NBC, whose initials stand for National Broadcasting Company, is also known as the Peacock network from its peacock logo. The network grew out of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) branching out into television. RCA owned two networks, NBC-Red and NBC-Blue. After the FCC found this to be a monopoly, the two networks were divided with NBC-Blue eventually becoming the ABC network and NBC-Red becoming simply NBC.
NBC was the first network to offer a early-morning news program in 1952, the first to broadcast a program in color in 1953 (the switch to color broadcasting was complete in 1965), the first to offer a made-for-television movie in 1964, and the first to broadcast in stereo in 1984.
In the 1950s and 1960s, NBC was generally second-place in the ratings race to CBS
, but in the 1970s, ABC
came from behind, leaving NBC in third-place. In the 1980s, however, NBC began improving its fortunes with shows like Hill Street Blues
, St. Elsewhere
, Family Ties
, and The Cosby Show
. In 1985, General Electric acquired RCA, primarily for NBC, which was responsible for almost half of RCA's profits at that point. General Elctric still owns NBC today.
There was a brief downturn in the transition to the 1990s, but NBC's ratings again took a turn for the better with popular shows like ER
, and Friends
. NBC did especially well with its "Must See TV" night of comedies on Thursday, the most desired day of the week for advertisers. Unfortunately for NBC, the new century brought another downturn for the network, with NBC falling behind CBS then ABC again.
NBC has the rights to broadcast the Olympics through the year 2012, and it owns stakes in cable channels such as A&E
, and the History Channel
. Additionally, NBC owns the cable news network CNBC
and the second-largest U.S. Spanish-language television network Telemundo