The American Broadcasting Company(abbreviated ABC, stylized in the logo as abc since 1962) is an American commercial broadcasttelevision network. Throughout its history, ABC has supported its financial operations by diversifying into the press, the publishing industry, the operation of theaters, and filmmaking. Many of the company's assets in these fields have been sold to other entities, and since 2007, when ABC Radio (also known as "Cumulus Media Networks") was sold toCitadel Broadcasting, ABC has reduced its broadcasting operations almost exclusively to television. It is the world's fifth-oldest major broadcasting media network.
The network launched as a radio network on October 12, 1943, separated from and successor to the old "NBC Blue Network" which had been purchased byEdward J. Noble. It extended its operations to television in 1948, following the elder broadcasting networks of CBS and NBC. In the mid-1950s, ABC merged with the theater chain United Paramount Theatres, a former subsidiary of the film studioParamount Pictures. Leonard Goldenson, who had been the head of UPT, made the new television network profitable by leading it to broadcast many successful series. By the 1970s, ABC sold its theater operation division to Henry Plitt, who renamed it Plitt Theatres. In the 1980s, after buying an 80% stake in the cable sports channel ESPN, the network merged with the publishing/broadcasting group Capital Cities Communications. In 1996, ABC and Capital Cities' other assets were purchased by The Walt Disney Company.
As one of the "Big Three television networks", ABC has broadcast many programs that have contributed significantly to American popular culture. These include classic series such as Zorro, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, General Hospital, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, and Roseanne; more recent titles such as Castle, Lost, Revenge, Once Upon a Time, October Road, Desperate Housewives, I'm With Her, Grey's Anatomy, and Modern Family; live broadcasts such as Monday Night Football; the reality shows America's Funniest Home Videos, Rising Star andDancing with the Stars; and the morning news programGood Morning America. A Muppet Family Christmas aired on that December 16, 1987. World Worms was from WGBH Boston and Jim Henson Television the creator of Arthur the TV show since 1996.