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From 1928 (when it originated on radio) until 1974, this network was officially known as the Columbia Broadcasting System. It was founded by Westinghouse and currently owned by Paramount Global. Its eye logo (known internally as the "Eyemark") is among the most widely recognized corporate logos; based on old Shaker art, the logo premiered on CBS-TV in 1951, and eventually became the symbol for the entire company.

The postwar golden age and the "rural purge" (~1950-1984)

In its heyday, CBS was known as the "Tiffany network." It was the undisputed ratings champion (a streak that had started with Mama in 1949 and then really hit its stride with I Love Lucy in The '50s and stretched into The '60s), its news operations were among the most respected in the world with great journalists like Edward R. Murrow, and it owned quite a few side businesses unrelated to broadcasting, such as Columbia/CBS Records, Fender Guitars, Ideal Toys and even the New York Yankees. CBS's dominance was so great that when the fall schedules were announced, ABC and NBC would wait until CBS announced its plans before making their own announcements, effectively making network head James Aubrey programmer for all three networks.

Through the '60s, its primetime programs were mostly rural-themed sitcoms, such as The Beverly Hillbillies, The Andy Griffith Show and Green Acres; fantasies like My Favorite Martian and My Living Doll; and domestic comedies like The Lucy Show.note . The increasing use of demographics in the late '60s produced a decision to project a more urbane image and reach for a younger, more urban/suburban, more marketer-friendly demographic. This led CBS to cancel all these shows and more en masse in 1971, in what came to be known as "The Rural Purge". While this went on at NBC and ABC as well, it was especially pronounced at CBS, the network most associated with such shows. Pat Buttram, who played Mr. Haney on Green Acres, commented that "it was the year CBS canceled everything with a tree." A number of these shows survived in syndication, but the landscape of CBS and the networks in general was far more urban than it had been just a year or two prior.

Nevertheless, the rural purge worked. CBS' replacements for its canceled rural-themed shows (mainly acquired or in-house) such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and All in the Family, got the ratings that they wanted and became classics in their own right. Even as ABC boomed in the '70s and took the top spot, CBS continued to do well, sitting comfortably in second place right into the early 1980s, with several classic TV shows such as M*A*S*Hnote  and All in the Family's many spinoffs (The Jeffersons, Maude, and Good Times) carrying the load handily. They even indulged in genre TV in the late 1970s with shows based on Marvel superheroes The Amazing Spider-Man (1978) and The Incredible Hulk (1977); further, The Dukes of Hazzard proved that CBS could, once in a while, air successful rural programming even with the demographic shift.

The Audience-Alienating Era (1984-2000)

Things changed rapidly as NBC roared to Number 1 in 1984-1985 with its Thursday night lineup. CBS was heavily invested in dramas such as Dallas and Murder, She Wrote, with only a few sitcoms (such as Newhart, Designing Women and Murphy Brown) to speak of. Aside from the odd Peanuts or Garfield specials, pretty much everything CBS ran attracted much older audiences than NBC, ABC, and even the fledgling Fox network, leading to many jokes about CBS being "the network for the living dead".

CBS was ripe for a takeover during this time. Ted Turner attempted a hostile takeover of the network, and failed. Loews (the same company that had owned MGM during The Golden Age of Hollywood) bought a controlling interest in the company in 1985, and installed its co-owner Laurence Tisch as CEO. CBS had debt that resulted from trying to block Turner's takeover, and the cost-cutting and money-raising that followed saw CBS selling many of its side businesses to focus on broadcasting; the biggest one, CBS Records (Columbia Records in North America), was sold to Sony Music on November 17, 1987 for $2 billionnote  (which has caused some confusion due to Sony buying previously-unrelated Columbia Pictures two years later).

In 1993, CBS signed David Letterman, who had left his show Late Night (to Conan O'Brien) on NBC after being shafted out of The Tonight Show job by his former friend Jay Leno despite Letterman being retiring Tonight Show host Johnny Carson's preferred choice for his replacement (something Carson never forgave either Leno or NBC for). His Late Show with David Letterman was an immediate ratings success, destroying Leno in numbers thanks to his younger fan following, but Leno soon began to win the 11:30 slot in 1995 after his interview with Hugh Grant. Despite this, Letterman's show was one of CBS' biggest ratings hits, along with the The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson which aired immediately after.

