American Broadcasting Company

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The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is an American commercial broadcasting
Commercial broadcasting
Commercial broadcasting is the broadcasting of television programs and radio programming by privately owned corporate media, as opposed to state sponsorship...

 television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 Blue radio network
Blue Network
The Blue Network, and its immediate predecessor, the NBC Blue Network, were the on-air names of an American radio production and distribution service from 1927 to 1945...

, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

 and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group
Disney-ABC Television Group
Disney-ABC Television Group manages all of The Walt Disney Company's worldwide entertainment and news television properties...

. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948. As one of the Big Three television networks
Big Three Television Networks
The Big Three Television Networks are the three traditional commercial broadcast television networks in the United States: ABC, CBS and NBC...

, its programming has contributed to American popular culture.

Corporate headquarters is in the Upper West Side
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 125th Street...

 of Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 in New York City, and the company's news operations are also centered in Manhattan. Entertainment programming offices are in Burbank, California
Burbank, California
Burbank is a city in Los Angeles County in Southern California, United States, north of downtown Los Angeles. The estimated population in 2010 was 103,340....

 adjacent to the Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios (Burbank)
The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, United States, serve as the international headquarters for media conglomerate The Walt Disney Company. The Walt Disney Studio's house offices for each of the company's divisions along with creative spaces designed for movie production. The Walt Disney...

 and the corporate headquarters of The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

.

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 Latin alphabet, in order.

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, CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 and RCA
RCA
RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

's NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

. Before NBC's 1926 formation, RCA had acquired AT&T
AT&T
AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Whitacre Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States. It is the largest provider of mobile telephony and fixed telephony in the United States, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services...

's New York City station WEAF
WEAF (AM)
WEAF is a gospel music formatted radio station in Camden, South Carolina. The station is currently owned by Colonial Radio Group and is licensed to CRG president Jeff Andrulonis. Much of the programing is featured from the Rejoice! Musical Soul Food satellite feed.-History:At one time, this...

 (later WNBC, now CBS-owned WFAN). With WEAF came a loosely organized system feeding programming to other stations in the northeastern U.S. RCA, before the acquisition of the WEAF group in mid-1926, had previously owned a second such group, with WJZ in Newark as the lead station (purchased by RCA in 1923 from Westinghouse) . These were the foundations of RCA's two programming services, the NBC "Red" and NBC "Blue
Blue Network
The Blue Network, and its immediate predecessor, the NBC Blue Network, were the on-air names of an American radio production and distribution service from 1927 to 1945...

" 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
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 in May 1940 issued a "Report on Chain Broadcasting." Finding that NBC Red, NBC Blue, CBS, and MBS
Mutual Broadcasting System
The Mutual Broadcasting System was an American radio network, in operation from 1934 to 1999. In the golden age of U.S. radio drama, MBS was best known as the original network home of The Lone Ranger and The Adventures of Superman and as the long-time radio residence of The Shadow...

 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.

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 Dillon, Read made an offer of $7.5 million, but Woods and RCA chief David Sarnoff
David Sarnoff
David Sarnoff was an American businessman and pioneer of American commercial radio and television. He founded the National Broadcasting Company and throughout most of his career he led the Radio Corporation of America in various capacities from shortly after its founding in 1919 until his...

 held firm at $8 million. The Blue package contained leases on land-lines and on studio facilities in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 and Los Angeles; contracts with talent and with about sixty affiliates; the trademark and "good will" associated with the Blue name; and licenses for three stations (WJZ in New York, San Francisco's KGO
KGO (AM)
KGO is a news/talk-format radio station radio with offices and studios in San Francisco, California. Unlike most other American news/talk stations, KGO originates nearly all of its own programming locally. Since 1978, KGO radio has received Arbitron's number-one ranking in the Bay Area...

, and WENR in Chicago — really a half-station, since WENR shared time and a frequency with "Prairie Farmer" station WLS
WLS (AM)
WLS is a Chicago clear-channel AM station on 890 kHz. It uses C-QUAM AM stereo and transmits with 50,000 watts from transmitter and towers on the south edge of Tinley Park, Illinois....

, with which it would later merge under full ABC ownership in 1954).
RCA finally found a buyer in Edward Noble, owner of Life Savers
Life Savers
Life Savers is an American brand of ring-shaped mints and artificially fruit-flavored hard candy. The candy is known for its distinctive packaging, coming in aluminum foil rolls....

 candy and the Rexall
Rexall
Rexall was a chain of North American drugstores, and the name of their store-branded products. The stores, having roots in the federation of United Drug Stores starting in 1902, licensed the Rexall brand name to as many as 12,000 drug stores across the United States from 1920 to 1977...

 drugstore chain. In order to complete the station-license transfer, Noble had to sell his New York radio station, WMCA
WMCA
WMCA, 570 AM, is a radio station in New York City, most known for its "Good Guys" Top 40 era in the 1960s. It is currently owned by Salem Communications and plays a Christian radio format...

. 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
American Federation of Labor
The American Federation of Labor was one of the first federations of labor unions in the United States. It was founded in 1886 by an alliance of craft unions disaffected from the Knights of Labor, a national labor association. Samuel Gompers was elected president of the Federation at its...

. Noble evaded questioning on similar points by hiding behind the NAB
National Association of Broadcasters
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association, workers union, and lobby group representing the interests of for-profit, over-the-air radio and television broadcasters in the United States...

 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. It sold airtime to organized labor.

In mid-1944, Noble renamed his network American Broadcasting Company. This set off a flurry of re-naming; to avoid confusion, CBS changed the call-letters of its New York flagship, WABC-AM 880, to WCBS-AM
WCBS (AM)
WCBS , often referred to as "WCBS Newsradio 880" , is a radio station in New York City. Owned by CBS Radio, the station broadcasts on a clear channel and is the flagship station of the CBS Radio Network...

 in 1946. In 1953, WJZ in New York and its sister television station took on the abandoned call-letters WABC
WABC (AM)
WABC , known as "NewsTalkRadio 77 WABC" is a radio station in New York City. Owned by the broadcasting division of Cumulus Media, the station broadcasts on a clear channel and is the flagship station of Cumulus Media Networks...

 and WABC-TV
WABC-TV
WABC-TV, channel 7, is the flagship station of the Disney-owned American Broadcasting Company located in New York City. The station's studios and offices are located on the Upper West Side section of Manhattan, adjacent to ABC's corporate headquarters, and its transmitter is atop the Empire State...

. (Westinghouse later reclaimed the WJZ callsign when it acquired a Baltimore television station in 1959; WJZ-TV
WJZ-TV
WJZ-TV, channel 13, is an owned and operated television station of the CBS Television Network, located in Baltimore, Maryland. WJZ-TV's studios and offices are located on Television Hill in the Woodberry section of Baltimore, adjacent to the transmission tower it shares with four other Baltimore...

 in Baltimore, and its sister radio station, are now owned by CBS.)

ABC Radio began slowly; with few hit shows or big-name stars, it had to build an audience. Noble acquired more stations, among them Detroit's WXYZ, an NBC (Blue)/ABC affiliate since 1935. WXYZ was originator of several daily serials, among them The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked Texas Ranger who, with his Native American companion Tonto, fights injustice in the American Old West. The character has become an enduring icon of American culture....

, Sergeant Preston and The Green Hornet
The Green Hornet
The Green Hornet is an American radio and television masked vigilante created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, with input from radio director James Jewell, in 1936. Since his radio debut in the 1930s, the Green Hornet has appeared in numerous serialized dramas in a wide variety of media...

 (although these programs were not included in the sale). Noble also bought KECA (now KABC
KABC (AM)
KABC is a Los Angeles radio station, and a West Coast flagship station for the Cumulus Media company. A pioneer of the talk radio format, the station went "all-talk" in 1960 and was one of the first stations to do so...

) in Los Angeles, to give the network a Hollywood production base. Counter-programming became an ABC specialty, for example, placing a raucous quiz-show like Stop the Music! against more thoughtful fare on NBC and CBS. Industry policy forbade the use of pre-recorded programs; adapting the advanced tape-recording brought back from conquered Germany, ABC attracted some big-name stars who wanted freedom from rigid schedules, among them Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

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

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
North American broadcast television frequencies
The North American broadcast television frequencies are on designated television channels numbered 2 through 69, approximately between 54 and 806 MHz. Traditionally, the frequencies are divided into two sections, the very high frequency band and the ultra high frequency band. The VHF band is...

; 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. (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 Philadelphia (now WPVI-TV
WPVI-TV
WPVI-TV, channel 6, is an owned-and-operated television station of the Walt Disney Company-owned American Broadcasting Company, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. WPVI has its studios located on the border between Philadelphia and Bala Cynwyd, and its transmitter is located in the...

) and WMAL-TV in Washington (now WJLA-TV
WJLA-TV
WJLA-TV, channel 7, is the ABC affiliated television station in Washington, D.C.. It is the flagship station of the Allbritton Communications Company, which also operates local cable station NewsChannel 8. The two stations share broadcast facilities in the Rosslyn section of Arlington, Virginia...

) before its flagship owned and operated station ("O&O"), WJZ-TV in New York (now WABC-TV
WABC-TV
WABC-TV, channel 7, is the flagship station of the Disney-owned American Broadcasting Company located in New York City. The station's studios and offices are located on the Upper West Side section of Manhattan, adjacent to ABC's corporate headquarters, and its transmitter is atop the Empire State...

) signed on in August of that year. The rest of ABC's fleet of owned-and-operated major market stations, in Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, would sign on during the next 13 months, giving it parity with CBS and NBC in the important area of big-city presence, as well as a long term advantage in guaranteed reach over the rival DuMont Television Network
DuMont Television Network
The DuMont Television Network, also known as the DuMont Network, DuMont, Du Mont, or Dumont was one of the world's pioneer commercial television networks, rivalling NBC for the distinction of being first overall. It began operation in the United States in 1946. It was owned by DuMont...

, 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
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 only had two, and many sizable cities including Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

 and Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Portland is a city located in the Pacific Northwest, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States...

 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
WLS-TV
WLS-TV, virtual channel 7, is an owned-and-operated television station of the Walt Disney Company-owned American Broadcasting Company, located in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The station operates their full power digital operations on UHF channel 44, with their digital fill-in translator on VHF channel...

) and Los Angeles (KECA-TV, now KABC-TV
KABC-TV
KABC-TV, channel 7, is an owned-and-operated television station of the Walt Disney Company-owned American Broadcasting Company, licensed to Los Angeles, California. KABC-TV's studios are located in Glendale, California...

) 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
WXYZ-TV
WXYZ-TV, channel 7, is an ABC-affiliated television station in Detroit, Michigan, USA. WXYZ-TV is owned by the E.W. Scripps Company, and is the media company's largest-market TV station property...

 in Detroit and KGO-TV
KGO-TV
KGO-TV, channel 7, is an owned-and-operated television station of the Walt Disney Company-owned American Broadcasting Company, based in San Francisco, California...

 in San Francisco.


Noble finally found a white knight
White knight (business)
In business, a white knight, or "friendly investor," may be a corporation or a person that intends to help another firm. There are many types of white knights...

 in United Paramount Theaters. Divorced from Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

 at the end of 1949 by the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 decision United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.
United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.
United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 334 US 131 was a landmark United States Supreme Court anti-trust case that decided the fate of movie studios owning their own theatres and holding exclusivity rights on which theatres would...

, UPT was cash-rich and controlled much valuable real estate. UPT head Leonard Goldenson
Leonard Goldenson
Leonard H. Goldenson was President of the U.S. television and radio broadcaster ABC.-Early life and career:...

 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
William S. Paley
William S. Paley was the chief executive who built Columbia Broadcasting System from a small radio network into one of the foremost radio and television network operations in the United States.-Early life:...

's CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

, 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. 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
Robert Kintner
Robert Kintner was a journalist and television executive who oversaw the development of the NBC and ABC television networks. From 1950-56 he served as the president of ABC. In 1956 he was forced to resign from ABC by chairman Leonard Goldenson, switched networks, and became the president of NBC...

, 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 WNYW
WNYW
WNYW, virtual channel 5 , is the flagship television station of the News Corporation-owned Fox Broadcasting Company, located in New York City. The station's transmitter is atop the Empire State Building and its studio facilities are located in the Yorkville section of Manhattan...

) as well as two other stations (most likely WXYZ-TV and KGO-TV) in order to comply with the FCC's five-station limit. The merged network would have also acquired the aforementioned monopoly in Pittsburgh with DuMont-owned WDTV (now KDKA-TV
KDKA-TV
KDKA-TV, channel 2, is an owned and operated television station of the CBS Television Network, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. KDKA-TV broadcasts from a transmitter located in the Perry North neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and its studios are located in downtown Pittsburgh at Gateway Center....

, and ironically now a CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 O&O
Owned-and-operated station
In the broadcasting industry , an owned-and-operated station usually refers to a television station or radio station that is owned by the network with which it is associated...

) 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
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

...the beginning of a relationship between the studio and the network which would eventually, four decades later, transform them both. MGM
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer...

, Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 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
Maverick (TV series)
Maverick is a western television series with comedic overtones created by Roy Huggins. The show ran from September 22, 1957 to July 8, 1962 on ABC and stars James Garner as Bret Maverick, a cagey, articulate cardsharp. Eight episodes into the first season, he was joined by Jack Kelly as his brother...

 , 77 Sunset Strip
77 Sunset Strip
77 Sunset Strip is an hour-length American television private detective series created by Roy Huggins and starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith, and Edd Byrnes....

 , Surfside 6
Surfside 6
Surfside 6 was an ABC television series which aired from 1960 to 1962. The show centered around a Miami Beach detective agency set on a houseboat and featured Troy Donahue as Sandy Winfield, II; Van Williams as Kenny Madison ; and Lee Patterson as Dave Thorne...

 , Bronco
Bronco (TV series)
Bronco is a Western series on ABC from 1958 through 1962. It was shown by the BBC in the United Kingdom. The program starred Ty Hardin as Bronco Layne, a former Confederate officer who wandered the Old West, meeting such well-known individuals as Wild Bill Hickok, Billy the Kid, Jesse James,...

 , Hawaiian Eye
Hawaiian Eye
Hawaiian Eye is an American television series that ran from October 1959 to September 1963 on the American Broadcasting Company television network.-Premise:...

 ,and Colt .45
Colt .45 (TV series)
Colt .45 is an American Western television series shown on ABC between 1957 and 1960. The half-hour show derives from the 1950 Warner Brothers film of the same name starring Randolph Scott and formed part of the William T...

 . 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
The Lone Ranger (TV Series)
The Lone Ranger is an American western television series starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. The live-action series initially featured Gerald Mohr as the episode narrator...

 (ABC's only Top 10 show before Disneyland), The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet, (starring the real-life Nelson family), Leave It To Beaver
Leave It to Beaver
Leave It to Beaver is an American television situation comedy about an inquisitive but often naïve boy named Theodore "The Beaver" Cleaver and his adventures at home, in school, and around his suburban neighborhood...

 (which moved over from CBS), The Detectives
The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor
The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor is an American crime drama series which ran on ABC during its first two seasons, and on NBC during its third and final season...

 and The Untouchables
The Untouchables (1959 TV series)
The Untouchables is an American crime drama that ran from 1959 to 1963 on ABC. Based on the memoir of the same name by Eliot Ness and Oscar Fraley, it fictionalized the experiences of Eliot Ness, a real-life Prohibition agent, as he fought crime in Chicago during the 1930s with the help of a...

. 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, which founded and operated the popular label ABC-Paramount Records (which became ABC Records
ABC Records
ABC Records was an American record label, founded in New York City in 1955 as ABC-Paramount Records. It originated as the main popular music label operated the Am-Par Record Corporation, the music subsidiary of the American Broadcasting Company . ABC-Paramount Records' first president was Samuel H....

 in 1965) and the noted jazz label Impulse Records, created in 1961. ABC-Paramount subsequently purchased more labels from the Famous Music
Famous Music
Famous Music was the worldwide music publishing division of Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom since 1994. Its copyright holdings span several decades and includes music from such Academy Award-winning motion pictures as The Godfather and Forrest Gump...

 division of Gulf+Western
Gulf+Western
Gulf and Western Industries, Inc., for a number of years known as Gulf+Western, was an American conglomerate.- History :Gulf and Western's prosaic origins date to a manufacturer named Michigan Bumper Co. founded in 1934, though Charles Bluhdorn treated his 1958 takeover of what was then Michigan...

 – Dot
Dot Records
Dot Records was an American record label and company that was active between 1950 and 1977. It was founded by Randy Wood. In Gallatin, Tennessee, Wood had earlier started a mail order record shop, known for its radio ads on WLAC in Nashville and its R&B air personality Bill "Hoss" Allen...

, Steed
Steed Records
Steed Records was a record label founded by songwriter-record producer Jeff Barry in 1967 in New York City. The label was active until 1971. It was first distributed by Dot Records, then by Gulf+Western's Famous Music Group after it absorbed Dot....

, Acta, Blue Thumb
Blue Thumb Records
Blue Thumb Records was an American record label founded in 1968 by Bob Krasnow, along with former A&M Records executives Tommy LiPuma and Don Graham. Krasnow had been in the record business for a number of years, working as a promotion man for King Records and also working for Buddah/Kama Sutra...

, and Paramount
Paramount Records (1969)
Paramount Records was a record label started in 1969 by Paramount Pictures after acquiring the rights to the name from George H. Buck. The previous label with the same name had been unconnected to Paramount Pictures. The new Paramount label reissued pop releases by sister label Dot Records, which...

, along with legendary Country and R&B label Duke/Peacock in 1974. The entire group was sold to MCA Records
MCA Records
MCA Records was an American-based record company owned by MCA Inc., which later gave way to the larger MCA Music Entertainment Group , of which MCA Records was still part. MCA Records was absorbed by Geffen Records in 2003...

 in 1979; as a result of subsequent takeovers, the remnants of the ABC music group are now owned by Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

. After the merger with Disney, ABC became sister company to a record label group once again, the Buena Vista Music Group
Buena Vista Music Group
The Disney Music Group is a collection of affiliated record labels all subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Company...

 (which includes such labels as Walt Disney Records
Walt Disney Records
Walt Disney Records is a family music record label owned by the Walt Disney Company. Walt Disney Records was formed in 1956 as Disneyland Records. Before that time, Disney recordings were licensed out to a variety of other labels such as . It was Walt Disney’s brother Roy O...

 and Hollywood Records
Hollywood Records
Hollywood Records is an American record label owned by Disney Music Group, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company.-History:Hollywood Records was founded in 1989 by then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner with the idea of expanding the music operations of the company and to develop and promote...

).

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 mrkets 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 GE
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

, Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes
Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. was an American business magnate, investor, aviator, engineer, film producer, director, and philanthropist. He was one of the wealthiest people in the world...

, Litton Industries
Litton Industries
Named after inventor Charles Litton, Sr., Litton Industries was a large defense contractor in the United States, bought by the Northrop Grumman Corporation in 2001.-History:...

, GTE and ITT. ABC and ITT agreed to a merger in late 1965, but this deal was derailed by FCC and Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 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 WXYZ, which had reinvented itself as a hit-based contemporary music station two years earlier under the guidance of Harold L. Neal and found renewed success. Seeing that WXYZ was the only one of ABC's radio stations making money at the time, and with a decline in listenership and far less network programming at ABC's other stations, Neal, after moving to WABC
WABC (AM)
WABC , known as "NewsTalkRadio 77 WABC" is a radio station in New York City. Owned by the broadcasting division of Cumulus Media, the station broadcasts on a clear channel and is the flagship station of Cumulus Media Networks...

 in New York to become general manager of that station, hired Mike Joseph (later known for developing the Hot Hits
Hot Hits
Hot Hits was a radio format created by consultant Mike Joseph in the 1970s. That concept, which helped spur the birth of what is now known as CHR, also revitalized the Top 40 format and would play a role in bringing the format to the FM band throughout the 1980s.The concept was to play only the...

 format) as Music Consultant to program contemporary Top 40 music on WABC. Neal also hired Dan Ingram to host the afternoon time period and hired Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow to host early evenings on WABC. WABC's immediate success lead to Neal being named President of all 7 ABC owned radio stations. Neal then spread the popular music programming to WLS Chicago and KQV Pittsburgh and they attained very large audiences. ABC's KABC Los Angeles and KGO San Francisco pioneered news/talk programming and became quite successful (WXYZ, WABC, WLS and KQV would also later shift to news/talk programming some years later). Rick Sklar was hired by Neal in 1963 to program the station, which by the mid-1960s featured hourly newscasts, commentaries and a few long-running serials, which were all that remained on the ABC Radio Network schedule. Don McNeill's
Don McNeill (performer)
Don McNeill was an American radio personality, best known as the creator and host of The Breakfast Club, which ran for more than 30 years.-Early career:...

 daily "Breakfast Club" variety show was among the offerings. Romper Room
Romper Room
Romper Room is a children's television series that ran in the United States from 1953 to 1994 as well as at various times in Australia, Canada, Japan, Puerto Rico, New Zealand and the United Kingdom...

, a children's learning show was featured, both in New York and in ABC subsidiaries, with Nancy Terrell as "Miss Nancy."

On September 23, 1962, ABC began televising the animated television series The Jetsons
The Jetsons
The Jetsons is a animated American sitcom that was produced by Hanna-Barbera, originally airing in prime-time from 1962–1963 and again from 1985–1987...

 in color. Another animated show, The Flintstones
The Flintstones
The Flintstones is an animated, prime-time American television sitcom that screened from September 30, 1960 to April 1, 1966, on ABC. Produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, The Flintstones was about a working class Stone Age man's life with his family and his next-door neighbor and best friend. It...

, 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 WPLJ
WPLJ
WPLJ is a radio station in New York City owned by the broadcasting division of Cumulus Media. WPLJ shares studio facilities with sister station WABC inside 2 Penn Plaza in midtown Manhattan, and its transmitter is atop the Empire State Building. The station currently plays a Hot Adult...

 New York, WDAI Chicago, WDVE
WDVE
WDVE is a mainstream rock music formatted radio station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA at 102.5 MHz. It is often referred to by Pittsburghers as simply "DVE." WDVE's transmitter is located on Pittsburgh's North Side...

 Pittsburgh, WRIF
WRIF
WRIF — branded 101 WRIF: The RIFF — is a commercial active rock radio station licensed by the FCC to operate in Detroit, Michigan serving surrounding Metro Detroit. The station is currently owned by Greater Boston Radio, Inc. WRIF is a grandfathered Class B station with a signal equivalent to...

 Detroit, KAUM Houston, KSFX
KKSF
KKSF, known as "Oldies 103.7", is a classic hits radio station in San Francisco, California. The station is owned and operated by Clear Channel Communications.-History:...

 San Francisco and KLOS
KLOS
KLOS is an FM rock music radio station based in Los Angeles, California, that debuted in 1969. The station is owned by Cumulus Media. It is home to the nationally broadcast Mark & Brian radio show, and Off The Record host Uncle Joe Benson.-History:...

 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 David O. Selznick
David O. Selznick
David O. Selznick was an American film producer. He is best known for having produced Gone with the Wind and Rebecca , both of which earned him an Oscar for Best Picture.-Early years:...

, ABC acquired the rights to a considerable amount of the Selznick theatrical film library, including Rebecca and Portrait of Jennie
Portrait of Jennie
Portrait of Jennie is a 1948 fantasy film based on the novella by Robert Nathan. The film was directed by William Dieterle and produced by David O. Selznick. It stars Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten.-Plot:...

