Big Three television networks

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The Big Three television networks are the three major traditional commercial broadcast television networks in the United States: the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), CBS (formerly known as the Columbia Broadcasting System) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).wikipedia
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American Broadcasting Company

ABCABC-TVABC Network
The Big Three television networks are the three major traditional commercial broadcast television networks in the United States: the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), CBS (formerly known as the Columbia Broadcasting System) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).
The fifth-oldest major broadcasting network in the world and the youngest of the Big Three television networks, ABC is often nicknamed as "The Alphabet Network", as its initialism also represents the first three letters of the English alphabet, in order.

CBS

Columbia Broadcasting SystemCBS TelevisionCBS-TV
The Big Three television networks are the three major traditional commercial broadcast television networks in the United States: the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), CBS (formerly known as the Columbia Broadcasting System) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).
Under Paley's guidance, CBS would first become one of the largest radio networks in the United States, and eventually one of the Big Three American broadcast television networks.

NBC

National Broadcasting CompanyNBC-TVNBC Television
The Big Three television networks are the three major traditional commercial broadcast television networks in the United States: the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), CBS (formerly known as the Columbia Broadcasting System) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).
The network is one of the Big Three television networks.

Television network

networknetwork televisiontelevision
The Big Three television networks are the three major traditional commercial broadcast television networks in the United States: the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), CBS (formerly known as the Columbia Broadcasting System) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).
Television in the United States had long been dominated by the Big Three television networks, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), CBS (formerly the Columbia Broadcasting System) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC); however the Fox Broadcasting Company (Fox), which launched in October 1986, has gained prominence and is now considered part of the "Big Four."

Overmyer Network

United NetworkOvermyer Broadcasting
Some of Mutual's component stations bought a stake in the Overmyer Network in 1967, but other than a single late-night talk show, The Las Vegas Show, which that lasted one month, that network never made it to its full launch.
It was intended to be a fourth national commercial network in the United States, competing with the Big Three television networks.

NTA Film Network

NTA
DuMont ceased regular programming in 1955; the NTA Film Network, unusual in that its programming, all pre-recorded, was distributed by mail instead of through communications wires, signed on in 1956 and lasted until 1961.
Unlike the Big Three television networks, the local stations in the NTA Film Network were not connected via coaxial cable or microwave relay.

Fourth television network

fourth networkfourth major networkMGM/UA Premiere Network
A viable fourth television network in the commercial sense would not again become competitive with the Big Three until Fox was founded in October 1986 from some of the assets and remnants of the DuMont network, which had become Metromedia after DuMont folded, and were acquired by News Corporation earlier in 1986.
In American television terminology, a fourth network is a reference to a fourth broadcast (over-the-air) television network, as opposed to the Big Three television networks that dominated U.S. television from the 1950s to the 1990s: ABC, CBS and NBC.

Fox Broadcasting Company

FoxFox networkFox TV
A viable fourth television network in the commercial sense would not again become competitive with the Big Three until Fox was founded in October 1986 from some of the assets and remnants of the DuMont network, which had become Metromedia after DuMont folded, and were acquired by News Corporation earlier in 1986.
Launched on October 9, 1986, as a competitor to the Big Three television networks (ABC, CBS and NBC), Fox went on to become the most successful attempt at a fourth television network.

1994 United States broadcast TV realignment

affiliation dealseries of affiliation transactions1994 affiliation deal
Fox, which began as a distant fourth network, leapfrogged into major network status in 1994 after must-carry rules took effect; the rules allowed Fox affiliates to force their way onto cable lineups, and the network's affiliation deal with New World Communications, which it later purchased in 1996, and the acquisition of National Football League broadcast rights brought a wave of new Fox affiliates.
As a result of this realignment, Fox ascended to the status of a major television network, comparable in influence to the Big Three television networks (CBS, NBC and ABC).

All-Channel Receiver Act

all-channel tuning19611962 directive
The prohibitive cost of starting a broadcast network, coupled with the difficulty of competing with the massive distribution of the Big Three networks, and the infancy and complexities of UHF broadcasting before cable television became commonplace in the 1980s, led to the downfall of almost all new network ventures; most media markets were limited to no more than three VHF channels, and even after the All-Channel Receiver Act was passed in 1961, the VHF stations were far more efficient and their signals could reach a greater range than their UHF counterparts.
This was a problem at the time since the Big Three television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) were well-established on VHF, while many local-only stations on UHF were struggling for survival.

Fox NFL

FoxNFLNFL on Fox
Fox, which began as a distant fourth network, leapfrogged into major network status in 1994 after must-carry rules took effect; the rules allowed Fox affiliates to force their way onto cable lineups, and the network's affiliation deal with New World Communications, which it later purchased in 1996, and the acquisition of National Football League broadcast rights brought a wave of new Fox affiliates.
Though Fox was growing rapidly as a network, and had established itself as a presence, it was still not considered a major competitor to the more-established "Big Three" broadcast networks (ABC, CBS and NBC).

Fox Sports (United States)

Fox SportsFoxsports
Given the network's success in its prime time and sports offerings, it has been occasionally included with the Big Three, in which case the phrase "Big Four" is used.
In order to bolster viewership for the NFL telecasts, Fox parent News Corporation decided to strike affiliation deals with broadcasting companies that owned stations affiliated with ABC, NBC and CBS in order to raise the profile of Fox's affiliate body, which at the time mainly consisted of UHF stations that (with some exceptions) had little to no prior history as a major network affiliate, had weaker signals and largely did not carry as much value with advertisers as the Big Three's affiliates.

