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"What does NBC stand for? Never Believe your Contract."
Jay Leno, during both Tonight Show scandals

The National Broadcasting Company, owned by NBCUniversal (a unit of U.S. cable and mass-media giant Comcast), is the United States' oldest radio and TV network. NBC-TV is famous for its peacock logo, whose original purpose was to promote the network's "living color" broadcasts, and for this reason NBC is sometimes known as "The Peacock Network" or just "The Peacock". Originally founded by set manufacturer RCA to provide people who bought their radios something to listen to, NBC once had two radio networks: NBC Red and NBC Blue. In 1943, NBC Blue was split off into a separate entity by the FCC in an antitrust lawsuit, and went on to become ABC.

NBC was the first to take color television seriously: CBS had dabbled in it, but their system (which was more complex and required manually switching between black-and-white and color modes) was only ever experimented with for a few years before NBC's all-electronic system took off. NBC also had a tight grip on much of the U.S. radio landscape, holding up the adoption of FM radio for years note  because of fear it would put their mostly-AM network out of business. They also created the unique programming block known as Monitor in 1955, offering a constant stream of news, features, comedy and music to NBC radio stations until 1975. Due to the FCC not allowing non-broadcast companies to own both radio and television assets (General Electric had bought NBC in 1986), NBC finally exited the radio business in the late 1980s, selling what was left of the old NBC Red to Westwood One and the radio stations to various companies (mostly to Emmis Communications).

It has the most famous address in all of broadcasting — 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10012 — with not one but two shows named after it: 30 Rock (a Sitcom about TV comedy writers) and Rock Center (a Prime Time News Magazine Show filmed at the building).

But along the way? Hoo boy...

1976: The peacock leaves the building

On New Year's Day, NBC temporarily (as in, for four years) retired the peacock logo that had been used for the past two decades note  in favor of a stylized capital N for its broadcast of the Tournament of Roses parade. Unfortunately, it happened to look almost identical to the logo then used by the Nebraska Educational Television Network. Nebraska ETV sued, and NBC settled, buying the logo for $1,000,000 in television equipment which Nebraska ETV had a lot more use for than their logo.

The kicker? NBC spent $1,000,000 on their new logo. Nebraska ETV spent $150!

1977-81: NBC lays an egg (the Silverman era)

Before 1977, NBC had typically run a solid #2 to CBS. This all changed when ABC, with its popular Jiggle Shows and epic Mini Series, shot from last place to #1, leaving NBC with "older" shows like Little House on the Prairie. NBC hired Fred Silverman, the executive who had been responsible for ABC's turnaround, as president and CEO, and he tried gimmick after gimmick trying to increase ratings. One of the good things he brought is he campaigned successfully to stop NBC destroying old tapes of shows that had been run, instead saving them for reruns note . Otherwise, things went south for Silverman and NBC very quickly.

Some of the biggest flops in the network's history, such as Supertrain, Pink Lady and Jeff, and the 1980-81 season of Saturday Night Live, date from this era, with only a few successes (such as Real People, Diff'rent Strokes, Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters) to speak of. The final straw was the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, which prompted the US Olympic team to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics — and NBC, having bet the farm on Olympic programming that year, found itself broadcasting an event that Americans, without the home team to root for, couldn't care less about (it only did a grudging Clip Show to keep the diehards who couldn't care less about politics happy). Between RCA funding bad investments in an attempt to diversify (something that had been going on since a management change in the mid-1960s), the Troubled Production that was the SelectaVision video disc, the shift in TV sales from US brands to Japanese ones note , and NBC's continued poor performance, some wondered if the network would be shut down or sold off to keep RCA from going bankrupt.

Indeed, even much of NBC's own staff thought little of Silverman. On Saturday Night Live, series writer and occasional performer Al Franken satirized Silverman in a May 10, 1980 Weekend Update commentary titled "A Limo For The Lame-O" (part of an ongoing series of commentaries about the 1980s being "the Al Franken decade"), calling Silverman "a total unequivocal failure" and showing a chart of the top 20 network shows, pointing out that there were no big N's on the list under the "Network" heading; he further said that because of this, Silverman didn't deserve a limo but Franken himself did. Silverman, ostensibly not one to take a joke, nixed Lorne Michaels' request that Franken succeed him as executive producer of SNL, which not only killed any hope of the 1980s truly being the Al Franken decade, but caused Michaels to be replaced with Jean Doumanian instead, leading to the show's Audience-Alienating Era in the 1980-81 season. Johnny Carson also fought a dispute with Silverman, attempting to take his Tonight Show to ABC; this dispute was resolved with a cut-down of the show from 90 to 60 minutes in September of 1980.

