->''"Your TV's so old, I bet you get the [=DuMont=] network on it!"''
-->--'''Death''', ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' (episode "Death Is A Bitch").

The fourth network from the early days of television in the United States, though actually the third to come to the air. It eventually failed, as its problems included an FCC ruling restricting it because of part-ownership by Paramount; not having an associated radio network to bring over programs and performers (and absorb costs); and a forced over-dependence on UHF stations in an era when it wasn't required on TV sets (and it wouldn't be until 1964).

[=DuMont=] is, in more recent years, more of a footnote than anything else. The best-known series associated with the network are ''Series/CaptainVideo'' and ''Cavalcade of Stars'', the latter of which gave America ''TheHoneymooners''. Two of the most popular programs during the network's heyday were the GameShow ''Down You Go'' and the religious program ''Life Is Worth Living'', the latter of which won both an Emmy for host Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and respect from direct competitor Milton Berle.

Most, if not all, of [=DuMont=]'s programs were produced on small budgets out of necessity rather than a conscious decision, but the network made up for this shortcoming by use of good writing and ''very'' energetic crews. The result was a bunch of wobbly sets filled with people (typically from Broadway shows) who come across as genuinely putting 110% into what they're doing, with a lot of famous faces gracing the lineup. [=DuMont=]'s endearing charm, "gung-ho" attitude, general quirkiness, and abundant imagination resulted in being SoCoolItsAwesome on its best days and SoBadItsGood on its worst even when nothing seems to go right, especially on a live show, they're at least ''trying''...which is a lot more than can be said of some shows or networks today.

[=DuMont=] was also unique in that it employed a potentially-money-saving advertising tactic of letting advertisers '''choose''' where their commercials ran, rather than do what the other three networks did and force a large number of stations on them.

Ironically, Paramount's former theater division (United Paramount Theatres) purchased Creator/{{ABC}} in February 1953, and the steady revenue stream from movie theaters helped it quickly leapfrog [=DuMont=] to become the third network.
!!1953: The ABC-[=DuMont=] merger
Leonard Goldenson, president of UPT, struck up a deal with [=DuMont=] managing director Ted Bergmann a merged network called ABC-[=DuMont=] until at least 1958. The deal honored [=DuMont=]'s network commitments and in exchange gave [=DuMont=] $5,000,000 cash, guaranteed advertising time for [=DuMont=] television sets, and a secure future for its staff.

The merged network owned stations in five of the six largest markets (the exception being Philadelphia) as well as ABC Radio and [=DuMont=]'s ''de facto'' monopoly station in Pittsburgh (WDTV). However, it also had to sell a New York station (WABD or WJZ, both of which were network flagships) and two others to meet the FCC's limit of five stations per owner.

...Except Paramount vetoed the plan almost out of hand due to antitrust concerns, as the FCC had ruled a few months earlier that Paramount controlled [=DuMont=]...and there were still doubts as to whether UPT had really separated from Paramount.
!!1954-56: The downfall
In late 1954, [=DuMont=] sold WDTV, which it used to get clearances in other markets, to Westinghouse [[note]](already the owner of radio station KDKA, which also became the new name for WDTV the next year)[[/note]] for $9.75M. Although the sale gave [=DuMont=] some much-needed cash, it also set off its downfall. By February 1955, [=DuMont=] execs realized that the network wasn't going to survive and opted to shut it down, leaving WABD and WTTG to be operated as independent stations.

Most of the lineup was dropped beginning in April; Sheen aired his last episode on the 26th and moved to ABC, where he remained until 1957. August brought even more problems as Paramount, with the help of other stockholders, seized control of [=DuMont=] Laboratories in a boardroom coup and kicked out network creator/president Allen B. [=DuMont=]. On September 23, the network's last regular series (a game show, ''What's the Story?'') aired for the last time.

The only things left to keep the lights on were sporting events per prior commitments, which continued to air sporadically over the next ten months. Following the broadcast of ''Boxing from St. Nicholas Arena'' on August 6, 1956 (one retrospective claims it was only seen on '''five stations'''), [=DuMont=] went bust and the remaining network-owned stations (WABD, New York and WTTG, Washington) spun off into the [=DuMont=] Broadcasting Corporation.
!!1956-86: The aftermath (including the Metromedia years)
In 1957, after purchasing two New York radio stations (WNEW and WHFI), the [=DuMont=] Broadcasting Corporation was renamed the Metropolitan Broadcasting Company to distance itself from the failure of the [=DuMont=] network. The next year, John Kluge bought Paramount's shares for $4,000,000 and became Metropolitan's chairman; Kluge renamed the company "Metromedia" in 1961, although the "Metropolitan" name remained for the broadcasting division until 1967.

As the years progressed, Metromedia purchased more TV and radio stations as well as producing and distributing many series, most notably ''TruthOrConsequences'' and the 1972-86 era of ''The MervGriffin Show''.

After Paul Winchell sued Metromedia over the rights to his children's series ''Winchell-Mahoney Time'', company management opted to [[WhatAnIdiot destroy the tapes]] an idiocy that resulted in Winchell being awarded $17.8M in compensation and punitive damages.

In 1984, Kluge bought out Metromedia's shareholders and took the company private.

On March 6, 1986, nearly 30 years after [=DuMont=] folded, the Metromedia TV stations and Metromedia Producers Corp. were purchased by RupertMurdoch's News Corporation for $3.5B and became the {{FOX}} network, with the Fox Television Center right where WABD (now WNYW) sits the former [=DuMont=] Tele-Centre (the Metromedia Telecenter during that era, and a set of exterior doors on the building have even retained the 1970s "double M" logo on the handles).

So in the end, [[SpiritualSuccessor DuMont became FOX]]...and proceeded to earn itself [[ExecutiveMeddling a different]] [[TheFireflyEffect set]] [[LowestCommonDenominator of problems]].
It should be noted that Dr. [=DuMont=] seemed to realize the benefits of keeping the network's programming as intact as possible, and admirably did so despite the general wipe-and-reuse practices of the era and the network's own ever-increasing money problems. [[DownerEnding That was for naught, however]], as many kinescopes were trashed around 1958 for their silver content and the rest were dumped by three trucks into Upper New York Bay during the 1970s. As such, very little of the network's programming survives today; TheOtherWiki has [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_surviving_DuMont_Television_Network_broadcasts a list]] if you're so inclined, which also includes video links.

While the network was mostly forgotten, there were two later references of note:
* One was in ''Film/{{Tron}}'' (released July 9, 1982), where the crucial turning point is facilitated by an aged, near-abandoned information guardian named [=DuMont=].
* The second was in the GrandFinale [[note]](by production order)[[/note]] of ''Ellen'' (May 13, 1998), presented as a SeriousBusiness documentary by Linda Ellerbee about the fictional [=DeGeneres=]' long career. Clips were shown of Ellen hosting the [=DuMont=] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NechRuEE4t8#t=10m13s game]] ''[[RedScare Who's the Commie?]]'' (with announcer John O'Hurley) in 1954, apparent proof that the network was desperate to get some sort of ratings; [[TheCameo Orson Bean]] recalled that he was skeptical about a woman hosting a game show, "But then the camera went on, and there she was: Creator/BillCullen with a rack".
** Mention is also made of how ''Commie'' and Ellen were implicated in the quiz show scandals, heavily suggesting it was a local WABD series that replaced ''Sense and Nonsense'' (1951-54) and ended circa 1959 despite Ellen eventually being cleared of any charges (the "Commies" were actually generous people who liked jazz).

Has no relation (that we're aware of) to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DuPont DuPont]], despite the rather similar logo.