TV Article

100 Greatest Moments in Television: Timeline

A comprehensive look at some noteworthy events in the history of the small screen

1939
April 30: The opening of the World's Fair in New York is the first program televised, but only in N.Y., the nation's ''TV capital.''

1947
The World Series attracts the first mass audience in N.Y., Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. (3.9 million watch).

Nov. 20: Meet the Press debuts, eventually becoming TV's longest-running series.

1949
Jan. 11: NBC links the East Coast with its new stations in the Midwest. Nation wide TV is born in September 1951, when the West Coast is finally connected.

Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theatre is watched by 75 percent of the TV audience — a figure no other entertainment show will ever surpass. Then again, barely 9 percent of Americans have sets.

1950:
News-program footage of the Korean War makes it the first ''living-room war.''

1951:
The DuMont network pays $75,000 to air the NFL championships for the first time.

1952:
March 14: Jerry Lewis kicks off his annual telethon, this one for the construction of New York Cardiac Hospital.

1952
Don Hewitt coins the phrase ''anchorman.''

1953
April 3: TV Guide's first issue features an infant Desi Arnaz Jr.

Reruns begin when CBS puts repeats of ABC's prime-time hit The Lone Ranger on Saturday afternoons. But Desi Arnaz is the first producer to realize the potential profits of selling reruns in syndication; he cleans up in 1957 when CBS repeats I Love Lucy five times a week during the day.

1953
Nov. 22: RCA tests its new color system on the air, with a telecast of NBC's Colgate Comedy Hour. The first color series, NBC's short-lived The Marriage (starring Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn), debuts July 8, 1954.

1954
TV revenue finally surpasses radio's.

Sept. 11: Miss America becomes a TV staple, courtesy of ABC.

1955-56
The $64,000 Question goes No.1, making it the only game show ever to do so.

1956
Nov. 5: Nat ''King'' Cole is the first black man to host a series with his NBC variety show.

Nov. 30: CBS replaces kinescope with videotape.

1959
Eighty-six percent of American households now own TV sets.

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