Later in 1980, network staff went so far as to use the same production studio and vocalists that did the network's "We're Proud!" campaign song and make a hilarious parody mocking their boss, which was sent to affiliates for Christmas. After Don Imus played it on his radio show in early 1981, the fun stopped immediately and Silverman (now even less amused then he was at Franken) ordered all copies of the song destroyed. That worked about as well as his attempts to boost ratings — i.e., not at all.

Even with this move, NBC game show Blockbusters got in on the Silverman-bashing fun: during a Spring 1981 episode, a Gold Run clue was "HL: Another McLean Stevenson flop." (the answer being Hello, Larry, one of Silverman's shows).

Near the end of 1981, following the departure of Chuck Woolery from Wheel of Fortune (which Silverman had cancelled in 1980, only to reverse the decision after a "series finale" had been taped in favor of cutting David Letterman's daytime talk show from 90 to 60 minutes; he had already cancelled High Rollers, The Hollywood Squaresnote  and Chain Reaction to make room for it.note  Silverman strongly opposed series creator Merv Griffin's choice of Pat Sajak (at the time, a weatherman at KNBC), claiming he was "too local". Merv's response was to stop production of Wheel. Indeed, Silverman hated game shows (at CBS he cancelled the original Password after arguing with Mark Goodson, while at ABC he canned Break the Bank (1976) after 15 weeks to expand a pair of soap operas, despite it being the #3 show in daytime).

1981-2004: Must-See TV; NBC becomes #1; the GE merger

Shortly afterward, Silverman was finally ousted and NBC began turning itself around, hiring MTM Enterprises co-founder Grant Tinker note  as chairman and CEO along with Brandon Tartikoff as president of NBC Entertainment, hoping to end the tide of bad shows. Together, the decisions of Tinker and Tartikoff ended up creating a golden age for NBC; despite a few false starts in 1982 and especially 1983 (when not one show that premiered that fall lasted a full season), the Must-See-TV block of sitcoms hit its stride in 1984.note 

Must-See-TV reigned supreme on Thursday nights for well over a decade, helping the network take #1 in the ratings several years in a row. This two-hour block of primetime included, over the course of The '80s and The '90s, such popular shows as The Cosby Show (1984-92) and its spin-off A Different World (1987-93), Family Ties (1982-89), Cheers (1982-93) and its spin-off Frasier (1993-2004), Gimme a Break! (1981-87), Night Court (1984-92), The Golden Girls (1985-92) and its spin-off Empty Nest (1988-95), Seinfeld (1989-98), Wings (1990-97), Mad About You (1992-99), Friends (1994-2004), and Will & Grace (1998-2006, 2017-2020). Plus, the night's 10:00-11:00 timeslot helped such dramas as Hill Street Blues, (1981-87), Hunter (1984) (1984-91), The A-Team (1983-87), L.A. Law (1986-94), ER (1994-2009), and the first four episodes of Law & Order (1990-2010) become smash hits. The network's daytime lineup also began to have many hit game shows with Wheel of Fortune leading the charge, including Sale of the Century (which had originally run from 1969 to 1973 on the network; this version was re-imported by Australian producer Reg Grundy, who had modified the format for his homeland in 1980), Scrabble, Super Password, Classic Concentration, and Win, Lose or Draw, amongst others.

In 1986, when the network commemorated its 60th anniversary, the very end of the show saw the copyright-infringing "N" logo (by that time, merged in with a re-done version of the Peacock inserted in 1979 at Silverman's insistence) dispensed with, and the unveiling of the 6-feathered Peacock logo featuring the main primary and secondary colors most viewers know NBC for today.

The high point came in the 1988-89 season, when NBC won every week in the ratings for more than twelve months straight (a record that still stands), and had eighteen of the top thirty TV shows. The 90s were also the period in which NBC's Dateline news-magazine show is considered to have been at its peak; during that period, it was fairly well-respected and did manage some solid reporting in between its more tabloid pieces (even bringing home the occasional award for the network).

Sadly, however, Tinker never properly enjoyed the trappings of the successes at NBC which he had green lit, having departed in 1986 to resume independent production. Meanwhile, even as NBC itself recovered, RCA never got better. When General Electric bought them in 1986, it was mainly for NBC. GE promptly sold the consumer and broadcast electronics divisions to French electronics maker Thomson (who eventually acquired the RCA trademark as well), the transistor and microchip factories to Harris/Intersil, and the music business to Bertelsmann Music Group.note  NBC gained an owned-and-operated station from GE, in Denver's KCNC-TV (now a CBS O&O due to a transaction involving Philadelphia's WCAU-TV; see Disaster Dominoes for more on that mess).

2000-12: NBC crashes and burns; the Universal merger; the Late Night War; sale to Comcast

After 2000, ratings on NBC started to slip across the board, and the glory days of the 1980s-90s gave way to years of seemingly intractable poor performance. The once-invincible Thursday night block faced stiff competition in the ratings by Survivor and CSI on CBS and by Grey's Anatomy on ABC, causing the network to slip into fourth place with ratings more like those on The CW than the other three major networks. In 2001, NBC bought Telemundo, which gained a presence in the Puerto Rico market (where Telemundo originated from).

However, this came with a consolation prize: NBC was praised by viewers and critics for frequently pulling off cases of Network to the Rescue, protecting critically- and cultly-adored shows even if they were struggling in the ratings. It's not like they had anything better, after all. During this time, the Thursday night block would be composed of shows like Scrubs (2001-08, ABC afterwards), The Office (2005-13), My Name Is Earl (2005-09), 30 Rock (2006-13), Parks and Recreation (2009-15), and Community (2009-14, Yahoo Screen afterwards). The network seemed to be coming back with the success of Heroes, but a troubled Seasons 2-3 caused the show's ratings to sink like a rock, ultimately turning the big-budget series into a financial vacuum for the network that led to its cancellation after Season 4.

In 2004, NBC finally merged with its old partner, Universal Studios, forming NBCUniversal; As a result, GE now held 80% of the new company, with French conglomerate Vivendi (Universal's owner) holding the remaining piece (separately, Universal held onto Universal Music and Universal Interactive (which has since been absorbed into Activision)). The companies had a close relationship since the 1960s, with Universal TV, its predecessor Revue Studios, and its temporary successor, Studios USA, making many of NBC's hit series. The merger also allowed NBC to expand its Olympics coverage across Universal's channels including USA Network, Syfy, and Universal HD.

In September 2009, in an effort to cut costs, NBC gave Jay Leno, recently retired from The Tonight Show, a Monday-through-Friday, Prime Time slot for a new Variety Show, The Jay Leno Show note . This was the first time that a network scheduled the same show five nights a week since The '50s, and the response was both immediate and brutal.

Media pundits cried foul at NBC's decision, saying that it was a lose-lose situation, for both the network and television programmers: If Leno failed, the network had surrendered a third of its Prime Time lineup to its biggest flop since Supertrain, leaving the network so weak financially it could potentially fold or be re-aligned as a cable channel. But, if Leno succeeded, then the other three major networks (all of them suffering with falling ratings and advertiser revenue) could follow NBC's lead, nixing television dramas and sitcoms for more reality programming. Feeling that a potential loss of NBC as a major network was preferable to what they saw as the corruption of the entire TV landscape, many in the industry actively cheered for Leno to fail. They got their wish a few months later in January, 2010, when the show's dwindling ratings, combined with fuming network affiliates (justifiably angry that Leno's poor ratings were dragging down their nightly news broadcasts), pushed NBC to decide on a drastic step: the network announced they were going to take The Jay Leno Show, cut it down to a half-hour, and move into the Tonight Show's slot at 11:35pm, and move The Tonight Show to 12:05am.

