NBC, or National Broadcasting Company
, is a cornerstone of big media
. According to NBC's corporate info page, NBC was founded in 1926 by General Electric
, and Westinghouse
. In 1932, RCA became the sole owner. In 1986, RCA was bought by General Electric and now is a mere pawn
in their plans to dominate the hydroelectric-turbine
NBC was originally a radio broadcasting corporation, with affiliates all over the place, competing with CBS and ABC, along with defunct radio networks that seem relegated in history to acronyms on microphones underneath FDR. In any case, NBC became a TV broadcaster in the '40s, and today controls a helluva lot of media. There are 13 TV stations and several services such as CNBC, a business news cable station, and MSNBC, another cable news station in partnership with Microsoft. MSNBC is officially the "world's preeminent news site on the Internet" though I'm not sure how much stock to put in that.
NBC also owns equity in several cable stations: A&E (Arts & Entertainment), The History Channel, Rainbow Media Holdings, Inc. and other more obscure media companies. Also overseas there are CNBC Europe, CNBC Asia, which are services of Dow Jones and NBC. They also have National Geographic Channels International in their clutches. I have no idea why they don't think that Europeans and Asians are independent enough to do their own financial news, but anything for globalization!
The NBC website brags that they've done a lot of things first: first "permanent" broadcasting network in the nation (I sense this means RKO or NBS beat them to it, and then fell apart); the first coast-to-coast radio broadcast (1927 Rose Bowl); the first commercial TV station license(now WNBC); the first with early early-morning news program (1952); the first color broadcast (1953); the first made-for-TV movie (1964); the first to broadcast in stereo (1984); and the first to have a full-scale web services, 1995. That's really not too bad for firsts, I'd say. NBC has also won almost 1000 Emmys, more than any other network.
NBC was the broadcaster of Star Trek, and of course it was evil corporate suits that never gave them enough budget and cancelled the show eventually. I have heard that the reason Star Trek had all those garish colors was as part of a (evil plot/marketing plan) by RCA, the parent company, to sell more *new and deluxe* color televisions. Star Trek and Saturday Night Live have a bit of a history. There was a great sketch with John Belushi as Captain Kirk, and evil corporate guys come, cancel the show, take all the phasers away and tear down the set while poor Kirk remains in his own little world. And there was one where Picard and LaForge appeared in a sketch but it wasn't as funny.
According to legend, the distinctive NBC chime, the notes G E C, was actually an homage to General Electric Corporation.
Recently NBC invested in a joint venture with the WWF in a monstrosity called the XFL, an Xtreme Football League which basically was inferior to the NFL and probably NCAA Division I football as well. The XFL failed badly, quite badly. I believe the ratings fell about 40% every subsequent weekend.
NBC was really at the top of their game a couple years ago, when Seinfeld, ER, Friends, Frasier and the like were at their best, and dominating Nielsen ratings.
Current NBC shows are a pretty irregular crop, but I almost never watch TV. Here's an alphabetical rundown of current NBC shows: