Key dates in history of National Broadcasting Co.

AP News
Posted: Feb 13, 2013 3:07 PM
Key dates in history of National Broadcasting Co.

Comcast Corp.'s deal to buy the rest of NBCUniversal would end General Electric Co.'s long ties with the broadcast network. Comcast now owns 51 percent, and GE the remaining 49 percent. Comcast expects to get full ownership by the end of March.

Here's a look at some key events 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. "30 Rock" premieres, starring Tina Fey, its creator, and Alec Baldwin. It satires NBC and its parent, GE.

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

2009 — NBC, fourth in ratings and looking to pare the costs of producing scripted shows, brings Jay Leno to prime time. GE agrees to sell controlling stake in the company to Comcast Corp.

2011 — The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department approve Comcast's takeover of NBC Universal with conditions intended to prevent it from keeping NBC programming to itself at the detriment of other cable operators and video websites. NBC Universal loses the space in its name to become NBCUniversal. "Kabletown" replaces GE as the corporate owner on "30 Rock."

2012 — NBC airs the Summer Olympics, held in London. While it expected to take a loss on the coverage given the high costs, it breaks even with ratings up compared with the Beijing Games in 2008. And NBC begins showing clear signs of a comeback, improving ratings after nearly sliding into irrelevancy over the previous decade.

2013 — Comcast announces that it is buying the rest of NBCUniversal from GE for $16.7 billion, doing so years early. "30 Rock" airs its last episode after seven seasons, 14 Emmys and six Golden Globes.

Sources: NBC, AP research