Television in the United States

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Television is one of the major mass media of the United States., household ownership of television sets in the country is 96.7%, with approximately 114,200,000 American households owning at least one television set as of August 2013.wikipedia
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Public Broadcasting ServicePublic Broadcasting SystemPBS Television
The nation has a national public television service known as the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster and television program distributor.

Pay television

pay TVpay-TVsubscription television
A la carte subscription services in the U.S. are primarily limited to pay television (more commonly known as "premium") channels that are offered as add-ons to any programming package that a customer of a multichannel video programming distributor (also known as a cable or satellite "system" or "provider") can subscribe to for an additional monthly fee.
Some parts of the world, notably in France, Latin America and the United States, have also offered encrypted analog terrestrial signals available for subscription.

Television network

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As a whole, the television networks that broadcast in the United States are the largest and most distributed in the world, and programs produced specifically for U.S.-based networks are the most widely syndicated internationally.
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."

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Law & Order: SVULaw and Order: SVULaw & Order SVU
Later in the evening, drama series of various types (such as NCIS, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Grey's Anatomy) air.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (often abbreviated to Law & Order: SVU or just SVU) is an American crime drama television series created by Dick Wolf for NBC.

American Idol

IdolAmerican Idol: The Search for a
Typically, family-oriented comedy programs led in the early part of prime time, although in recent years, reality television programs (such as Dancing with the Stars and American Idol), and more adult-oriented scripted programs – both comedies and dramas – have largely replaced them.
It started as an addition to the Idols format that was based on Pop Idol from British television, and became one of the most successful shows in the history of American television.

1994–1996 United States broadcast TV realignment

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Its nightly prime-time schedule runs only two hours long on Monday through Saturdays and three hours on Sundays (something the network intentionally did to sidestep FCC regulations for television networks in effect at Fox's launch), and some of its major market affiliates used to broadcast on UHF before the digital transition (several affiliates though broadcast on VHF pre-transition, primarily as a result of affiliation deals with former longtime Big Three affiliates owned by now-defunct station groups New World Communications and SF Broadcasting that it signed after acquiring the NFL rights).
As a result of various other deals that followed as a result of the affiliation switches created by the deal between Fox and New World, most notably the buyout of CBS by Westinghouse, the switches constituted some of the most sweeping changes in American television history.

List of most-watched television broadcasts

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Throughout the 1990s, NBC called its own Thursday night lineup "Must See TV", and during that decade, some of the country's most watched television shows aired on Thursday nights (several of which aired on NBC), before the re-emergence of Sunday as the top night of prime time programming in the 2000s.
U.S. television programming remains one of the most popular forms of entertainment worldwide.

News Corporation (1980–2013)

News CorporationNews Corp.NewsCorp
However, in October 1986, the Fox Broadcasting Company was launched as a challenge to the Big Three networks, with six independent stations that News Corporation (which acquired the 20th Century Fox the year before) had acquired from Metromedia as its cornerstone charter outlets, along with many independents owned by other companies.
Its major holdings at the time of the split were News Limited (a group of newspaper publishers in Murdoch's native Australia), News International (a newspaper publisher in the United Kingdom, whose properties include The Times, The Sun, and the now-defunct News of the World—which was the subject of a phone hacking scandal that led to its closure in July 2011), Dow Jones & Company (an American publisher of financial news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal), the book publisher HarperCollins, and the Fox Entertainment Group (owners of the 20th Century Fox film studio and the Fox Broadcasting Company—one of the United States' major television networks).

Ion Television

The largest ownership group in terms of coverage of the U.S. is Ion Media (corporate parent of namesake flagship network Ion Television), whose stations cover 65% of the nation and are entirely centrally operated, with no local programming.
Ion's current method of running predominately syndicated programming is very similar to the international model of broadcasting used in Europe, Canada, Latin America, Asia and Australia, which mixes imported and syndicated shows with original programming – a model used only in United States broadcast television by digital multicast services (particularly those that specialize in acquired programs such as MeTV), smaller English language entertainment-based networks (such as America One) and networks broadcasting in languages other than English (such as Univision and Telemundo).

Jamie Kellner

former WB network executivegroup's CEO
Three new networks launched in the 1990s: within six days of each other in January 1995, The WB (which was originally formed as a venture between Time Warner, Tribune Broadcasting – which made the majority of its independent stations principal charter affiliates of the network – and former Fox executive Jamie Kellner, who served as The WB's original chief executive officer) and UPN (created as a programming partnership between Chris-Craft Industries/United Television and Paramount Television, which had been acquired the year prior by Viacom, which would gain full ownership of UPN five years after the network's launch) were launched primarily to compete against Fox, targeting the same younger demographic (teenagers and young adults 12 to 34) that network had built its success upon during the first half of the decade.
Kellner was present at the creation of the Fox Broadcasting Company, which was then considered a radical idea, as it was taking on the three networks that had dominated American television since the 1950s, ABC, CBS and NBC (CBS and NBC were really the "big two", in regards to ratings and number of affiliates, until ABC experienced a surge in popularity in the late 1960s).


The largest of these networks, Univision, launched in 1986 as a successor to the Spanish International Network (which debuted in September 1962, with Spanish language independent stations KMEX-TV in Los Angeles and KCOR-TV (now KWEX-DT) in San Antonio, Texas as its charter stations).
The concert earned a 35.9 Nielsen household rating, becoming the highest-rated program that night on all of the network television as well as the most-watched Spanish-language program in American television history.