 (but not including Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind (film)
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard...

, which Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer...

 had acquired outright in the 1940s).

1965–1969: Success



Wide World of Sports
Wide World of Sports (US TV series)
ABC's Wide World of Sports is a sports anthology series on American television that ran from 1961 to 1998 and was originally hosted by Jim McKay. The title continued to be used for general sports programs until 2006...

 debuted April 29, 1961 and was the creation of Edgar J. Scherick
Edgar J. Scherick
Edgar J. Scherick was one of the most prolific producers of television miniseries, made-for-television films, and theatrical motion pictures.-Life and career:...

 through his company, Sports Programs, Inc. After selling his company to the American Broadcasting Company, Scherick hired a young Roone Arledge
Roone Arledge
Roone Pickney Arledge, Jr. was an American sports broadcasting pioneer who was chairman of ABC News from 1977 until several years before his death, and a key part of the company's rise to competition with the two other main television networks, NBC and CBS, in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s.-Early...

 to produce the show. Arledge would eventually go on to become the executive producer of ABC Sports (as well as president of ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

). Arledge helped ABC's fortunes with innovations in sports programming, such as the multiple cameras used in Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football is a live broadcast of the National Football League on ESPN. From to it aired on ABC. Monday Night Football was, along with Hallmark Hall of Fame, and the Walt Disney anthology television series, one of the longest running prime time commercial network television series...

. 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 American Bandstand
American Bandstand
American Bandstand is an American music-performance show that aired in various versions from 1952 to 1989 and was hosted from 1956 until its final season by Dick Clark, who also served as producer...

 and Shindig!
Shindig!
Shindig! was an American musical variety series which aired on ABC from September 16, 1964 to January 8, 1966. The show was hosted by Jimmy O'Neill, a disc jockey in Los Angeles at the time who also created the show along with his wife Sharon Sheeley and production executive Art Stolnitz....

, 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 Outer Limits
The Outer Limits (1963 TV series)
The Outer Limits is an American television series that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1965. The series is similar in style to the earlier The Twilight Zone, but with a greater emphasis on science fiction, rather than fantasy stories...

, The Invaders
The Invaders
The Invaders, a Quinn Martin Production , is an ABC science fiction television program created by Larry Cohen that ran in the United States for two seasons, from January 10, 1967 to March 26, 1968...

, The Time Tunnel
The Time Tunnel
The Time Tunnel is a 1966–1967 U.S. color science fiction TV series. The show was created and produced by Irwin Allen, his third science fiction television series. The show's main theme was Time Travel Adventure. The Time Tunnel was released by 20th Century Fox and broadcast on ABC. The show ran...

, Land of the Giants
Land of the Giants
Land of the Giants was an hour-long American science fiction television program lasting two seasons beginning on September 22, 1968 and ending on March 22, 1970. The show was created and produced by Irwin Allen. Land of the Giants was the fourth of Allen's science fiction TV series. The show was...

, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (TV series)
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a 1960s American science fiction television series based on the 1961 film of the same name. Both were created by Irwin Allen, which enabled the movie's sets, costumes, props, special effects models, and sometimes footage, to be used in the production of the...

. It also ran the Quinn Martin
Quinn Martin
Quinn Martin was one of the most successful American television producers. He had at least one television series running in prime time for 21 straight years , an industry record.-Early life:...

 action and suspense series The F.B.I. and The Fugitive
The Fugitive (TV series)
The Fugitive is an American drama series produced by QM Productions and United Artists Television that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. David Janssen stars as Richard Kimble, a doctor from the fictional town of Stafford, Indiana, who is falsely convicted of his wife's murder and given the death...

. In September 1964 the network would debut a sitcom called Bewitched
Bewitched
Bewitched is an American situation comedy originally broadcast for eight seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1972, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York and Dick Sargent , Agnes Moorehead, and David White. The show is about a witch who marries a mortal and tries to lead the life of a typical suburban...

 that would become the No.2 show of the 64–65 season and draw record viewers for the network at that time.

In January 1966, an unheralded mid-season replacement show became a national pop culture phenomenon. Batman
Batman (TV series)
Batman is an American television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It stars Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin — two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City. It aired on the American Broadcasting Company network for three seasons from January 12, 1966 to...

, starring Adam West
Adam West
William West Anderson , better known by the stage name Adam West, is an American actor best known for his lead role in the Batman TV series and the film of the same name...

 as the Caped Crusader
Batman
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

 and Burt Ward
Burt Ward
Burt Ward is an American television actor and activist. He is best known for his portrayal of Robin in the television series Batman and its theatrical film spin-off.-Early life:...

 as his youthful sidekick Robin the Boy Wonder
Robin (comics)
Robin is the name of several fictional characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, originally created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, as a junior counterpart to DC Comics superhero Batman...

, helped establish ABC as a TV force with which to be reckoned. Each week, a two-part Batman adventure aired on Wednesday and Thursday nights, blending the exploits of the popular comic-book hero with off-the-wall "camp" humor. The unusual combination made the series an immediate hit with thrill-seeking youngsters, and a cult favorite on high-school and college campuses. Special guest villains such as Cesar Romero
Cesar Romero
Cesar Julio Romero, Jr. was an American film and television actor who was active in film, radio, and television for almost sixty years...

 (the Joker), Burgess Meredith
Burgess Meredith
Oliver Burgess Meredith , known professionally as Burgess Meredith, was an American actor in theatre, film, and television, who also worked as a director...

 (the Penguin), Julie Newmar
Julie Newmar
Julie Newmar is an American actress, dancer and singer. Her most famous role is Catwoman in the Batman television series.-Early life:...

 and Eartha Kitt
Eartha Kitt
Eartha Mae Kitt was an American singer, actress, and cabaret star. She was perhaps best known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 hit recordings of "C'est Si Bon" and the enduring Christmas novelty smash "Santa Baby." Orson Welles once called her the "most exciting woman in the...

 (Catwoman
Catwoman
Catwoman is a fictional character associated with DC Comics' Batman franchise. Historically a supervillain, the character was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, partially inspired by Kane's cousin, Ruth Steel...

) and Joan Collins
Joan Collins
Joan Henrietta Collins, OBE , is an English actress, author, and columnist. Born in Paddington and raised in Maida Vale, Collins grew up during the Second World War. At the age of nine, she made her stage debut in A Doll's House and after attending school, she was classically trained as an actress...

 (the Siren) added to the show's mass appeal. A two-part episode featuring Liberace
Liberace
Wladziu Valentino Liberace , best known simply as Liberace, was a famous American pianist and vocalist.In a career that spanned four decades of concerts, recordings, motion pictures, television and endorsements, Liberace became world-renowned...

 in a dual role, as the great pianist Chandel and his criminal twin brother Harry, would prove to be the highest-rated Batman tandem of the series (canceled in 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.

1969–1985: Rising to the top


Continuing the network's upswing in the 1960s were highly rated primetime sitcoms such as That Girl
That Girl
That Girl is an American television situation comedy that ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971. It stars Marlo Thomas as the title character, Ann Marie, an aspiring actress, who had moved from her hometown of Brewster, New York to make it big in New York City...

, Bewitched
Bewitched
Bewitched is an American situation comedy originally broadcast for eight seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1972, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York and Dick Sargent , Agnes Moorehead, and David White. The show is about a witch who marries a mortal and tries to lead the life of a typical suburban...

, The Courtship of Eddie's Father
The Courtship of Eddie's Father
The Courtship of Eddie's Father is an American television sitcom based on the 1963 movie of the same name, which was based on the book written by Mark Toby...

, The Partridge Family
The Partridge Family
The Partridge Family is an American television sitcom about a widowed mother and her five children who embark on a music career. The series originally ran from September 25, 1970 until August 31, 1974, the last new episode airing on March 23, 1974, on the ABC network, as part of a Friday-night lineup...

 and The Brady Bunch
The Brady Bunch
The Brady Bunch is an American sitcom created by Sherwood Schwartz and starring Robert Reed, Florence Henderson, and Ann B. Davis. The series revolved around a large blended family...

, and dramas such as Room 222
Room 222
Room 222 is an American comedy-drama television series produced by 20th Century Fox Television. The series aired on ABC from September 17, 1969, to January 11, 1974, for 112 episodes...

 and The Mod Squad
The Mod Squad
The Mod Squad is a television series that ran on ABC from September 24, 1968, until August 23, 1973. This series starred Michael Cole, Peggy Lipton, Clarence Williams III, and Tige Andrews...

. Edgar J. Scherick
Edgar J. Scherick
Edgar J. Scherick was one of the most prolific producers of television miniseries, made-for-television films, and theatrical motion pictures.-Life and career:...

 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 soap operas General Hospital
General Hospital
General Hospital is an American daytime television drama that is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running American soap opera currently in production and the third longest running drama in television in American history after Guiding Light and As the World Turns....

, One Life to Live
One Life to Live
One Life to Live is an American soap opera which debuted on July 15, 1968 and has been broadcast on the ABC television network. Created by Agnes Nixon, the series was the first daytime drama to primarily feature racially and socioeconomically diverse characters and consistently emphasize social...

, The Edge of Night
The Edge of Night
The Edge of Night is an American television mystery series/soap opera produced by Procter & Gamble. It debuted on CBS on April 2, 1956, and ran as a live broadcast on that network until November 28, 1975; the series then moved to ABC, where it aired from December 1, 1975, until December 28, 1984...

 (which had moved to ABC from CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 in late 1975), All My Children
All My Children
All My Children is an American television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 5, 1970 to September 23, 2011. Created by Agnes Nixon, All My Children is set in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, a fictitious suburb of Philadelphia. The show features Susan Lucci as Erica Kane, one of daytime's most...

, and Ryan's Hope
Ryan's Hope
Ryan's Hope is an American soap opera, revolving around 13 years of trials and tribulations within a large Irish American family in the Riverside district of New York City. It aired from July 7, 1975 to January 13, 1989 on ABC...

, and the game shows The Dating Game
The Dating Game
The Dating Game is an ABC television show that first aired on December 20, 1965 and was the first of many shows created and packaged by Chuck Barris from the 1960s through the 1980s...

, The Newlywed Game
The Newlywed Game
The Newlywed Game is an American television game show that pits newly married couples against each other in a series of revealing question rounds to determine how well the spouses know each other. The program, originally created by Nick Nicholson and E. Roger Muir The Newlywed Game is an American...

, Let's Make a Deal
Let's Make a Deal
Let's Make a Deal is a television game show which originated in the United States and has since been produced in many countries throughout the world. The show is based around deals offered to members of the audience by the host. The traders usually have to weigh the possibility of an offer being...

, Split Second, The $20,000 Pyramid and Family Feud
Family Feud
Family Feud is an American television game show created by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. Two families compete against each other in a contest to name the most popular responses to a survey question posed to 100 people...

.

By the early 1970s, ABC had formed its first theatrical division, ABC Pictures, later renamed ABC Motion Pictures. It made some moneymaking films like Bob Fosse
Bob Fosse
Robert Louis “Bob” Fosse was an American actor, dancer, musical theater choreographer, director, screenwriter, film editor and film director. He won an unprecedented eight Tony Awards for choreography, as well as one for direction...

's Cabaret
Cabaret (film)
Cabaret is a 1972 musical film directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York and Joel Grey. The film is set in Berlin during the Weimar Republic in 1931, under the ominous presence of the growing National Socialist Party....

, Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

's Take the Money and Run
Take the Money and Run
Take the Money and Run is a 1969 comedy film written by Woody Allen and Mickey Rose, and directed by and starring Woody Allen. It is an early mockumentary, chronicling the life of Virgil Starkwell, a bungling petty thief...