This then led to a public clash between NBC and current Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien. After waiting nearly five years to take over the show after Leno retired (a deal struck with the network back in 2004), and after only having the show seven months, Conan saw the move as a drastic change that broke a decades-long television tradition, as well as an insult that shook his standing with the network, a vote of no confidence despite helming his post-Letterman Late Night successfully for NBC for over 14 years. O'Brien ultimately left NBC rather than make the move, eventually starting a new talk show on TBS. Leno returned to The Tonight Show in March 2010 (eventually retiring, for good, in 2014.) Between the network's overall ratings and the negative publicity with Conan & Leno, NBC ended the 2009-10 season in the worst shape it had been in since the 1979-80 season — only a small handful of new shows (such as Community and Parenthood) were renewed for a second season. Then, to make matters worse, the 2010 Winter Olympics proved to be a quarter-billion-dollar money pit not unlike that of 30 years earlier, with declining ratings not justifying its exorbitant cost.

In 2009, GE decided it wanted out and put NBC Universal up for sale; in early December, after months of talks, it was announced that Comcast would get 51% of the company (a controlling interest), with GE keeping the rest. The deal was approved by the FCC in January 2011, but with conditions placed on the deal related to Comcast's high-speed Internet service note , as well as a promise not to restrict access to Comcast-owned channels to other service providers. NBC also relinquished a management role in Hulu, making it a silent partner. In 2013, GE shed the rest of its shares in NBCUniversal, giving Comcast 100% control over The Peacock Network (a fact that has been indicated by Comcast using the NBC logo in its own corporate logo as of 2012). It is not yet known whether the sale will help or hurt NBC in its programming ratings, but one of Comcast's first decisions was to fire former network CEO Jeff Zucker, who bore a lot of the blame for NBC's poor performance in the late 2000s and was a key behind-the-scenes figure in the aforementioned late-night wars. Zucker has since moved onto CNN, where he's trying to grab NBC News talent to reform that channel into his own vision until he departed from the channel in 2022.

2012-present: NBC achieves a victory...and then fails hard...then achieves another victory

Surprisingly, NBC managed to turn around its fortunes for a little bit, winning the sweeps month of November 2012 for their first November sweeps victory since 2003.

Unfortunately, this high was short-lived come February sweeps, where NBC did so badly that it fell to fifth place...behind Univision (which, we should note, is a Spanish-language network); Univision, which also ranked #1 among Hispanic-Americans, did a promo touting that success and the fact it was the first time a Spanish-language network had beaten NBC...and all in English.

NBC's misfortunes were only magnified on February 28, 2013 when WKYC channel 3, the NBC affiliate in Clevelandnote  — presumably fed up with the low ratings of NBC programming and having some local ad inventory left to sell — decided to push back NBC's primetime block (a new episode of 1600 Penn and repeats of The Office and Law & Order: SVU) to late night, putting in its place a two-hour Matlock movie from 1992 (Matlock had aired on NBC from 1986-92, when it moved to ABC). The station not only benefited from the ad revenue, but got something unexpected to crow about — the 21-year-old TV movie got ratings on par with the Office repeat's national average and even beat 1600 Penn's average on 56 NBC stations. It even managed at the local level to beat out ABC's prime-time programming as well (a Scandal repeat and a Jimmy Kimmel Live! Oscar Special) in those same timeslots for the Men 25-54 demographic and tie Kimmel's rating in the general 18-34 demographic. It not only embarrassed NBCnote , but showed Andy Griffith still had a lot of pull, shaming those who left him out of the Oscars' "In Memoriam" segment.

Fortunately for NBC, this was short-lived. The network found success in primetime with The Blacklist and continued success with dramas such as Chicago Fire, Grimm and Hannibal. This, combined with the strong ratings from The Voice and Sunday Night Football, and with the help of the Olympics in 2014, NBC's winter and spring of 2014 did considerably better, winning the season in the key 18-49 year old demo, for the first time in 10 years, when Friends ended. This success continued into 2015 with NBC's airing of Super Bowl XLIX.

