Key dates in history of National Broadcasting Co.

AP News
Posted: Nov 14, 2009 10:43 AM

Some key dates in NBC's history:

1926: National Broadcasting Co. formed by General Electric Co., Westinghouse Electric Co. and Radio Corporation of America after buying broadcast assets from AT&T. Launches first permanent radio network in United States.

1931: Experimental TV broadcasts begin from atop Empire State Building.

1932: RCA becomes sole owner of NBC.

1939: NBC begins regular television broadcasts in New York, with opening of World's Fair.

1941: NBC and CBS stations in New York get nation's first commercial television licenses.

1943: ABC gets its start after NBC sells one of its two radio networks under pressure from government.

1947: "Meet the Press" premieres.

1948: Comic Milton Berle becomes first television star on "Texaco Star Theater"

1948: Television ownership reaches 1 million.

1950: Trademark granted for three-note NBC chimes.

1952: Launch of "Today," first network early-morning news show.

1954: NBC makes first coast-to-coast color broadcast. "The Tonight Show" debuts with Steve Allen.

1962: Johnny Carson becomes "Tonight" host.

1964: NBC broadcasts its first Olympic Games.

1975: "Saturday Night Live" debuts.

1984: "The Cosby Show" debuts, becomes TV's biggest hit.

1986: GE restores its ties to NBC, becoming its owner after acquiring RCA.

1989: "Seinfeld" debuts.

1994: "ER" and "Friends" debut, making NBC's Thursday "must-see TV."

1995: Network launches

1996: NBC and Microsoft Corp. launch MSNBC on cable TV and Internet.

2002: NBC acquires Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo and entertainment cable network Bravo.

2004: NBC Universal formed after merger with Vivendi Universal Entertainment.

2007: Jeff Zucker named president and chief executive.

2008: Launch of Hulu, online video joint venture with Fox network owner News Corp. ABC later joins.

2009: NBC, fourth in ratings with desires to pare down the costs of producing scripted shows, brings Jay Leno to prime time in bold move.

Sources: NBC, AP research