, and Sydney Pollack
Sydney Pollack
Sydney Irwin Pollack was an American film director, producer and actor. Pollack studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, where he later taught acting...

's They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, while other films like Song of Norway
Song of Norway (film)
Song of Norway is a 1970 film adaptation of the successful operetta of the same name, directed by Andrew L. Stone.Like the play from which it derived, the film tells of the early struggles of composer Edvard Grieg and his attempts to develop an authentic Norwegian national music...

 and Candy
Candy (1968 film)
Candy is a 1968 sex farce film directed by Christian Marquand based on the 1958 novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg, from a screenplay by Buck Henry. The film satirizes pornographic stories through the adventures of its naive heroine, Candy, played by Ewa Aulin...

, were critical and box-office disasters upon release despite them both being heavily promoted while still in production. The company's later movies included Silkwood
Silkwood
Silkwood is a 1983 American drama film directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen was inspired by the true-life story of Karen Silkwood, who died in a suspicious car accident while investigating alleged wrongdoing at the Kerr-McGee plutonium plant where she...

, The Flamingo Kid
The Flamingo Kid
The Flamingo Kid is a 1984 comedy film directed by Garry Marshall, written by Marshall, Neal Marshall and Bo Goldman. It stars Matt Dillon, Richard Crenna, Hector Elizondo, and Janet Jones...

 and SpaceCamp
SpaceCamp
SpaceCamp is a 1986 American film based on a book by Patrick Bailey and Larry B. Williams and inspired by the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Directed by Harry Winer from a screenplay by Clifford Green and Casey T. Mitchell, the film stars Kate Capshaw, Kelly Preston, Larry B...

 (the latter was the last movie ABC produced for cinemas.) They also started an innovation in television, the concept of the ABC Movie of the Week
ABC Movie of the Week
The ABC Movie of the Week is a weekly television anthology series, featuring made-for-TV movies, that aired on the ABC network in various permutations from 1969 to 1975.-History:...

. 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 demographics
Demographics
Demographics are the most recent statistical characteristics of a population. These types of data are used widely in sociology , public policy, and marketing. Commonly examined demographics include gender, race, age, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, employment status, and even location...

 to tweak its programming and ad sales. ABC invested heavily in shows with wide appeal, especially situation comedies such as Happy Days
Happy Days
Happy Days is an American television sitcom that originally aired from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984, on ABC. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presents an idealized vision of life in mid-1950s to mid-1960s America....

, Barney Miller
Barney Miller
Barney Miller is a situation comedy television series set in a New York City police station in Greenwich Village. The series originally was broadcast from January 23, 1975 to May 20, 1982 on ABC. It was created by Danny Arnold and Theodore J. Flicker...

, Three's Company
Three's Company
Three's Company is an American sitcom that aired from March 15, 1977, to September 18, 1984, on ABC. It is based on the British sitcom, Man About the House....

, Taxi
Taxi (TV series)
Taxi was an American sitcom that originally aired from 1978 to 1982 on ABC and from 1982 to 1983 on NBC. The series, which won 18 Emmy Awards, including three for "Outstanding Comedy Series", focuses on the everyday lives of a handful of New York City taxi drivers and their abusive dispatcher...

 and Soap
Soap
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

. Programming head Fred Silverman
Fred Silverman
Fred Silverman is an American television executive and producer. He worked as an executive at the CBS, ABC and NBC networks, and was responsible for bringing to television such programs as the series Scooby-Doo , All in the Family , The Waltons , and Charlie's Angels , as well as the...

 was credited with reversing the network's fortunes by spinning off shows such as Laverne & Shirley
Laverne & Shirley
Laverne & Shirley is an American television situation comedy that ran on ABC from January 26, 1976, to May 10, 1983...

 and Mork and Mindy
Mork and Mindy
Mork & Mindy is an American science fiction sitcom broadcast from 1978 until 1982 on ABC. The series starred Robin Williams as Mork, an alien who comes to Earth from the planet Ork in a small, one-man egg-shaped spaceship. Pam Dawber co-starred as Mindy McConnell, his human friend and roommate...

. He also commissioned series from Aaron Spelling
Aaron Spelling
Aaron Spelling was an American film and television producer. As of 2009, Spelling's eponymous production company Spelling Television holds the record as the most prolific television writer, with 218 producer and executive producer credits...

 such as Charlie's Angels
Charlie's Angels
Charlie's Angels is a television series about three women who work for a private investigation agency, and is one of the first shows to showcase women in roles traditionally reserved for men...

, Starsky and Hutch
Starsky and Hutch
Starsky and Hutch is a 1970s American cop thriller television series that consisted of a 90-minute pilot movie and 92 episodes of 60 minutes each; created by William Blinn, produced by Spelling-Goldberg Productions, and broadcast between April 30, 1975 and May 15, 1979 on the ABC...

, S.W.A.T
S.W.A.T. (TV series)
----S.W.A.T. is a 1970s American television series about the adventures of the WCPD's Olympic Division Special Weapons And Tactics team operating in an unidentified California city....

, Hart to Hart
Hart to Hart
Hart to Hart is an American television series, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, a wealthy couple who also moonlighted as amateur detectives. The series was created by writer Sidney Sheldon and produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg...

, The Love Boat
The Love Boat
The Love Boat is an American television series set on a cruise ship, which aired on the ABC Television Network from September 24,1977, until May 24,1986.The show starred Gavin MacLeod as the ship's captain...

, Family
Family (TV series)
Family is an American television drama series that aired on ABC from 1976 to 1980. Creative control of the show was split between executive producers Leonard Goldberg, Aaron Spelling and Mike Nichols...

, Vega$
Vega$
Vega$ is an American detective television drama series that aired on ABC between 1978 and 1981. It was produced by Aaron Spelling. The series, was filmed in its entirety in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is believed to be the first television series produced entirely in Las Vegas...

, and Dynasty
Dynasty (TV series)
Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 12, 1981 to May 11, 1989. It was created by Richard & Esther Shapiro and produced by Aaron Spelling, and revolved around the Carringtons, a wealthy oil family living in Denver, Colorado...

. Furthermore, ABC acquired broadcasting rights for telecasting the annual Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 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 miniseries
Miniseries
A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

, among them QB VII
QB VII
QB VII by Leon Uris was a best seller published in 1970. This four-part novel highlights the events leading to a life-shattering libel trial in the United Kingdom.-Plot summary:...

, and Rich Man, Poor Man
Rich Man, Poor Man
Rich Man, Poor Man is a novel written by Irwin Shaw in 1969. It is the last of the novels of Shaw's middle period before he began to concentrate, in his last works such as Evening In Byzantium, Nightwork, Bread Upon The Waters, and Acceptable Losses, on the inevitability of impending death...

. The most successful, Roots
Roots (TV miniseries)
Roots is a 1977 American television miniseries based on Alex Haley's fictional novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Roots received 36 Emmy Award nominations, winning nine. It also won a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award. It received unprecedented Nielsen ratings with the finale still...

, based on Alex Haley
Alex Haley
Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was an African-American writer. He is best known as the author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family and the coauthor of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.-Early life:...

's novel, became one of the biggest hits in television history. Combined with ratings for its regular weekly series, Roots propelled ABC to a first-place finish in the national Nielsen ratings for the 1976–1977 season — this was a first in the then thirty-year history of the network. In 1983, via its revived theatrical division, ABC Motion Pictures, Silkwood
Silkwood
Silkwood is a 1983 American drama film directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen was inspired by the true-life story of Karen Silkwood, who died in a suspicious car accident while investigating alleged wrongdoing at the Kerr-McGee plutonium plant where she...

 was released in theaters, and The Day After
The Day After
The Day After is a 1983 American television movie which aired on November 20, 1983, on the ABC television network. It was seen by more than 100 million people during its initial broadcast....

 (again produced in-house by its by-then retitled television unit, ABC Circle Films) was viewed on TV by 100 million people, prompting discussion of nuclear
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

 activities taking place at the time. Another ABC Television Movie, Battlestar Galactica
Saga of a Star World
"Saga of a Star World" is the pilot for the American science fiction television series of Battlestar Galactica which was produced in 1978 by Glen A. Larson...

, which spawned the 1978 television series of the same name
Battlestar Galactica (1978 TV series)
Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction television series, created by Glen A. Larson. It starred Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict and ran for one season in 1978–79. After cancellation, its story was continued in 1980 as Galactica 1980 with Adama, Lieutenant Boomer and...

, was seen by 64 million people and at the time was the most expensive TV movie ever made.

ABC-TV began the transition from coaxial cable
Coaxial cable
Coaxial cable, or coax, has an inner conductor surrounded by a flexible, tubular insulating layer, surrounded by a tubular conducting shield. The term coaxial comes from the inner conductor and the outer shield sharing the same geometric axis...

microwave
Microwave
Microwaves, a subset of radio waves, have wavelengths ranging from as long as one meter to as short as one millimeter, or equivalently, with frequencies between 300 MHz and 300 GHz. This broad definition includes both UHF and EHF , and various sources use different boundaries...

 delivery to satellite delivery
Communications satellite
A communications satellite is an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purpose of telecommunications...

 via AT&T's Telstar 301
Telstar 301
Telstar 301 is an American communications satellite launched in July 1983 by AT&T. It was one of three Telstar 3 satellites, followed by Telstar 302 in 1984 and Telstar 303 in 1985....

. ABC maintained a West Coast feed network on Telstar 302 and, in 1991, scrambled feeds on both satellites with the Leitch system. Currently, with the Leitch system abandoned, ABC operates digital feeds on Intelsat
Intelsat
Intelsat, Ltd. is a communications satellite services provider.Originally formed as International Telecommunications Satellite Organization , it was—from 1964 to 2001—an intergovernmental consortium owning and managing a constellation of communications satellites providing international broadcast...

 Galaxy 16 and Intelsat
Intelsat
Intelsat, Ltd. is a communications satellite services provider.Originally formed as International Telecommunications Satellite Organization , it was—from 1964 to 2001—an intergovernmental consortium owning and managing a constellation of communications satellites providing international broadcast...

 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
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

.

1985–1996: The Capital Cities era


ABC's dominance carried into the early 1980s. But by 1985, veteran shows like The Love Boat
The Love Boat
The Love Boat is an American television series set on a cruise ship, which aired on the ABC Television Network from September 24,1977, until May 24,1986.The show starred Gavin MacLeod as the ship's captain...

 and Benson
Benson (TV series)
Benson is an American television sitcom which aired from September 13, 1979, to April 19, 1986, on ABC. The series was a spin-off from the soap opera parody Soap ; however, Benson discarded the...

 had run their courses, while Silverman-era hits like Three's Company
Three's Company
Three's Company is an American sitcom that aired from March 15, 1977, to September 18, 1984, on ABC. It is based on the British sitcom, Man About the House....

 and Laverne & Shirley
Laverne & Shirley
Laverne & Shirley is an American television situation comedy that ran on ABC from January 26, 1976, to May 10, 1983...

 were gone. As a resurgent NBC was leading in the ratings, ABC shifted its focus to such situation comedies as Webster
Webster (TV series)
Webster is an American situation comedy that premiered on ABC on September 16, 1983, and ran on that network until September 11, 1987, but continued in first-run syndication until 1989...

, Mr. Belvedere
Mr. Belvedere
Mr. Belvedere is an American sitcom that originally aired on ABC from March 15, 1985, until July 8, 1990. The series was based on the Lynn Aloysius Belvedere character created by Gwen Davenport for her 1947 novel Belvedere, which was later adapted into the 1948 film Sitting Pretty...

, Growing Pains
Growing Pains
Growing Pains is an American television sitcom about an affluent family, residing in Huntington, New York, with a working mother and a stay-at-home psychiatrist father raising three children together, which aired on ABC from September 24, 1985 to April 25, 1992.-Synopsis:The show's premise is based...