However, NBC News, long a reliable stronghold, is starting to fail, given the scandal that forced Brian Williams to leave Nightly News (the story he'd been telling for years about escaping from a crashed helicopter in Iraq had actually been made up), with Lester Holt now replacement anchor, then-recently-hired Today host Billy Bush being terminated due to his involvement in the Access Hollywood tape controversy, the turmoil at Today (notably, an ex-ESPN producer had attempted to fire Matt Lauer, and this was after the Ann Curry debacle; Lauer himself would be terminated years later following sexual harassment allegations), the fact that Meet the Press host David Gregory was forced out in favor of Chuck Todd (Gregory had briefly had a "psychological consultant" hired by NBC prior to his departure), and accusations of coverups regarding employee misconduct dating back decades. This was not helped by the revelation that NBC had tried to suppress Ronan Farrow's reporting of the sexual assault allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. Both ABC and CBS have been making evening gains, ABC in particular beating Nightly News in the ratings race recently.

That said, NBC remains a bastion of superb foreign affairs reporting — particularly regarding the Middle East — thanks to boasting the single most veteran, experienced, and knowledgeable foreign correspondent to land on TV in the 21st century in the form of Richard Engel, who has virtually lived in the Levant since 1996. He made his name covering the 2002 invasion of Iraq as the last American reporter left in Baghdad, and his reporting became the gold standard of Middle Eastern coverage during the Arab Spring for nearly the entirety of the news business.

Cable Networks

There are five cable networks currently bearing the NBC name:

  • The first is MSNBC, a 24-Hour News Network (not "Miss NBC"). Originally, the "MS" stood for "Microsoft", and the channel flittered through multiple themes trying to find something to hold on to. Currently, and most successfully, it's the left-wing alternative to the Fox News Channel, featuring commentary programs hosted by Rachel Maddow and, formerly, Keith Olbermann. Less successful is their weekend programming, which consists almost entirely of old episodes of Dateline NBC and Lockup, a prison doc show.
  • The second is CNBC, the Consumer News and Business Channel (not "Cable NBC" or "Corporate NBC" or whatever) which is 24 hours of financial news on weekdays and off-network programs (when there is no stock market activity). CNBC also predates MSNBC by seven years; it was a relatively unknown and unpopular channel until NBC bought its older and better-known rival, the Financial News Network, out of bankruptcy in 1991. Since February 2013, it has been the producer of the Nightly Business Report for local PBS member stations. In October 2015, Jay Leno began hosting a car show, Jay Leno's Garage, on the network. Also airs Olympics events and other assorted overflow sports from NBC or other sister networks as needed (which resulted in businessmen becoming fans of curling).
  • The third is NBCSN (previously NBC Sports Network; known as the Outdoor Life Network until 2005 and Versus until the start of 2012). It was the cable linchpin in NBC's Olympics coverage, and is the main home of the National Hockey League and cycling coverage in the States such as the full run of the Tour de France. NBCSN (with the help of Telemundo, along with NBC broadcasting some games) became the exclusive American English-language source for the English Premier League (with Spanish-language sister station Telemundo becoming the exclusive American Spanish-language source), starting with the EPL's 2013-14 season, coverage that was lauded for being respectful to the game compared to Fox/Fox Soccer's spotty coverage. Another coup was NBC getting the NASCAR rights formerly belonging to ESPN in the 2015 season for the last half of the year, which includes races from both the Xfinity Series and the Monster Energy Cup Series races that won't interfere with NBC's NFL coverage (the network had NASCAR from 2001-06, when the NFL rights and a lack of a second network to move NASCAR to meant NBC had to give up on racing). While NBC tries to get better sports rights for their new network (by way of Comcast), you mainly know this channel outside of the NHL for airing plenty of outdoor programming like the programs of Bill Dance and Tred Barta, and sports-themed movies (expect that last one to go pretty quickly on). With the launch of Peacock seeing many NBCSN events being deferred to that service, along with NBCUniversal management wanting to bolster USA Network programming, it was announced in January 2021 that the channel would cease operations by the end of the year, with most of the network's sports coverage moving over to USA and Peacock. Three months later, NBC lost the NHL to both ESPN and Turner Sports/HBO Max, all but vindicating NBC's decision to close it down that year.
  • Fourth is Universo, which is pretty much "NBCSN en Espanol", which launched with a Spanish simulcast of Super Bowl XLIV in February 2015. This was formerly Telemundo's sister network mun2, and retains much of its former reality and music programming, but now with the addition of Spanish-language coverage of NBC Sports' properties (including Sunday Night Football, which many Telemundo affiliates resisted airing due to high costs), along with extra overflow coverage from Telemundo.
  • The last was formerly ShopNBC, which was named "ValueVision" until NBC bought a majority interest in the network. It's not too different from QVC or HSN. Comcast quickly dumped off its interest in 2013 to another party, and the network was named ShopHQ without any ties to NBC in a transition until switching to "EVINE Live" in February 2015.

