 31, 1990-“Seinfeld” debuts.
July 15, 1996-MSNBC, a partnership with Microsoft, debuts.