, and Perfect Strangers
Perfect Strangers (TV series)
Perfect Strangers is an American sitcom that ran for eight seasons from March 25, 1986, to August 6, 1993, on the ABC television network. Created by Dale McRaven, the series chronicles the rocky coexistence of midwestern American Larry Appleton and his distant cousin from eastern Mediterranean...

. During this period, while the network enjoyed huge ratings with shows like Dynasty
Dynasty (TV series)
Dynasty is an American prime time television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 12, 1981 to May 11, 1989. It was created by Richard & Esther Shapiro and produced by Aaron Spelling, and revolved around the Carringtons, a wealthy oil family living in Denver, Colorado...

, Moonlighting
Moonlighting (TV series)
Moonlighting is an American television series that aired on ABC from March 3, 1985, to May 14, 1989. The network aired a total of 66 episodes...

, MacGyver
MacGyver
MacGyver is an American action-adventure television series created by Lee David Zlotoff. Henry Winkler and John Rich were the executive producers. The show ran for seven seasons on ABC in the United States and various other networks abroad from 1985 to 1992. The series was filmed in Los Angeles...

, Who's The Boss?
Who's the Boss?
Who's the Boss? is an American sitcom created by Martin Cohan and Blake Hunter, which aired on ABC from September 20, 1984 to April 25, 1992...

, The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years is an American television comedy-drama created by Carol Black and Neal Marlens. It ran for six seasons on ABC from 1988 through 1993. The pilot aired on January 31, 1988 after ABC's coverage of Super Bowl XXII....

, Hotel
Hotel (TV series)
Hotel is an American prime time drama series which aired on ABC from September 21, 1983 to May 5, 1988 in the timeslot following Dynasty....

, and Thirtysomething, ABC seemed to have lost the momentum that propelled it in the 1970s; there was little offered that was innovative or compelling. Highly hyped shows built around big name stars like Lucille Ball
Life With Lucy
Life with Lucy is an American sitcom starring Lucille Ball. The show ran on the ABC network in 1986, and unlike Ball's previous hits on television, it was a critical and ratings flop.- Premise :...

 and Dolly Parton
Dolly (TV series)
Dolly is a television variety show that ran on ABC during the 1987-1988 season featuring Dolly Parton.-Overview:The show was an attempt at a traditional variety show, featuring music, comedy skits and various guest stars...

 were critical and commercial failures during the mid- to late-1980s. Like his counterpart at CBS, William S. Paley
William S. Paley
William S. Paley was the chief executive who built Columbia Broadcasting System from a small radio network into one of the foremost radio and television network operations in the United States.-Early life:...

, founding-father Goldenson had withdrawn to the sidelines. ABC's ratings and the earnings thus generated reflected this loss of drive. Under the circumstances, ABC was a ripe takeover target. However, no one expected the buyer to be a media company only a tenth the size of ABC, Capital Cities Communications
Capital Cities Communications
Capital Cities redirects here. For the article about the seat of a government, see Capital .Capital Cities Communications was an American media company best known for its surprise purchase of the much larger American Broadcasting Company in 1985...

.

ABC was acquired by Capital Cities in 1986 for $3.5 billion dollars, changing its corporate name to Capital Cities/ABC. The acquisition was engineered by two Capital Cities executives, Capital Cities Chairman Tom Murphy
Thomas Murphy (broadcasting)
Thomas S. Murphy is an American broadcast executive, and was chair and chief executive officer of Capital Cities / ABC, Inc. until 1996. Together with fellow Capital Cities executive Daniel Burke, Murphy engineered the 1986 acquisition of the American Broadcasting Company in 1986 for $3.5 billion...

 and Daniel Burke
Daniel Burke (executive)
Daniel Burke was an American television executive. With Capital Cities Chairman Tom Murphy, Burke spearheaded the $3.5 billion acquisition of the American Broadcasting Company in 1986 by Capital Cities, a much smaller company...

. Burke became President and Chief Executive of ABC, running the daily operations of the network until his retirement in 1994. Murphy focused on the network's long-term goals and strategies. Murphy and Burke are credited with streamlining ABC's operations and increasing profitability.

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 Orion Pictures' television division in the wake of the studio's bankruptcy (after a brief attempt at acquiring the studio itself), later merging it with its in-house division ABC Circle Films to create ABC Productions. Shows produced during this era included My So-Called Life
My So-Called Life
My So-Called Life is an American teen drama television series created by Winnie Holzman and produced by Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz. It originally aired on ABC from August 25, 1994, to January 26, 1995 and was distributed by The Bedford Falls Company with ABC Productions. Set at the...

, The Commish
The Commish
The Commish is a television series that aired on ABC in the United States from 1991 to 1996. The series focused on the work and home life of a suburban police commissioner in upstate New York....

, and American Detective
American Detective
American Detective was a police documentary television series broadcast by ABC in the United States from 1991 to 1993.American Detective featured detectives in major U.S. urban areas working on high-profile criminal cases which were often drug-related...

 (the last program mentioned was co-produced through Orion before the studio's bankruptcy). In an attempt to win viewers on Friday night, the TGIF
TGIF (ABC)
TGIF was the name of an American family-friendly prime time television programming block on the ABC network. The name comes from the initials of the popular phrase "Thank God It's Friday"...

 programming block was created. The lead programs of this time included Full House
Full House
Full House is an American sitcom television series. Set in San Francisco, the show chronicles widowed father Danny Tanner, who, after the death of his wife, enlists his best friend Joey Gladstone and his brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis to help raise his three daughters, D.J., Stephanie, and...

, Family Matters
Family Matters (TV series)
Family Matters is an American sitcom about a middle-class African-American family living in Chicago, Illinois, which ran on national television for nine full seasons. The series was a spin-off of Perfect Strangers, but revolves around the Winslow family...

, and Step by Step. These shows were family-oriented, but other shows such as Roseanne
Roseanne (TV series)
Roseanne is an American sitcom broadcast on ABC from October 18, 1988 to May 20, 1997. Starring Roseanne Barr, the show revolved around the Conners, an Illinois working class family...

 were less traditional in their worldview, but were very successful in the ratings. 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.

1996–2003: Disney purchase and network decline


In 1996, The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

 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
Cross-promotion
Cross-promotion is a form of marketing promotion where customers of one product or service are targeted with promotion of a related product. A typical example is cross-media marketing of a brand, for example Oprah Winfrey's promotion on her television show of her books, magazines and website...

, 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
Robert Iger
Robert A. "Bob" Iger is the president and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company. He was named president of Disney in 2000, and later succeeded Michael Eisner as chief executive in 2005, after a successful effort by Roy E. Disney to shake-up the management of the company...

, now heads Disney.) In 1997, ABC aired a Saturday morning block called One Saturday Morning which changed to ABC Kids
ABC Kids (United States)
ABC Kids was a children's block of animated television series and live-action children's television series. broadcast on the ABC network on Saturday–Sunday mornings in the U.S. and was broadcast on BBS/CTV in Canada until 2002...

 in 2002. It featured a 5-hour line-up of children's shows (mostly cartoons
Animated cartoon
An animated cartoon is a short, hand-drawn film for the cinema, television or computer screen, featuring some kind of story or plot...

) 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 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (US game show)
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is an American television quiz show which offers a maximum prize of $1,000,000 for correctly answering 14 consecutive multiple-choice questions of random difficulty. Until 2010, the format required contestants to correctly answer 15 consecutive questions of increasing...

. A new national phenomenon, Survivor
Survivor (U.S. TV series)
Survivor is an American version of the Survivor reality television game show, itself derived from the Swedish television series Expedition Robinson originally created in 1997 by Charlie Parsons. The series premiered on May 31, 2000 on CBS...

, on CBS persuaded the schedulers at ABC to change Millionaires slot over to the Wednesday Time slot at 8:00 to kill Survivor before it got a ratings hold. The first results were promising for CBS; they lost by only a few ratings points. ABC tried an unprecedented strategy for Millionaire by airing the show four times a week during the next Fall season, in the process overexposing the show, as it appeared on the network sometimes five or six nights during a week. ABC's ratings fell dramatically as competitors introduced their own game shows and the public grew tired of the format. Alex Wallau
Alex Wallau
Alex Wallau is a former President of the ABC television network. He began his career with ABC in 1976, when he joined the network's Sports division under Roone Arledge, then head of ABC Sports. Mr. Wallau went on to become a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer and director of ABC's sports coverage...

 took over as president in 2000. Despite the repeated overexposure of Millionaire and its switch to syndication
Television syndication
In broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast radio shows and television shows by multiple radio stations and television stations, without going through a broadcast network, though the process of syndication may conjure up structures like those of a network itself, by its very...

, ABC continued to find some success in dramas such as The Practice
The Practice
The Practice is an American legal drama created by David E. Kelley centering on the partners and associates at a Boston law firm. Running for eight seasons from 1997 to 2004, the show won the Emmy in 1998 and 1999 for Best Drama Series, and spawned the successful and lighter spin-off series Boston...

 (which gave birth to a successful spinoff, Boston Legal
Boston Legal
Boston Legal is an American legal dramedy created by David E. Kelley, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for the ABC...

, in 2004), Alias
Alias (TV series)
Alias is an American action television series created by J. J. Abrams which was broadcast on ABC for five seasons, from September 30, 2001 to May 22, 2006...

, and Once and Again
Once and Again
Once and Again is an American television series that aired on ABC from September 21, 1999 to April 15, 2002. It depicts the family of a single mother and her romance with a single father...

. ABC also had some moderately successful comedies including The Drew Carey Show
The Drew Carey Show
The Drew Carey Show is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from 1995 to 2004. The show was set in Cleveland, Ohio, and revolved around the retail office and home life of "everyman" Drew Carey, a fictionalized version of the actor....

, Spin City
Spin City
Spin City is an American sitcom television series that aired from September 17, 1996 until April 30, 2002 on the ABC network. Created by Gary David Goldberg and Bill Lawrence, the show was based on a fictional local government running New York City, and originally starred Michael J. Fox as Mike...

, Dharma & Greg
Dharma & Greg
Dharma & Greg is an American television sitcom that aired from September 24, 1997, to April 30, 2002.It starred Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson as Dharma and Greg Montgomery, a couple who married instantly on their first date despite being complete opposites...

, According to Jim
According to Jim
According to Jim is an American sitcom television series starring Jim Belushi in the title role as a suburban father of three children. It originally ran on ABC from October 3, 2001 to June 2, 2009.-Synopsis:Jim is an abrasive but lovable suburban father...

, My Wife and Kids
My Wife and Kids
My Wife and Kids is an American television family sitcom that ran on ABC from March 28, 2001 until May 17, 2005. Produced by Touchstone Television , it starred Damon Wayans and Tisha Campbell-Martin, and centers on the character of Michael Kyle, a loving husband and modern-day patriarch who rules...

, 8 Simple Rules
8 Simple Rules
8 Simple Rules is an American sitcom that originally aired on ABC from September 17, 2002, to April 15, 2005, with 76 episodes produced over three seasons. It is based on the self-improvement book of the same name. The show starred John Ritter until his death on September 11, 2003...

 and The George Lopez Show.

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
A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas is the first prime-time animated TV special based upon the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. It was produced and directed by former Warner Bros. and UPA animator Bill Melendez, who also supplied the voice for the character of Snoopy...

 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
Digital television transition
The digital television transition is the process in which analog television broadcasting is converted to and replaced by digital television. This primarily involves both TV stations and over-the-air viewers; however it also involves content providers like TV networks, and cable television...

 mandated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 (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 Are You Hot?
Are You Hot?
Are You Hot?: The Search for America's Sexiest People is an American reality television series that premiered February 13, 2003 on ABC. A panel of judges including Lorenzo Lamas, Rachel Hunter, and Randolph Duke evaluated contestants on the sole criterion of their physical attractiveness...

 and the first American iteration of 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.