Saturday-morning cartoon

Saturday morningSaturday morning animated seriesSaturday mornings
Fox does not feature any daytime programming, a third hour of primetime, late-night talk shows, and Saturday morning children's programming.
Saturday-morning cartoon is a colloquial term for the original animated television programming that was typically scheduled on Saturday mornings in the United States on the major television networks.

Breakfast television

morning showbreakfast showmorning newscast
It lacks national morning and evening news programs; Fox has a news division consisting of cable and radio operations, but does not provide content for the broadcast television network other than a weekly news analysis program, limited special breaking news reports and an affiliate news service for its stations called Fox News Edge.
Similarly, following the launch of Fox in the late 1980s, many news-producing stations affiliated with major networks not among the traditional "Big Three" or which operate as independent stations began producing morning newscasts that compete in part with national counterparts in part or the entirety of the 7 to 9am time period; by the late 2000s, these stations began to expand their morning shows into the 9am hour (where they normally compete with syndicated programs on ABC and CBS stations, and the third hour of Today on NBC stations).

New World Pictures

New World CommunicationsNew World TelevisionNew World Entertainment
Fox, which began as a distant fourth network, leapfrogged into major network status in 1994 after must-carry rules took effect; the rules allowed Fox affiliates to force their way onto cable lineups, and the network's affiliation deal with New World Communications, which it later purchased in 1996, and the acquisition of National Football League broadcast rights brought a wave of new Fox affiliates.
In the wake of Fox's landmark $1.58-billion deal with the National Football League (NFL) on December 17, 1993, which awarded it the television rights to the National Football Conference (NFC) beginning with the league's 1994 season, the network began seeking agreements with various station groups to affiliate with VHF stations that had established histories as affiliates of the Big Three broadcast television networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) and therefore had higher value with advertisers (compared to its predominately UHF affiliate body, the vast majority of which were independent stations before joining the network), in an effort to bolster the network's newly acquired package of NFL game telecasts.

WNYB

WNYP-TVWNYPW26AA
Those networks that could have had the resources to compete, such as Canada's CTV Television Network, which briefly attempted an American expansion via WNYB (channel 26 in Buffalo, New York, now a religious station), were forced off the air through legal threats.
Since CTV, then as now, relies largely on American programming, Buffalo's "Big 3" U.S. network affiliates (WBEN-TV, now WIVB-TV; WGR-TV, now WGRZ-TV; and WKBW-TV) threatened legal action in early 1969.

The CW

CWThe CW Television NetworkCW Network
This led their respective parent companies, CBS Corporation and Time Warner, to shut them down in September 2006 to jointly launch The CW, which initially featured a mix of programs from both predecessors as well as some newer shows.
However, over the subsequent 111⁄2 seasons, both were able to air several series that became quite popular (such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek: Voyager, 7th Heaven, Dawson's Creek, Charmed, Smallville and America’s Next Top Model). Towards the end of their first decade on the air, The WB and UPN were in decline, unable to reach the audience share or have the effect that Fox had gained within its first decade, much less that of the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC).

Fox News Sunday

public affairs showa weekly news analysis programFOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace
It lacks national morning and evening news programs; Fox has a news division consisting of cable and radio operations, but does not provide content for the broadcast television network other than a weekly news analysis program, limited special breaking news reports and an affiliate news service for its stations called Fox News Edge.
The first minute or so of the broadcast runs down the day's headlines, since Fox, unlike the Big Three television networks, does not have a conventional national morning news program that leads into Fox News Sunday, though a limited amount of Fox's affiliates have local news programs leading into it. For the rest of the first half of the show, Wallace interviews news makers from the prior week.

American Idol

IdolAmericanIdol.com American Idol: The Search for a Superstar
From 2004 to 2012, Fox also dominated U.S. television in the lucrative and viewer-rich 18-49 demographics, in large part due to the success of its NFL coverage and its top rated prime time program, American Idol.
The strong finish of season seven also helped Fox become the most watched TV network in the country for the first time since its inception, a first ever in American television history for a non-Big Three major broadcast network.

Broadcast network

broadcastnetworkbroadcasting network
The prohibitive cost of starting a broadcast network, coupled with the difficulty of competing with the massive distribution of the Big Three networks, and the infancy and complexities of UHF broadcasting before cable television became commonplace in the 1980s, led to the downfall of almost all new network ventures; most media markets were limited to no more than three VHF channels, and even after the All-Channel Receiver Act was passed in 1961, the VHF stations were far more efficient and their signals could reach a greater range than their UHF counterparts.
By the mid-1940s broadcasting had become a big Three television networks battle.

CTV Television Network

CTVCTV networkCTV Television
Those networks that could have had the resources to compete, such as Canada's CTV Television Network, which briefly attempted an American expansion via WNYB (channel 26 in Buffalo, New York, now a religious station), were forced off the air through legal threats.

UPN

United Paramount NetworkUPN networkassets
The WB and UPN launched in January 1995; like Fox, they both added nights of prime time programming over the course of a few years, although The WB was the only one that aired any on weekends, carrying a Sunday night lineup for all but its first half-season on the air.
At the time of its shutdown, UPN ran only two hours of primetime network programming on Monday through Fridays (compared to the three primetime hours on Monday through Saturdays and four hours on Sundays offered by the Big Three networks, ABC, NBC and CBS).

WNYT (TV)

WNYTWAST13
Seeking a fresh start and a new identity, Viacom decided to mark the affiliation change with the current call sign of WNYT. It is one of the few stations in the United States to have been a primary affiliate of all of the big three networks.

KGET-TV

KGET-DT217.2Bakersfield
It is one of a handful of stations in the United States to have held a primary affiliation with all of the Big Three television networks.

WHDH (TV)

WHDHWNAC-TVWHDH-TV
After the switch to NBC, WHDH became one of the few stations in the country to have had a primary affiliation with all of the Big Three networks.