Meanwhile, CBS's sports coverage—long a mainstay of its weekend programming—started to hit a few road bumps of its own. The network lost the NBA in 1990, a 1990-93 deal with Major League Baseball was a financial and ratings disaster, and after they lost rights to the NFL in 1994, the joke became "Can't Broadcast Sports". Not helping matters was CBS losing a number of key affiliates (Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Dallas and others) to Fox (many of the CBS stations that jumped to Fox were in markets where the NFL team was a member of the National Football Conference, the package that moved from CBS to Fox, with most of these stations owned by New World Communications), leaving them to find affiliation elsewhere, many on UHF channels, causing a Disaster Dominoes situation across much of the US. Still without any solid hits (and a short-lived attempt at being Younger and Hipper which resulted in major flops), CBS ended up merging with Westinghousenote  in 1995; this was prefaced by a deal (part of the aforementioned mess that resulted from Fox's plundering of their affiliate base) that switched three of Westinghouse's five stationsnote  to CBS.note  The network would then attempt to rebuild its sports division by signing a football rights contract with the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in 1996, quickly becoming one of CBS Sports' biggest ratings hits in years. A further merger occurred, this time with Viacom (CBS's own former distribution arm) in 2000. This was initially complicated by the fact that Viacom already owned half of UPN, and both CBS and UPN had owned-and-operated stations in many of the same markets (Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Miami, and Pittsburgh). Viacom cleared this hurdle when the FCC legalized duopolies, leading to the two networks becoming corporate siblings. CBS regained the NFL in 1998 when it aggressively outbid NBC for their expiring AFC rights, while NBC attempted (and failed) to get the rights to Monday Night Football.

Return to success (2000-2018)

In the Turn of the Millennium, CBS started turning itself around, debuting the megahits Survivor and CSI in 2000, and following them up over the next few years with a number of hit police procedurals (including CSI's first two spinoffs) and sitcoms. The network recovered from the abyss, running neck-and-neck with FOX for the number one spot in the ratings, and started becoming popular with younger audiences again... just as network television viewership overall started to decline with the rise of New Media. That said, CBS handled the new media shift far better than Viacom had; they've invested heavily in streaming, going as far as putting several classic Paramount/Desilu shows such as Star Trek: The Original Series and MacGyver (which were retained by CBS after Paramount's film studio was allocated to the new Viacom in the split) up for viewing, and also bought CNET Networks' family of websites in 2008, rebranding it as CBS Interactive (this subsidiary also includes GameFAQs,, Metacritic and, in addition to the various CNET websites). Nevertheless, the old joke about being the "network for the living dead" arose again in the early 2010s, as its shows became increasingly formulaic and geared toward older viewers. However, this was now a winning strategy—after all, which demographic still watches broadcast TV nowadays?—and CBS continued to proudly tout itself as "America's Most-Watched Network".

At the end of 2005, Viacom renamed itself "CBS Corporation" and split off another company that took the Viacom name (Viacom and CBS Corp. are both publicly-traded subsidiaries of National Amusements, Inc.),note .

Under this guise, CBS also owns Showtime and the Smithsonian Channel, along with the CBS Sports Network, which mainly carries college sports. CBS also owns a half interest in The CW with WarnerMedia, through Warner Bros., holding the other half, and some CBS-owned stations formerly with UPN carrying that network.

The end of 2009 saw the CBS brand enter the United Kingdom, in an agreement with the broadcaster Chello Zone, launching four channels. In 2013, CBS would acquire partial ownership of AXS TV and TVGN. TVGN would relaunch in 2014 as Pop TV.

In 2014, CBS launched its own streaming service, CBS All Access. The service began by offering the network's entire back catalog of shows, but started offering original series in 2017, beginning with The Good Fight and Star Trek: Discovery. The latter was intended to be the flagship series on the service but production delays meant that the former was moved up to take its place.

By 2015, CBS launched a diginet across their stations called Decades; they take a unique approach to the "retro" diginets that have permeated the market, having programming that ties into themes for that day, with Bill Kurtis (a former anchor at CBS' Chicago station) hosting a historical program called Through The Decades that completes it; the weekends are reserved for all day marathons of one or two shows for binge viewing.

In 2017, CBS arrived in Australia through their acquisition of Network Ten. Soon after, a local version of CBS All Access, under the "10 All Access" branding would launch.

ViacomCBS re-merger; signs of Dork Age 2.0 (2018-present)

2018 would see internal turmoil, as longtime head Leslie Moonves was forced to resign over sexual harassment allegations in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Moonves' tenure was subsequently revealed by the Hollywood trades to have made CBS a hotbed of sexual harassment, putting the network in an uncomfortable public relations conflict.