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 Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama series created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. Executive producer Cherry serves as Showrunner. Other executive producers since the fourth season include Marc Cherry, Bob Daily, George W...

, and Lost
Lost (TV series)
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

. Immediately, the network's ratings skyrocketed to unprecedented levels thanks in part to the shows' critical praises, high publicity, and heavy marketing over the summer. It followed up its prosperity with the premieres of Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy is an American medical drama television series created by Shonda Rhimes. The series premiered on March 27, 2005 on ABC; since then, seven seasons have aired. The series follows the lives of interns, residents and their mentors in the fictional Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital in...

 in 2005, and in 2006, the dramedy Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty is an American comedy-drama television series developed by Silvio Horta, which premiered on ABC on September 28, 2006, and ended on April 14, 2010. The series revolves around the character Betty Suarez and is based on Fernando Gaitán's Colombian telenovela soap opera Yo soy Betty, la fea...

 (the last mentioned program is based on a popular international telenovela
Betty la fea
Yo soy Betty, la fea is a popular soap opera filmed in Colombia, written by Fernando Gaitán and produced between 1999 through 2001 by the Colombian network RCN . More than a dozen versions of the telenovela have been made in other countries...

), which were all popular among viewers and critically acclaimed.

ABC finally found reality television prosperity first with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a reality television series providing home renovations for less fortunate families and community schools etc...

 in 2003 and then with Dancing with the Stars
Dancing with the Stars (US TV series)
Dancing with the Stars is a reality show airing on ABC in the United States, and CTV in Canada in 2011. The show is the American version of the British BBC television series Strictly Come Dancing...

 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
Shaq's Big Challenge
Shaq's Big Challenge is a reality television show hosted by Shaquille O'Neal that debuted on ABC with its first episode on June 26, 2007, and concluded its first season on July 31, 2007. It featured Shaq's efforts to help six severely obese middle school aged children from Broward County, Florida...

, Fat March
Fat March
Fat March is an American reality television series on the ABC network, based on the U.K. Channel Four series Too Big To Walk. It premiered on August 6, 2007 and ended on September 10, 2007.The show had received mixed reactions from fitness experts....

, and Brat Camp
Brat Camp
Brat Camp is a reality TV show.The first season, featuring RedCliff Ascent, won an International Emmy. Subsequent seasons saw declining viewership. The American version of Brat Camp was cancelled after its one-season run, but is being aired in Canada on Slice as of early 2007...

. 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
The One: Making a Music Star
The One: Making a Music Star was an American reality television series that aired in July 2006 on ABC in the United States, and CBC Television in Canada. The show was hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos, known to Canadian viewers as the host of CBC's The Hour...

, 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
American Idol
American Idol, titled American Idol: The Search for a Superstar for the first season, is a reality television singing competition created by Simon Fuller and produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment...

 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 Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football is a live broadcast of the National Football League on ESPN. From to it aired on ABC. Monday Night Football was, along with Hallmark Hall of Fame, and the Walt Disney anthology television series, one of the longest running prime time commercial network television series...

 franchise in 2006. (NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 began showing its own series of games on Sunday nights in ESPN's old timeslot.) Beginning that fall, all sports broadcasts on ABC would be presented under the "ESPN on ABC
ESPN on ABC
ESPN on ABC is the brand used for sports programming on the ABC television network. Officially the broadcast network retains its own sports division; however, for all practical purposes, ABC's sports division has been merged with ESPN, a sports cable network majority-owned by ABC's parent, The...

" 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 miniseries
Miniseries
A miniseries , in a serial storytelling medium, is a television show production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. The exact number is open to interpretation; however, they are usually limited to fewer than a whole season. The term "miniseries" is generally a North American term...

 The Path to 9/11
The Path to 9/11
The Path to 9/11 was a two-part miniseries that aired in the United States on ABC television from September 10 – 11, 2006, and also in other countries. The film dramatizes the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York City and the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks.The film...

 in September 2006 on the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The docudrama
Docudrama
In film, television programming and staged theatre, docudrama is a documentary-style genre that features dramatized re-enactments of actual historical events. As a neologism, the term is often confused with docufiction....

 was widely criticized, especially from 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
ABC News Now
ABC News Now is an American 24-hour news channel offered via digital television, broadband and streaming video at ABCNews.com and on mobile phones. It delivers breaking news, headline news each half hour, and wide range of entertainment and lifestyle programs. The channel is currently available in...

. 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
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

. Buena Vista Television
Buena Vista Television
Disney-ABC Domestic Television is the domestic television syndication firm of the Disney-ABC Television Group, a division of The Walt Disney Company, that handles the television distribution of product from Walt Disney Television, Walt Disney Television Animation, BVS Entertainment, and ABC...

, the studio's syndication
Television syndication
In broadcasting, syndication is the sale of the right to broadcast radio shows and television shows by multiple radio stations and television stations, without going through a broadcast network, though the process of syndication may conjure up structures like those of a network itself, by its very...

 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, podcast
Podcast
A podcast is a series of digital media files that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication...

ing, and mobile device-specific content from the network. 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.

2007–present: The writers' strike and loss of steam


The writer's strike of 2007–2008
2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike
The 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, more commonly referred to as simply the Writers' Strike, was a strike by the Writers Guild of America, East and the Writers Guild of America, West ....

 would put a damper on ABC's schedule that season like other networks, and it would be particularly bad on most of its new pilots, in which a lot of them (Dirty Sexy Money
Dirty Sexy Money
Dirty Sexy Money is an American prime time drama series created by Craig Wright, which ran on the ABC from September 26, 2007 to August 8, 2009. The series was produced by ABC Studios, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Berlanti Television and Gross Entertainment...

, Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies is an American comedy-drama television series created by Bryan Fuller that aired on ABC from October 3, 2007 to June 13, 2009. The series stars Lee Pace as Ned, a pie-maker with the ability to bring dead things back to life with his touch, an ability that comes with stipulations...

, and Samantha Who?
Samantha Who?
Samantha Who? is an American television sitcom that originally aired on ABC from October 15, 2007 to July 23, 2009. The series was created by Cecelia Ahern and Don Todd, who also served as producers...

 among others) would not live to see a third season after the 2008–2009 season.

The writer's strike continued to affect the network in the 2008–2009 season (in a lesser extent though) as more series such as Boston Legal
Boston Legal
Boston Legal is an American legal dramedy created by David E. Kelley, which was produced in association with 20th Century Fox Television for the ABC...

 and the U.S. version of Life on Mars
Life on Mars (U.S. TV series)
Life on Mars was a science fiction crime drama television series which originally aired on ABC from October 9, 2008 to April 1, 2009. It is an adaptation of the BAFTA-winning original UK series of the same name produced by the BBC...

 suffered from low viewership, despite the former being a once-highlighted breakout show on the network.

In early 2009, Disney-ABC Television Group
Disney-ABC Television Group
Disney-ABC Television Group manages all of The Walt Disney Company's worldwide entertainment and news television properties...

 merged ABC Entertainment
ABC Entertainment
ABC Entertainment is a network production company owned by ABC that was created in 1982.The company was previously known as ABC Television Network Productions, ABC Circle Films, and ABC Productions...

 and ABC Studios into a new division called ABC Entertainment Group, which would be responsible for both production and broadcasting. Disney-ABC Television Group planned to reduce its workforce by 5% during this reorganization.

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 5 shows premiered, 3 of them, Cougar Town
Cougar Town
Cougar Town is an American television sitcom that premiered on ABC on September 23, 2009. The series focuses on a recently divorced woman in her forties facing the often humorous challenges, pitfalls and rewards of life's next chapter, along with her son, ex-husband, and friends who together make...

, The Middle
The Middle (TV series)
The Middle is an American situation comedy television series that premiered on ABC on September 30, 2009. The show features Frances "Frankie" Heck , a working-class, Midwestern woman married to Mike Heck who resides in the small fictional town of Orson, Indiana. They are the parents of three...

, and the most successful and critically acclaimed of them, Modern Family
Modern Family
Modern Family is an American television comedy series created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, which debuted on ABC on September 23, 2009. Lloyd and Levitan serve as showrunner and executive producers, under their Levitan-Lloyd Productions label...

, would be renewed for a second season; these half-hour comedies forming ABC's new "Comedy Wednesday" block (branded "Laugh On" by the network). On the flip side however, every single new drama that season except for one, V
V (2009 TV series)
V is an American science fiction television series that ran for two seasons on ABC, from November 3, 2009 to March 15, 2011. A remake of the 1983 miniseries created by Kenneth Johnson, the new series chronicles the arrival on Earth of a technologically advanced alien species which ostensibly comes...

, would be ultimately canceled by the end of the season, although Castle
Castle (TV series)
Castle is an American comedy-drama television series, which premiered on ABC on March 9, 2009. The series is produced by Beacon Pictures and ABC Studios. On January 10, 2011, Castle was renewed for a fourth season...

, a midseason replacement from the previous season and one of ABC's only successful procedurals to date, was also renewed. NBC would nearly tie ABC (thanks to help from the 2010 Winter Olympics) for 3rd place that year in viewings.

In March 2010, Disney has considered spinning off ABC into an independent broadcasting company, adding that "it doesn't add a lot of value to Disney's other divisions." They have entered advanced negotiations with two private equity firms to sell ABC; however, the sale was canceled in May 26 because some Disney executives tried to sell it to the FBI instead.

In 2010, Lost
Lost (TV series)
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

 finally ended after six seasons which had been receiving its lowest ratings ever since its inception back in 2004. The once-instant hit show Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty is an American comedy-drama television series developed by Silvio Horta, which premiered on ABC on September 28, 2006, and ended on April 14, 2010. The series revolves around the character Betty Suarez and is based on Fernando Gaitán's Colombian telenovela soap opera Yo soy Betty, la fea...

 collapsed dramatically in ratings due to the show being moved to the infamous Friday night death slot
Friday night death slot
The Friday night death slot is a perceived graveyard slot in American television, referring to the concept that a television program in the United States scheduled on Friday evenings is destined for imminent cancellation....

 and after an unsuccessful attempt to boost ratings by moving it onto Wednesday nights, the show was ultimately cancelled which resulted in receiving negative reactions from the public, particularly from the show's fanbase. With the network's former two hit shows now out of the picture, the network's remaining top two veteran shows Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama series created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. Executive producer Cherry serves as Showrunner. Other executive producers since the fourth season include Marc Cherry, Bob Daily, George W...

 and Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy is an American medical drama television series created by Shonda Rhimes. The series premiered on March 27, 2005 on ABC; since then, seven seasons have aired. The series follows the lives of interns, residents and their mentors in the fictional Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital in...

, and another hit show Brothers & Sisters, have recorded their lowest ratings ever, a trademark that still continues in their current seasons in the 2010–2011 television schedule. Similarly, their new dramas for 2010–2011 have continued to fail, with only Body of Proof
Body of Proof
Body of Proof is an American medical drama television series created by Chris Murphey and produced by ABC Studios. Starring Dana Delany as medical examiner Dr. Megan Hunt, the series premiered on March 29, 2011 on ABC....

 being renewed for a second season. The network also struggled to establish new comedies to go with the previous year's debuts, with only late-season premiere Happy Endings
Happy Endings (TV series)
Happy Endings is an American television series for the ABC network. The single-camera ensemble comedy premiered on April 13, 2011, as a midseason replacement, with a one-hour premiere of two back-to-back episodes starting at 9:30 pm ET/PT...

 earning a second season. Meanwhile, the new lows hit by Brothers & Sisters led to its cancellation, and the previous year's only drama renewal, V, also failed to earn another season after a low-rated mid-season run. Despite this and another noticeable ratings decline, ABC would manage to outrate NBC for third by a larger margin than the previous year.