NBC (through NBCUniversal) also owns many other channels, among them Syfy, USA (home of shows like Monk and Psych) Bravo, Oxygen, E!, the US version of the Olympic Channel, Golf Channel and Universal Kids. NBCUniversal also owns plenty of regional sports and news networks. (previously under Comcast) This means that there is often some synergization between the networks, such as former Comcast channel Versus becoming the NBC Sports Network and Golf Channel and Sprout getting their own blocks on NBC (Golf Channel on NBC and NBC Kids, respectively). Local stations with a Comcast Sportsnet in the market also have had their sports department merged in for cost efficiencies. G4TV was originally planned to become Esquire Network, but that fell through for various reasons; the network would close on December 31, 2014.

Whereas Touchstone/Buena Vista Television and Paramount Television eventually took on corporate names to match their partners (ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios respectively), NBC's in-house productions like Smash and 30 Rock now go out under the Universal Television banner alongside actual Universal-produced series like House and Parenthood (as did The Office, a genuine NBC/Universal co-production). Filler documentaries made up of old Dateline episodes, along with other pop culture interview programs for networks such as E! and the Discovery networks, are produced by a division of NBC News known as Peacock Productions.

NBC's Olympic coverage

Having sparred with CBS for coverage contracts through The '90s, NBC has been the exclusive American broadcast home for the Summer and Winter Olympic Games since 2000 (the Summer Games exclusively since the 1988 Games in Seoul), something that they are notoriously bad at. Their coverage of the 1992 Barcelona Games included three pay-per-view channels, known as the Olympic Triplecast, that most people weren't willing to pay for, and it was suspected that NBC's coverage was deliberately made terrible to get people to buy the package. Though the company's cable sister channels allow for multiple events, their Olympic coverage focuses on sports that have a lot of media attention, or a sport Americans happen to be particularly competitive at — in an average Summer Games, you'll see a lot of Men's Swimming or Women's Gymnastics but not nearly as much Softball or Archery. NBC has been accused of creating a Human-Interest Story narrative to competitions, and focusing almost entirely on Team USA to the wide exclusion of other nations (their promos for golf's Ryder and Presidents Cups aren't much less partial). During the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, NBC was also accused of exploiting the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, constantly replaying footage of his fatal crash.

Olympic broadcasts are a textbook example of Old Media Playing Catch-Up. They are often Live but Delayed by many, many hours (around 16 hours for the Beijing opening ceremonies) until the American prime time where the most advertising dollars are. NBC recently persuaded the International Olympic Committee to schedule more popular events live at times more acceptable to Americans to avoid spoilers, but even then the east-west time zone delay means three hours between when viewers in New York and those in Los Angeles see the same event — and, hence, news of history being made means that half the country is spoiled. This issue was a huge bone of contention for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, where the West Coast saw events on tape delay that happened in their own time zone! Networks are usually given more leeway when Games are on the other side of the world.

Finding other methods to watch the Olympics is becoming increasingly common among fans, and those in the northern border states just watch the Games from Canada and miss all the squabbling and complaining (thank you, CBC). NBC itself is glad to subsidize this process by maintaining a website where full live video is available presuming your ISP has paid for the privilege. They owned a network called Universal Sports which features Olympic sports 24/7, which moved from broadcast digital subchannel distribution at the start of 2012 to cable-only (much to the relief of viewers, as in that guise the video quality seemed to be worse than a web stream due to limited bandwidth). When the United States Olympic Committee dared to suggest they wanted to create their own cable network with Comcast, NBC's complaining to the International Olympic Committee, as well as Comcast buying control of NBC, made sure that idea was quashed very quickly.