The Big Bang Theory would end after twelve seasons, due to actor Jim Parsons leaving the series, leaving CBS to find a new flagship sitcom to fit its shoes. The biggest blow, though, came at the end of 2019, when CBS Sports opted not to renew its current deal with the SEC when it expires in 2023 (the rights were then picked up by ESPN, giving the network full control of SEC sports rights), effectively leaving CBS with only its AFC NFL package and the NCAA basketball tournament (shared with Turner Sports) as its two biggest sports properties. Said AFC package was undermined a year later when Tom Brady announced he would exit the New England Patriots for the NFC's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, resulting in audiences flocking to NFC broadcaster Fox while leaving CBS in the cold. Combine that with the cancellation of that year's March Madness tournament due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the postponement of many originals, and CBS fell dead last among the major broadcasters (only CBS co-owned The CW ranked lower) in the 18-49 demographic for 2020, even as it remained the most-watched network overall. Only Super Bowl LV (itself one of the lowest rated games of the last decade), the SEC football season (itself in a lame-duck period as ESPN/ABC were to claim the rights in several years) and the 2021 March Madness tournament late in the season helped salvage CBS' third place position in the demo.

Moonves had been trying to prevent a re-merger with Viacom led by Shari Redstone. With him out of the way, the two companies would ultimately merge as ViacomCBS on December 4, 2019, adding streaming platforms Pluto TV and BET+, along with Viacom's Media Networks division (including the UK's Channel 5), to the combined company's portfolio. The company's streaming platform, CBS All Access, was rebranded as Paramount+ and would include a diverse spread of content, spanning the assets owned by ViacomCBS (since renamed to Paramount Global, which brands itself simply as "Paramount").

In 2023, due to the effects of the ongoing WGA/SAG-AFTRA strikes. CBS began adding a number of library programs from Paramount such as Yellowstone and newly-acquired Ghosts (UK) alongside a reality/sport-heavy fall lineup.

Other Divisions

CBS News

During the 1950s and 1960s, CBS had, arguably, the greatest television news department in the world. With anchors like Edward R. Murrow (the man who fought Joe McCarthy and won) and Walter Cronkite ("The Most Trusted Man in America"), and shows like 60 Minutes, CBS News ruled the roost. Their CBS Reports specials became famous. In 1960, Murrow's CBS Reports documentary Harvest of Shame showed the plight of American migrant agricultural workers, and is acknowledged as one of the greatest news stories ever. Harvest of Shame forever changed the nature of TV news and set the tone for a generation of investigative journalists. Their cut-in to report of the John F. Kennedy assassination (the entire report) has since been inducted into the Smithsonian, and set the tone for the reporting of breaking news for years to come.

Unfortunately, not only was there was little money in such programs, but they usually managed to upset corporate sponsors. Coca-Cola, for example, refused to purchase advertising on CBS for years after Harvest of Shame. Fearing that other sponsors would follow suit, CBS allowed their news division to wither into irrelevance over the following decades, causing PBS (which didn't have corporate sponsors to answer to) to take up the mantle of investigative TV journalism in the United States.

However, there has been a bigger emphasis on their news department going towards hard news after the end of the Dan Rather/Katie Couric era, with 60 Minutes anchor Scott Pelley moving to the Evening News, and the fact that CBS News dominates on Sundays but withers the rest of the week. This can be seen in their newscasts not going after the newest sordid scandal in the way ABC and NBC do, but focusing more on international news, and CBS This Morning, which seems more comfortable with its lower audience with a news-bent program meant to compete more with Morning Joe and Fox & Friends than just playing Follow the Leader with the others (PBS' Charlie Rose is one of the anchors for starters; he previously anchored their overnight Nightwatch' newscast back in the 80s, bringing it full circle). They also recently launched their own 24-hour news network, CBSN; uniquely, it streams live on their website, mobile apps, and streaming TV devices instead of traditional TV providers; it draws upon the resources of CBS News, their affiliates and CBS-owned properties (like The NFL Today from Showtime and CNET's websites).

But, as CBS' broader struggles began to emerge in 2017, turmoil has struck here too — not only was Scott Pelley forced to leave the Evening News to be replaced by Jeff Glor in another attempt to bring the EN out of third place (in addition to Pelley reporting on the toxic workplace culture at CBS), but both CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose and longtime 60 Mintues head Jeff Fager were both caught in the wave of sexual harassment scandals revealed by the #MeToo movement, resulting in both of their terminations. Glor's tenure as EN anchor was short-lived; former CBSTM anchor Norah O'Donnell replaced him in July of 2019, with the newscast moving to CBS News' Washington DC bureau in December. Localized versions of CBSN based out of CBS' O&O stations have also begun launching; CBSN New York launched in late 2018, with more gradually following from 2019 into 2023. In the wake of this and the COVID-19 Pandemic, CBS News has largely continued to rate third among the networks, without a clear direction. CBS Television Stations also took a major blow with the firings of Peter Dunn and David Friend, heads of the O&O station group, following revelations of sexist and racist behavior from them (as well as the acquisition of WLNY-TV 55 in Long Island so Friend, Dunn and other CBS executives could gain an exclusive country club membership — no, seriously).

