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CBS through the years …

Sep 2, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Sept. 18, 1927-The Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System begins broadcasting to 16 stations. The radio program consists of members of the New York City Metropolitan Opera performing “The King’s Henchmen.”
Sept. 26, 1928-William S. Paley is elected president of the Columbia Broadcasting System (the word “phonograph” had been dropped). Within a year, Mr. Paley devised a revolutionary plan that will make radio stations want to sign up with the fledgling CBS network as opposed to the more powerful NBC: Give them free programming in exchange for running “national” advertising.
Fall, 1930-The first woman on air, Natalie Towers, enters into an exclusive contract with a TV station. The station is W2XAB, CBS’s experimental station in New York City.
July 21, 1931-CBS becomes the first network to begin regular TV programming: 28 hours a week on W2XAB in New York City.
1932-Newsman Robert Trout is hired. He will later coin the term “fireside chat” to describe the occasional radio broadcasts of President Franklin Roosevelt.
Nov. 8, 1932-CBS-TV reports on the presidential election.
March 10, 1933 -Experimental TV station W6XAO (later KCBS-TV) goes on-air in Los Angeles. At 5:54 p.m. a major 6.4 magnitude earthquake hits, centered in nearby Long Beach, Calif. Film of the damage is broadcast the next day.
1935-Edward R. Murrow joins the network.
Oct. 30, 1938-Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater on the Air broadcasts an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” Many listeners thought they were hearing reports of an actual Martian invasion.
Aug. 29, 1940-CBS research director Peter Goldmark announces the invention of color TV. He demonstrates it on Sept. 3 over W2XAB in New York City.
1948-Mr. Goldmark invents the 33 1/3 long-playing record.
April 1948-First network TV newscast.
June 20, 1948-Debut of “The Toast of the Town” with the comedy team of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin as guests. On Sept. 18, 1955, the series is renamed “The Ed Sullivan Show” after its long-time host.
Jan. 2, 1949-Jack Benny, the No. 1 star in radio, jumps from NBC to CBS .William S. Paley, armed with a clever tax plan and understanding the importance of talent, begins a series of raids on NBC’s top talent.
Oct. 6, 1949-“The Ed Wynn Show” becomes the first regularly scheduled network TV show broadcast live from Hollywood instead of New York.
June 25, 1951-The beginning of regular network TV color broadcasting. Six months earlier the FCC had picked CBS’s color system, which was not compatible with NTSC black & white, as the nation’s standard. The same day CBS took out its first ad, in The New York Times, for a color TV it was going to manufacture. CBS stopped color broadcasting just four months later. TV manufacturers, under pressure from NBC parent RCA, never adopted the CBS system in great numbers. In 1953 the FCC reversed itself and picked a then much-improved RCA color-compatible system as the U.S. standard.
Oct. 15, 1951-“I Love Lucy” premieres.
Nov. 18, 1951-“See It Now” debuts. The show, co-produced by Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly, sets new standards for public affairs programming. A series of shows in 1954 about Sen. Joseph McCarthy, then chairman of a subcommittee trying to root out American Communists, helped to end Sen. McCarthy’s anti-Communist hysteria.
June 30, 1952-After 15 years on radio, “The Guiding Light” premieres on TV.
Sept 20, 1952-“The Jackie Gleason Show” with the “Honeymooners” debuts.
1956-William S. Paley becomes the primary backer of the upcoming Broadway musical “My Fair Lady.” The show makes musical-comedy history, and the cast album becomes the biggest seller in Columbia Records history, not overtaken until 1970 by the release of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
Jan. 28, 1956-Elvis Presley’s network TV debut on “Stage Show.”
Nov. 11, 1956-Broadcast of the first show on videotape, “Douglas Edwards and the News.”
Sept 21, 1957-The premiere of “Perry Mason.”
Oct. 2, 1959-“The Twilight Zone” debuts.
March 16, 1962-Walter Cronkite begins anchoring the evening news.
1964-CBS acquires the New York Yankees. Teams drops from first place to last place in two years.
Feb. 9, 1964-The Beatles appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Sept. 24, 1968-”60 Minutes” premieres.
Jan 12, 1971-“All in the Family” debuts. The show, addressing prejudice and social issues with a candor heretofore unheard on TV, is the No. 1 rated show on TV within six months.
Sept. 4, 1972-“The Price Is Right,” which had been on TV continuously (except for seven years) since 1956, comes to CBS.
March 21, 1980-J.R. Ewing gets shot on “Dallas” in the last episode of the season. “Who Shot J.R.?” became a catchphrase and whodunit became an international obsession.
Feb. 28, 1983-The final episode of “M*A*S*H” draws a 60.3 rating, 77 share, which remains the largest audience ever to watch a single TV program.
1986-Ted Turner mounts a hostile takeover bid for the network. William S. Paley turns to Lawrence Tisch, who becomes president and CEO, to stave off Mr. Turner. Mr. Tisch makes major cuts and sells the company’s records, magazines and publishing divisions.
Jan 14, 1993-David Letterman, having lost the battle to replace Johnny Carson, announces he’s leaving NBC after 13 years to join CBS.
November 1995-Westinghouse buys the network.
Sept. 7, 1999- Viacom agrees to acquire CBS.
May 31, 2000-“Survivor” hits the airwaves.