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The second basic cable network, the first to operate as a cable-originated outlet and the first such network to be uplinked via satellite from launch was the CBN Satellite Network, launched in April 1977 by televangelist Pat Robertson as the television ministry of his Christian Broadcasting Network.
Televangelism began as a uniquely American phenomenon, resulting from a largely deregulated media where access to television networks and cable TV is open to virtually anyone who can afford it, combined with a large Christian population that is able to provide the necessary funding.


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MyNetworkTV originally started as a conventional network with a format primarily consisting of English language telenovelas; however, after experiencing continued low ratings for its prime time-exclusive schedule (even after several programming revamps that followed over the next three years after the initial format faltered), it converted into a "broadcast syndication service" in September 2009, adopting a format made up of reruns of series originally aired on other networks for ten hours a week on Monday through Fridays.
Credited by media experts to Televisa's move in the early 1990s of exporting its telenovelas, it rivalled the wave of American sitcoms that were broadcast worldwide in the same period.


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Katz Broadcasting, owned by Bounce executive Jonathan Katz, launched two gender-focused networks with specific formats in August 2014 – Grit (aimed at men with a lineup heavy on western and action films) and Escape (aimed at women and featuring mystery and true crime programs) – and a genre-based network in April 2015, Laff (featuring a mix of comedic feature films and sitcoms).
Mary Kay and Johnny, aired from 1947 to 1950, was the first sitcom broadcast on a network television in the United States and was the first program to show a couple sharing a bed, and the first series to show a woman's pregnancy on television.

Science fiction

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Other subchannel-based networks include those that also rely on archived programming such as Buzzr (a network focusing of game shows sourced from the programming library of owner Fremantle Media) and Comet (launched by the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in October 2015, focusing on science fiction series and films sourced from the MGM library), and networks which do not completely if at all rely on archived scripted programming Ion Life (a network carried on Ion Television stations, which mainly airs lifestyle and home improvement programming), WeatherNation TV (an independently owned 24-hour weather network which features subchannels as part of its multiplatform distribution model), TheCoolTV and The Country Network (which rely on music videos).
The first popular science fiction program on American television was the children's adventure serial Captain Video and His Video Rangers, which ran from June 1949 to April 1955.

2000s (decade)

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Due to a recent surge in the number and popularity of critically acclaimed television series during the 2000s and the 2010s to date, many critics have said that American television is currently undergoing a modern golden age.
American television in the 2000s saw the sharp increase in popularity of reality television, with numerous competition shows such as American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Survivor and The Apprentice attracting large audiences, as well as documentary or narrative style shows such as Big Brother, The Hills, The Real Housewives, Cheaters, among many others.

Meet the Press

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Successful news magazines have included 60 Minutes, 20/20 and Dateline NBC in prime time, and Meet the Press, Face the Nation and This Week on Sunday mornings.
Meet the Press is a weekly American television news/interview program broadcast on the network NBC.

Little House on the Prairie (TV series)

Little House on the PrairieLittle House: A New BeginningLittle House on the Prairie'' (TV series)
Medical dramas such as Marcus Welby, M.D., St. Elsewhere, ER, House and Grey's Anatomy have endured success; as well as family dramas such as The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie and 7th Heaven; and crime dramas such as Dragnet, Hawaii Five-O, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, L.A. Law, 21 Jump Street, Law & Order, JAG, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and NCIS.
Little House on the Prairie (known as Little House: A New Beginning in its final season) is an American western drama television series, starring Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, Karen Grassle, and Melissa Sue Anderson, about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s and 1880s.

Big Three television networks

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The first and elder three (which are colloquially known as the "Big Three") began as radio networks: NBC and CBS respectively began operations in 1924 and 1927, while ABC was spun off from NBC to Edward J. Noble in 1943 as the Blue Network during FCC inquiries over NBC's dominant share of the American radio market, although the ABC television network would not reach viewership and distribution parity with NBC and CBS until the late 1960s.

M*A*S*H (TV series)

Dramedy, a term for a television series that mixes elements of comedy and drama, have seen its popularity grown among viewers, thanks to programs like M*A*S*H, Ally McBeal, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Psych, Glee, Devious Maids, Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
The television series is the best-known of the M*A*S*H works, and one of the highest-rated shows in U.S. television history.

Mid-season replacement

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Writers, additional directors and some full-time crew members are hired, and work begins – usually during the late spring and summer before the fall season-series premieres (shows can also serve as a midseason replacement, meaning they are ordered specifically to fill holes in a network schedule created by the failure and cancellation of shows that premiered in the fall; Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Office are examples of successful midseason replacements).
In American and Canadian television, a mid-season replacement is a television series that premieres in the second half of the traditional television season, usually between January and May.

Television pilot

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Television production companies either commission teleplays for television pilots or buy spec scripts.
Each summer, the major American broadcast television networks – including ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, and NBC – receive about 500 brief elevator pitches each for new shows from writers and producers.

High-definition television in the United States

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High-definition television (HDTV) in the United States was introduced in 1998 and has since become increasingly popular and dominant in the television market.


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Westerns such as Gunsmoke (the longest-running prime time scripted drama series in U.S. television history, having aired from 1955 to 1975) and Bonanza had experienced their greatest popularity in the 1950s and 1960s.
Bonanza is uniquely known for having addressed racism, not typically covered on American television during the time period, from a compassionate, humanitarian point-of-view.