Thus, Paramount opted to merge the CBS News and O&O station group together as "CBS News and Stations", with a marked commitment towards reconfiguring the national and local news operations into streaming-first operations. This has included a major expansion of programming on CBSN (renamed to simply CBS News) and more local expansion, including the reworking of the traditional newscast into incorporating a community-based reporting approach, the creation of national/local hybrid newscasts to air on some of the non-duopoly or smaller stations in the group, and the build-out of a new, streaming-focused news operation at CBS' Detroit duopoly, which has historically lacked in news, much to CBS' embarrassment, that launched in early 2023note .

CBS Sports

CBS has had the exclusive broadcast rights to the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship since 1991, and the song "One Shining Moment", which they play at the closing of every tournament, has become synonymous with the Dance. In 2011 they split the tourney with Turner channels TBS, TNT and truTV (also owned by Time Warner) to allow viewers to watch every game without interruptions, forcing fans to subscribe to DirecTV's pay-per-view "Mega March Madness" package, or saddling their affiliates with arranging a second channel to air spillover games. Emphasis on affiliates here; the network's owned-and-operated stations (which there are 14 of, almost all located in major markets) are crippled by the fact that they are not allowed to have digital subchannels (so as not to negatively impact the picture quality), further necessitating the Turner deal. However, this is a big advantage for CBS' other programming, as their high quality HD signal isn't impeded by decades-old reruns or automated weather or live cross country skiing from Lithuania on subchannels like it is on NBC- and ABC-owned stations.

The network also carries the AFC side of the Sunday afternoon National Football League schedulenote  on Sundays, along with The Masters golf tournament, tennis's U.S. Open, and sports from the Southeastern Conference, whose highly competitive football schedule has given it an audience just as large as for NFL events.

Film production

CBS has dipped in and out of feature film production many times over the years. They ran Cinema Center Films from 1967 to 1972, then CBS Theatrical Films from 1979 to 1986. They were an initial partner in TriStar Pictures, and formally aligned with Paramount after they were acquired by Viacom. After CBS and Viacom split in 2007, they created CBS Films, which lasted until 2019, when the Viacom re-merger put Paramount back in the same family, and formally integrated the CBS theatrical library (which also included acquired properties like the Terrytoons library, the 1964 film version of My Fair Lady originally from Warner Bros., and films CBS acquired in its purchase of King World Productions such as the Leo A. Gutman, Inc. library) into that of Paramount.

    Shows on CBS 
Bold indicates ongoing series.

    Shows produced by CBS Studios (excluding those aired on CBS itself)
CBS Studios logo
CBS Television Studios logo after the Viacom merger
CBS Television Studios logo from 2009 to 2020
CBS Paramount Television logo from June 2006 to 2009
CBS Paramount Television logo until June 2006

Paramount Television was inherited by CBS following the 2006 Viacom-CBS split. It was retitled CBS Paramount Television and used that name until CBS lost the right to the Paramount name, after which it was called CBS Television Studios (Paramount would reestablish Paramount Television as a separate company in 2013). In 2020, the "Television" part was dropped, as well, acknowledging that it no longer produces content for TV alone; it is presently known as CBS Studios. For shows produced before the 2006 split, see Paramount.

Also included are series produced by the company's divisions: CBS Productions (the original television arm of CBS, before the 1999 merger with Viacom), CBS Eye Productions, and CBS Eye Animation Productions.

Most shows which are joint co-productions with Warner Bros. air on The CW, of which both companies have a 12.5% stake each. However, not all shows on The CW are co-produced; some are either individual CBS or Warner Bros. productions while a few others are neither.

Carried over from Paramount Television

    Shows produced/distributed by CBS Media Ventures and its predecessors
CBS Media Ventures logo
CBS Television Distribution logo
  • The original Paramount Television library (titles inherited from Spelling Entertainment Group are held under Spelling Television, while titles inherited from Viacom are held either under CBS Studios Productions, LLC, formerly Viacom Productions, or CBS Operations, the renamed original incarnation of Viacom International, depending on the title)
  • The library of shows historically owned by the CBS network
  • Dr. Phil
  • Entertainment Tonight
  • The Hollywood Squares (Format rights owned by King World/CBS since 1991, 1998-2004 series co-produced with Sony Pictures Television)
  • Hot Bench
  • Inside Edition
  • Jeopardy!note 
  • Judge Judy
  • Matt Houston (Aired on ABC, and distributed with Warner Bros.)
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show (Acquired the distribution rights in the King World purchase. The rights reverted back to Winfrey and her company Harpo after the show's conclusion in 2011)
  • Psi Factor (with Alliance Atlantis, distributed as Eyemark Entertainment, King World took over in 2000 during its final season)
  • Rachael Ray
  • Star Search (took over the rights from Rysher Entertainment in 1999)
  • Wheel of Fortunenote 
  • Wild West COW Boys Of Moo Mesa (King World production)



CBS presents this program in color!

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