With relatively little buzz surrounding its 2010–2011 pilots, and a sexual harassment suit against Stephen McPherson, he resigned as ABC Entertainment Group president on July 27, 2010. His replacement, Paul Lee, was announced the same day.

With the cancellation of Supernanny
Supernanny
Supernanny is a reality TV programme which originated in the United Kingdom about parents struggling with their children's behaviour. The UK version has aired on Channel 4 with E4 showing repeats since 2004. The program returned in 2010...

 in 2011, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a reality television series providing home renovations for less fortunate families and community schools etc...

 is currently the only series to be broadcast in 4:3 standard definition on the network's schedule.

Since the launch of ABC's gloss logo in September 2008, 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 ABC.com and Hulu
Hulu
Hulu is a website and over-the-top subscription service offering ad-supported on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from NBC, Fox, ABC, and Obstacle on October 20th 2011 Nickelodeon and CBS and many other...

 with the local station logo as the digital on-screen bug, which is determined by ZIP code
ZIP Code
ZIP codes are a system of postal codes used by the United States Postal Service since 1963. The term ZIP, an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, is properly written in capital letters and was chosen to suggest that the mail travels more efficiently, and therefore more quickly, when senders use the...

 and IP address
IP address
An Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to each device participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing...

, along with the local affiliate logo after a network commercial break. Philadelphia's WPVI-TV
WPVI-TV
WPVI-TV, channel 6, is an owned-and-operated television station of the Walt Disney Company-owned American Broadcasting Company, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. WPVI has its studios located on the border between Philadelphia and Bala Cynwyd, and its transmitter is located in the...

 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.

ABC is also unique in the industry for branding their shows as "ABC's [Name of Program]" in promotional advertising, in line with parent corporation Disney's (and Pixar's) upfront branding on their television shows and films, and for productions by ABC Studios having the words "An ABC Studios Production" placed in the opening credits
Opening credits
In a motion picture, television program, or video game, the opening credits are shown at the very beginning and list the most important members of the production. They are now usually shown as text superimposed on a blank screen or static pictures, or sometimes on top of action in the show. There...

 after a program's title card, before the listing of actors.

History with Disney


In 1954, the Walt Disney anthology television series, under the title Disneyland, began showing not only programs made exclusively for television by the Disney studio, but also edited versions of some of the studio's theatrical films, such as Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland (1951 film)
Alice in Wonderland is a 1951 American animated feature produced by Walt Disney and based primarily on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with a few additional elements from Through the Looking-Glass. Thirteenth in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film was released in New...

. Occasionally, a full-length film would be shown, such as Treasure Island
Treasure Island (1950 film)
Treasure Island is a 1950 Disney adventure film, adapted from the Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. It starred Bobby Driscoll as Jim Hawkins, and Robert Newton as Long John Silver...

, but these would be divided into two one-hour episodes. Disneyland, which premiered in conjunction with the impending opening of Disney's theme park of the same name, changed its name to Walt Disney Presents in 1958.

Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

 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
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

 struck a deal with NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 to move the show to their network. At the time, NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 was owned by RCA
RCA
RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

, 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).

The 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 Radio Disney
Radio Disney
Radio Disney is a radio network based in Burbank, California and headquartered out of the Disney Channel headquarters on West Alameda Ave., from where it has been based since November 2008. Prior to that, the network was based in Dallas, Texas...

 and ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio
ESPN Radio is an American sports radio network. It was launched on January 1, 1992 under the original banner of "SportsRadio ESPN." ESPN Radio is located at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut...

) would be spun off and merged with Citadel Broadcasting Corporation. In March 2007 the Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, created, Congressional statute , and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current President. The FCC works towards six goals in the areas of broadband, competition, the spectrum, the...

 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 becomes 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 Clear Channel Communications
Clear Channel Communications
Clear Channel Communications, Inc. is an American media conglomerate company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. It was founded in 1972 by Lowry Mays and Red McCombs, and was taken private by Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP in a leveraged buyout in 2008...

) and CNN (via Westwood One
Westwood One
Westwood One was an American radio network and was based in New York City. At one time, it was managed by CBS Radio, the radio arm of CBS Corporation, and Viacom and was later purchased by the private equity firm The Gores Group...

) have a significant radio presence.

Citadel is now owned by Cumulus.

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, the late 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 America's Funniest Home Videos
America's Funniest Home Videos
America's Funniest Home Videos is an American reality television program on ABC in which viewers are able to send in humorous homemade videotapes. The most common videos usually feature slapstick physical comedy arising from incidents, accidents and mishaps...

, General Hospital
General Hospital
General Hospital is an American daytime television drama that is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running American soap opera currently in production and the third longest running drama in television in American history after Guiding Light and As the World Turns....

, and ABC News productions), although Disney-ABC Domestic Television (formerly known as Buena Vista Television
Buena Vista Distribution
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is a motion picture and television feature distribution company owned by Disney Enterprises, Inc. Buena Vista International was the international distribution arm, Buena Vista Home Entertainment was the firm's video and DVD distribution arm, and Buena Vista...

) handles domestic TV distribution, while Disney-ABC International Television
Disney-ABC International Television
Disney-ABC International Television is responsible for The Walt Disney Company's branded and non-branded filmed entertainment distribution, now distributing more than 30,000 hours of content to over 1300 broadcasters across 240 territories worldwide.The television distributor licenses movies from...

 (formerly known as Buena Vista International Television) handles international TV distribution.

Worldwide video rights are currently owned by various companies, for example, MGM Home Entertainment
MGM Home Entertainment
MGM Home Entertainment is the home video and DVD arm of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.-History:The home video division of MGM started in 1979 as MGM Home Video, releasing all the movies and TV shows by MGM. In 1980, MGM joined forces with CBS Video Enterprises, the home video division of the CBS television...

 via 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the home video distribution arm of the 20th Century Fox film studio. It was established in 1976 as Magnetic Video Corporation, and later as 20th Century Fox Video, CBS/Fox Video and FoxVideo, Inc....

 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 CBS Television Distribution
CBS Television Distribution
CBS Television Distribution is a global television distribution company, formed from the merger of CBS Corporation's two domestic television distribution arms CBS Paramount Domestic Television and King World Productions, including its home entertainment arm CBS Home Entertainment...

 (via predecessor company Paramount Television
Paramount Television
Paramount Television was an American television production/distribution company that was active from January 1, 1968 to August 27, 2006.Its successor is CBS Television Studios, formerly CBS Paramount Television...

's acquisition of Worldvision Enterprises in 1999).

Programming




ABC presently operates on a 92½-hour regular network programming schedule. It 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. Programming will also be provided 11 am – 4 p.m. weekdays (currently the talk show The View and soaps All My Children
All My Children
All My Children is an American television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 5, 1970 to September 23, 2011. Created by Agnes Nixon, All My Children is set in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, a fictitious suburb of Philadelphia. The show features Susan Lucci as Erica Kane, one of daytime's most...

, One Life to Live
One Life to Live
One Life to Live is an American soap opera which debuted on July 15, 1968 and has been broadcast on the ABC television network. Created by Agnes Nixon, the series was the first daytime drama to primarily feature racially and socioeconomically diverse characters and consistently emphasize social...

 and General Hospital
General Hospital
General Hospital is an American daytime television drama that is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running American soap opera currently in production and the third longest running drama in television in American history after Guiding Light and As the World Turns....

); 7–9 a.m. weekdays (Good Morning America
Good Morning America
Good Morning America is an American morning news and talk show that is broadcast on the ABC television network; it debuted on November 3, 1975. The weekday program airs for two hours; a third hour aired between 2007 and 2008 exclusively on ABC News Now...

) along with one-hour weekend editions; nightly editions of ABC World News, the Sunday political talk show This Week
This Week (ABC TV series)
This Week is ABC's Sunday morning political affairs program.The Sunday morning talk show has aired on Sunday mornings on ABC since 1981; the program is initially aired at 9:00 AM ET, although many stations air the program later, especially those in other time zones...

, early morning news programs World News Now
World News Now
World News Now is an American overnight news program broadcast on American Broadcasting Company's television network. Its tone is often lighthearted, irreverent and humorous...

 and America This Morning and the late night newsmagazine Nightline; the late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!; and a three-hour Saturday morning live-action/animation block under the name ABC Kids.

In addition, sports (or sometimes other) programming is also provided weekend afternoons any time from 12–6 pm (all times ET/PT). When no sports are scheduled on one or both weekend afternoons, ABC will provide 1–2 hours of filler programming (either reality shows or movies) in the afternoon hours, usually airing in the late afternoon between 4–6 pm ET/PT.

Daytime


ABC currently airs two soap operas on its daytime schedule: One Life to Live
One Life to Live
One Life to Live is an American soap opera which debuted on July 15, 1968 and has been broadcast on the ABC television network. Created by Agnes Nixon, the series was the first daytime drama to primarily feature racially and socioeconomically diverse characters and consistently emphasize social...

 and General Hospital
General Hospital
General Hospital is an American daytime television drama that is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running American soap opera currently in production and the third longest running drama in television in American history after Guiding Light and As the World Turns....

, though One Life to Live will go off the air in January 2012.

Notable ABC Daytime
ABC Daytime
ABC Daytime is a programming block on the ABC Network which has historically encompassed soap operas, game shows and talk shows.-Schedule:...

 soaps of the past include All My Children
All My Children
All My Children is an American television soap opera that aired on ABC from January 5, 1970 to September 23, 2011. Created by Agnes Nixon, All My Children is set in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, a fictitious suburb of Philadelphia. The show features Susan Lucci as Erica Kane, one of daytime's most...

 (1970–2011), Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows is a gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971. The show was created by Dan Curtis. The story bible, which was written by Art Wallace, does not mention any supernatural elements...

 (1966–1971), Ryan's Hope
Ryan's Hope
Ryan's Hope is an American soap opera, revolving around 13 years of trials and tribulations within a large Irish American family in the Riverside district of New York City. It aired from July 7, 1975 to January 13, 1989 on ABC...

 (1975–1989), Loving
Loving (TV series)
Caden Grant Carlton loves Mika Ayako Ryan more.Loving is an American television soap opera which aired on ABC's daytime lineup from June 26, 1983 to November 10, 1995 for 3,169 episodes...

 (1983–1995), The City (1995–1997), and Port Charles
Port Charles
Port Charles was a daytime soap opera which aired on ABC from June 2, 1997 to October 3, 2003. It is a spin-off of the serial General Hospital, which has been running since 1963 and takes place in the fictional city of Port Charles, New York...

 (1997–2003). ABC also aired the last nine years of The Edge of Night
The Edge of Night
The Edge of Night is an American television mystery series/soap opera produced by Procter & Gamble. It debuted on CBS on April 2, 1956, and ran as a live broadcast on that network until November 28, 1975; the series then moved to ABC, where it aired from December 1, 1975, until December 28, 1984...

 (1975–1984) after that series was dropped by CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

, although many ABC affiliates did not air the show during that time.

ABC Daytime also airs The View, which has been on since 1997, and The Chew
The Chew
The Chew is an American talk show/cooking show that airs in the United States on ABC as part of the network's weekday daytime lineup, centering on food-related and lifestyle topics. The program also airs in Canada on the stations of the Citytv television system.It premiered on September 26, 2011 ...

, a lifestyle/interview program which debuted in 2011.

ABC's daytime game shows over the years have included The Dating Game
The Dating Game
The Dating Game is an ABC television show that first aired on December 20, 1965 and was the first of many shows created and packaged by Chuck Barris from the 1960s through the 1980s...

 (1965–1973), The Newlywed Game
The Newlywed Game
The Newlywed Game is an American television game show that pits newly married couples against each other in a series of revealing question rounds to determine how well the spouses know each other. The program, originally created by Nick Nicholson and E. Roger Muir The Newlywed Game is an American...

