A look back at the headlines from 15 years ago proves the old saw about television being a cyclical business. And history can provide insight into the future. So leading up to TelevisionWeek’s commemorative silver-anniversary issue on May 21, we’re reviewing the biggest headlines from 1992.
After successfully launching the Fox Network, Barry Diller resigned as chairman and CEO of Fox Inc. to become his own boss:
Fox and Barry Diller Eye Separate Futures
March 2, 1992: In the first hours after Barry Diller resigned last week, security guards at the Fox lot wondered how to deal with the “situation” at the front gate. Television news crews were gathering rapidly … Inside the lot, reaction to Mr. Diller’s 10 a.m. announcement on Feb. 24 swept through the studio on a day some dramatically described later as “Black Monday.” But the main question on everyone’s mind was … What is Barry Diller going to do next?
The conversion to high-definition television took its first, overly optimistic baby steps:
FCC Offers New Channels to TV Stations
April 13, 1992: Amid criticism that it’s engaging in a grand-scale giveaway, the Federal Communications Commission last week proposed offering every broadcaster an additional channel for the development of HDTV. Under the plan, broadcasters would have two years in which only they could apply for the reserved spectrum space, up to 1,700 new channels. They would have five years, beginning in 1993, to begin high-definition broadcasts.
Late-night network television changed forever:
Dropping the Curtain on the Carson Era
May 18, 1992: This Friday Johnny Carson will swing his imaginary golf club one more time, and then when the show’s over, he’ll walk away from the program he’s called home for almost 30 years. That’s the Carson way-the uncanny consistency that’s made most of America tune in night after night.
The first battle in the war over retransmission fees raged:
TV Factions Arming for Cable Law Battles
October 12, 1992: As cable and broadcast interests formed battle lines over retransmission consent last week. … one of the first broadcasters to try to place a value on its programming was [Fox Broadcasting], which sent a memo to its affiliates urging them not to settle for must-carry and offering information on how to price their signals, using cable channel rates as a guide.