Ironically, Versus' rebranding into the NBC Sports Network, and the move of Universal Sports to cable means they have two channels to plug in Olympic events near all the time. Now with things in order though, the IOC itself is making an effort at an Olympic network, this time with NBC's definite approval. By 2016, the IOC's concept became known as Olympic Channel. In 2017, NBCU was able to replace Universal HD with a version of the Olympic Channel for the US market, but it was shuttered in 2022. NBCSN was shuttered by the end of 2021, with much of its programming moving onto USA Network; Peacock is also set to stream the games in the US which began with Tokyo 2020. Starting in 2024, E! would be added as an additional network to NBCU's Olympic coverage.

In May 2014, NBCU and the IOC shocked everybody by announcing that the Olympics would remain on NBCU's networks in the US until 2032 in an unprecedented deal which means that NBCU is the major funder of the Olympic movement; in other countries the rights are purchased by each broadcaster by individual Olympiad due to budget concerns. This means that nearly half of the Olympics in the television age would air on NBCU's channels, with anyone born after 1998 not even associating it being carried by another network in their lifetime.

Shows that aired on NBC

Bold indicates ongoing or upcoming series.

Other ventures

NBC was one of the founding partners in the video site Hulu (alongside Time Warner, Disney and 21st Century Fox), which hosts free (albeit with commercial interruption) episodes of many of its past and present shows. After Disney absorbed Fox in 2019 and AT&T (the new owners of Time Warner) sold off their stake, Comcast (which now owned NBC) agreed to become a silent partner in Hulu and eventually sell off their stake, giving Disney full control of the streamer. New NBC content will continue to be available on Hulu through 2024.

As this occurred, Comcast, through the NBCUniversal brand, developed their own independent streaming service, aptly named Peacock. The service hosts a library of NBC-owned content, a slate of originals and a large amount of sports programming, including the WWE Network. Launched in April 2020 for Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms and in July 2020 for everyone else, the service will has a free tier and premium ad-supported and ad-free tiers. It competes with several other new streaming services, including Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max.

NBC also offered "NBC Weather Plus", a system allowing affiliates to carry a 24-hour local weather service on one of their digital subchannels (with automated local and national content); promptly discontinued following NBC's purchase of The Weather Channel in 2008. Eventually, these were replaced on NBC-owned stations by Nonstop channels, local-news oriented channels whose formula began in New York City, and was later implemented on the network's owned-and-operated stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, California (a shared feed for San Diego, San Francisco, and Southern California), and Miami-Fort Lauderdale. However, these were killed off in 2013 in favor of Cozi TV, a classic TV-oriented network with the advantage of access to the NBC Universal library. (Some continue to broadcast local news, normally at 7PM, and branded (city/region name) Nightly News.)

NBC used to be in a joint venture with Hallmark and ran the Hallmark Channel for the Asian region, for which they carried a block full of PBS Kids programming. The channel was promptly screwed over and replaced with Diva in 2003 because it wasn't getting ratings that satisfied the execs at NBC.

NBC also used to be in a three-way joint venture with DiC Entertainment (later Cookie Jar) and Nelvana and operated the KidsCo network in Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East, Europe. The partnership was unceremoniously dissolved when NBC acquired Sprout and decided that they didn't want to operate a kids channel outside of the US anymorenote .

NBC has also produced a few theatrical movies, but none of them — Code Name Emerald, Who's Harry Crumb? (a co-production with TriStar), Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Satisfaction (in partnership with Aaron Spelling, no less) — made much of an impact.

Shouldn't be confused with the Nagasaki Broadcasting Corporation, a Japanese TV station sharing the same initials. Also not to be confused with the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, you know, just in case you do. Or what people in the United States knew mainly as "NBC" until the 1930s, the National Biscuit Company. And heaven forbid you confuse it for the old abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction—they're not doing that badnote .


Video Example(s):


A Limo for the Lame-O

Al Franken infamously uses a Weekend Update appearance late in Season 5 as a platform to verbally rip apart then-NBC president Fred Silverman for his inability to get the network out of dead last in the ratings.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BitingTheHandHumor

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