 (1966–1974 and 1984), Let's Make a Deal
Let's Make a Deal
Let's Make a Deal is a television game show which originated in the United States and has since been produced in many countries throughout the world. The show is based around deals offered to members of the audience by the host. The traders usually have to weigh the possibility of an offer being...

 (1968–1976), Password (1971–1975), Split Second (1972–1975), The $10,000/$20,000 Pyramid
Pyramid (game show)
Pyramid is an American television game show which has aired several versions. The original series, The $10,000 Pyramid, debuted March 26, 1973 and spawned seven subsequent Pyramid series...

 (1974–1980), Family Feud
Family Feud
Family Feud is an American television game show created by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. Two families compete against each other in a contest to name the most popular responses to a survey question posed to 100 people...

 (1976–1985), The Better Sex
The Better Sex
The Better Sex was a television game show in the United States where men competed against women in a "battle of the sexes" format. The Mark Goodson-Bill Todman production ran on ABC from July 18, 1977 to January 13, 1978. The show had two hosts, one male and one female; each one acted as a leader...

 (1977–1978), Trivia Trap
Trivia Trap
Trivia Trap is an American game show produced by Mark Goodson Productions. It was created by producer Goodson and originally ran from October 8, 1984 to April 5, 1985 on ABC. The game featured two teams of three contestants each who competed against each other to answer trivia questions in various...

 (1984–1985), All-Star Blitz (1985) and Hot Streak
Bruce Forsyth's Hot Streak
Bruce Forsyth's Hot Streak is an American television game show that aired on ABC from January 6 to April 4, 1986. British television personality Bruce Forsyth hosted the series, the only time he hosted a series outside of his native United Kingdom...

 (1986). During the 1990–91 season, a short-lived revival of Match Game
Match Game
Match Game is an American television game show in which contestants attempted to match celebrities' answers to fill-in-the-blank questions...

 became the last game show to be broadcast on ABC's daytime lineup. However, ABC's syndication wing distributes Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (US game show)
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is an American television quiz show which offers a maximum prize of $1,000,000 for correctly answering 14 consecutive multiple-choice questions of random difficulty. Until 2010, the format required contestants to correctly answer 15 consecutive questions of increasing...

.

Children's programming



For most of the network's existence, in regards to children's programming, ABC has aired mostly programming from Walt Disney Television
Walt Disney Television
Walt Disney Television was the former name of the television production division of The Walt Disney Company.-History:It was formed in 1983, as the Walt Disney Pictures Television Division, the name was later shortened to Walt Disney Television in the mid-1980s...

 or other producers (most notably, Hanna-Barbera Productions
Hanna-Barbera
Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. was an American animation studio that dominated North American television animation during the second half of the 20th century...

 and DIC Entertainment
DiC Entertainment
DIC Entertainment was an international film and television production company. In addition to animated television shows such as Ulysses 31 , Inspector Gadget , The Littles , The Real Ghostbusters , Captain Planet and the Planeteers , and the first two seasons of the English adaptation of...

). The crown jewel of its children's programming lineup was the award-winning Schoolhouse Rock!
Schoolhouse Rock!
Schoolhouse Rock! is an American interstitial programming series of animated musical educational short films that aired during the Saturday morning children's programming on the U.S. television network ABC. The topics covered included grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics...

 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 Disney's One Saturday Morning. It featured many programs (mostly animated series) from Walt Disney Television. In 2001, ABC began a deal with sister network Disney Channel
Disney Channel
Disney Channel is an American basic cable and satellite television network, owned by the Disney-ABC Television Group division of The Walt Disney Company. It is under the direction of Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney. The channel's headquarters is located on West Alameda Ave. in...

 to air its original programming. Originally, the lineup aired only a couple of Disney Channel series, Lizzie McGuire
Lizzie McGuire
Lizzie McGuire is an American teen sitcom which premiered on the Disney Channel on January 12, 2001 and ended February 14, 2004. A total of 65 episodes were produced and aired. Its target demographic was preteens and adolescents...

 and Even Stevens
Even Stevens
Even Stevens is an American comedy television series that aired on Disney Channel with a total of three seasons and 65 episodes from June 17, 2000, to June 2, 2003...

, but has since grown to take up the entire lineup which was rebranded as ABC Kids on September 14, 2002. By 2010, Power Rangers
Power Rangers
Power Rangers is a long-running American entertainment and merchandising franchise built around a live action children's television series featuring teams of costumed heroes...

 was the last program on ABC Kids that did not air on Disney Channel; it was removed on August 29, 2010, leaving affiliates with this slot. As of summer 2011, the entire ABC Kids lineup had been in reruns for several years, consisting primarily of reruns of shows that had already ended their runs on Disney Channel; no new episodes were added into rotation after approximately 2007 (as a result, shows such as Hannah Montana
Hannah Montana
Hannah Montana is an American television series, which debuted on March 24, 2006 on the Disney Channel. The series focuses on a girl who lives a double life as an average teenage school girl named Miley Stewart by day and a famous pop singer named Hannah Montana by night, concealing her real...

 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, Disney Channel
Disney Channel
Disney Channel is an American basic cable and satellite television network, owned by the Disney-ABC Television Group division of The Walt Disney Company. It is under the direction of Disney-ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney. The channel's headquarters is located on West Alameda Ave. in...

. On June 18 of that year, Disney Channel launched Toonin' Saturday, featuring that channel's animated programming. ABC Kids was canceled in September, with ABC outsourcing its Saturday morning block to Litton Entertainment
Litton Entertainment
Litton Entertainment is a media company based in Charleston, South Carolina, with offices in New York City; Burbank, California; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia and Raleigh, North Carolina.The company was founded in 1987 by President and CEO Dave Morgan....

. Litton will produce the ABC Weekend Adventure
ABC Weekend Adventure
Litton's Weekend Adventure is a block of live-action children's television series programmed by Litton Entertainment that is broadcast on the ABC network on Saturday mornings...

, which will comprise E/I
E/I
E/I, which stands for "educational and informative," refers to a type of children's television programming shown in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission requires that every full-service Terrestrial television station in the U.S. show at least three hours of these television...

 compliant live action programming, including new series by wildlife experts Jeff Corwin
Jeff Corwin
Jeffrey Scott Corwin is an American animal and nature conservationist, best known as host and executive producer of Animal Planet cable channel television programs, The Jeff Corwin Experience and Corwin's Quest.-Early years:...

 and Jack Hanna
Jack Hanna
John Bushnell "Jack" Hanna is an American zookeeper who is the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He was Director of the zoo from 1978 to 1993, and is viewed as largely responsible for elevating its quality and reputation. His media appearances have made him one of the most...

.

ABC.com Full Episode Player


ABC.com was the first network website to offer full-length episodes online from May–June 2006. Beginning with the 2006–2007 television season, ABC.com 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, ABC.com 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 1280x720 resolution from such series as Lost
Lost (TV series)
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

, Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama series created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. Executive producer Cherry serves as Showrunner. Other executive producers since the fourth season include Marc Cherry, Bob Daily, George W...

, Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy
Grey's Anatomy is an American medical drama television series created by Shonda Rhimes. The series premiered on March 27, 2005 on ABC; since then, seven seasons have aired. The series follows the lives of interns, residents and their mentors in the fictional Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital in...

, General Hospital
General Hospital
General Hospital is an American daytime television drama that is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running American soap opera currently in production and the third longest running drama in television in American history after Guiding Light and As the World Turns....

 and Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty
Ugly Betty is an American comedy-drama television series developed by Silvio Horta, which premiered on ABC on September 28, 2006, and ended on April 14, 2010. The series revolves around the character Betty Suarez and is based on Fernando Gaitán's Colombian telenovela soap opera Yo soy Betty, la fea...

. In conjunction with the launch of the new season in September, a more robust HD programming lineup will be offered. This fall ABC.com'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.

ABC On Demand


On November 20, 2006, ABC and Comcast
Comcast
Comcast Corporation is the largest cable operator, home Internet service provider, and fourth largest home telephone service provider in the United States, providing cable television, broadband Internet, and telephone service to both residential and commercial customers in 39 states and the...

 reached a landmark deal to offer hit shows (Lost
Lost (TV series)
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

 and Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama series created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. Executive producer Cherry serves as Showrunner. Other executive producers since the fourth season include Marc Cherry, Bob Daily, George W...

) through Video on demand
Video on demand
Video on Demand or Audio and Video On Demand are systems which allow users to select and watch/listen to video or audio content on demand...

.

On February 25, 2008, ABC said it will release hit shows (Lost
Lost (TV series)
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

 and Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama series created by Marc Cherry and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. Executive producer Cherry serves as Showrunner. Other executive producers since the fourth season include Marc Cherry, Bob Daily, George W...

) for free over video on demand services, including Comcast
Comcast
Comcast Corporation is the largest cable operator, home Internet service provider, and fourth largest home telephone service provider in the United States, providing cable television, broadband Internet, and telephone service to both residential and commercial customers in 39 states and the...

; only this time, viewers who watch the shows on demand will not be able to fast forward through supported commercial advertisements.

ABC on Demand is also available on DirecTV
DirecTV
DirecTV is an American direct broadcast satellite service provider and broadcaster based in El Segundo, California. Its satellite service, launched on June 17, 1994, transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States, Latin America, and the Anglophone Caribbean. ...

 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.

ABC1


Launched September 27, 2004, ABC1 was a British digital channel available on the Freeview (digital terrestrial), Sky Digital
Sky Digital (UK & Ireland)
Sky is the brand name for British Sky Broadcasting's digital satellite television and radio service, transmitted from SES Astra satellites located at 28.2° east and Eutelsat's Eurobird 1 satellite at 28.5°E. The service was originally launched as Sky Digital, distinguishing it from the original...

 (satellite) and Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

 (cable) services owned and operated by ABC Inc.. Its schedule was a selection of past and present American shows, nearly all produced by ABC Studios, and was offered 24 hours a day on the digital satellite and digital cable platforms, and from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the Freeview platform. Since ABC1's launch, it had aired the long-running soap General Hospital
General Hospital
General Hospital is an American daytime television drama that is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running American soap opera currently in production and the third longest running drama in television in American history after Guiding Light and As the World Turns....

, making it the only U.S. daytime soap to air new episodes in the UK; however, in late 2005, it was pulled off the air due to low ratings. It was announced in September 2007 that the channel was to close in October because a 24-hour slot on the digital terrestrial platform could not be gained, and a corporate decision to focus on the Disney brand in the United Kingdom.
ABC1 closed on Wednesday September 26 at around 12:00 pm, which was earlier than the original closing date of October 1.

See also


  • ABC Daytime
    ABC Daytime
    ABC Daytime is a programming block on the ABC Network which has historically encompassed soap operas, game shows and talk shows.-Schedule:...

  • American Broadcasting Company logos
    American Broadcasting Company logos
    The American Broadcasting Company has used a variety of logos since 1948 to identify its television network.-Early logos:One of the earliest logos for the television network was a microphone with the letters "ABC" aligned vertically within in it in capital letters , and the letters T and V on...

  • ESPN on ABC
    ESPN on ABC
    ESPN on ABC is the brand used for sports programming on the ABC television network. Officially the broadcast network retains its own sports division; however, for all practical purposes, ABC's sports division has been merged with ESPN, a sports cable network majority-owned by ABC's parent, The...

  • List of ABC owned and affiliated television stations, arranged by market
  • List of ABC owned and affiliated television stations, arranged by state
  • List of programs broadcast by American Broadcasting Company
  • List of shows previously aired by American Broadcasting Company
  • List of United States broadcast television networks
  • TGIF (ABC)
    TGIF (ABC)
    TGIF was the name of an American family-friendly prime time television programming block on the ABC network. The name comes from the initials of the popular phrase "Thank God It's Friday"...


External links