List of United States over-the-air television networks

List of United States over-the-air television networks

In the United States, for most of the history of broadcasting, there were only three or four major national broadcasting networks. From 1946-1956 these were ABC, CBS, NBC, and DuMont. From 1956-1986, the national networks were ABC, CBS, and NBC.

Today, more than 20 nationwide broadcasting networks exist. Other than the noncommercial PBS, the largest broadcast networks are the traditional Big Three Television Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC). Many other large networks exist, however, notably FOX, MyNetworkTV, and The CW (formerly UPN and The WB). FOX has just a fraction of a percentage point fewer households reached than the Big Three, and is therefore often considered a peer to ABC, NBC, and CBS. Most media outlets now include FOX in what they refer to as the "Big Four" television networks.

Broadcast networks in the United States can be divided into four categories:
* Commercial broadcasting networks (which air English-language programming to a general audience). Example: CBS
* Educational and other non-commercial broadcasting networks (which air English- and some foreign-language programming, intended to be educational or otherwise of a sort not found on commercial television). Example: PBS
* Religious broadcasting networks. Example: Daystar
* Spanish-language broadcasting networks. Example: Telemundo

Each network sends its signal to many local TV stations across the country. These local stations then air the "network feed," and 103,000,000 households across the country tune in. In the case of the largest networks, the signal is sent to over 200 TV stations. In the case of the smallest networks, the signal may be sent to just a dozen or fewer stations.

Table of broadcast networks

All of the networks listed below operate a number of terrestrial television stations. In addition, several of these networks are also aired on cable and satellite services.


* [ TVRadioWorld] depicts a few other networks also being broadcast, however, these are not confirmed.
* [ Minnesota TV Stations (North Pine)]
* [ Nebraska TV Stations (North Pine)]

English-language American commercial over-the-air television networks

* American Broadcasting Company (ABC) (originally formed from the NBC Blue radio network, which the FCC forced NBC to sell in 1943) The nation's third-largest commercial network, ABC has over 200 affiliate stations and airs original programming, sports, and news seven days a week. Almost all ABC stations air local newscasts.
* CBS (originally Columbia Broadcasting System) The nation's second-largest commercial network, CBS has over 200 affiliate stations and airs original programming, sports, and news seven days a week. Almost all CBS stations air local newscasts.
* NBC (originally National Broadcasting Company) (sprung from what was once the NBC Red radio network) The nation's largest commercial network, NBC has over 200 affiliate stations and airs original programming, sports, and news seven days a week. Almost all NBC stations air local newscasts.
* Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) The nation's fourth-largest commercial network, FOX has nearly 200 affiliate stations and airs original programming, sports, and news seven days a week, programming two hours each night in prime time (three hours on Sundays), along with the optional Saturday morning 4KidsTV children's block. Almost all FOX stations air local newscasts.
* The CW (originally formed from The WB and UPN networks, both of which folded in September 2006 after 11 years of existence). The nation's fifth-largest commercial network, The CW has approximately 100 affiliate stations in the top 100 television markets, and cable operations and digital subchannel operations in smaller television markets. The network airs original programming six nights a week from Sunday-Friday, programming two hours each night in prime time (three hours on Sundays), with a morning children's block (Kids' WB) on Saturdays.
* MyNetworkTV is a start-up network project of News Corporation, which already owns FOX/FBC. Announced in part to fill the void that the merger of the WB and UPN will leave, particularly for Fox-owned stations which had been UPN affiliates in a number of large markets. The network launched with English-language telenovelas, but because of the failure of that strategy, currently the network features a mix of reality programming, concerts, entertainment news specials, second-run theatrical films, archived reality and comedy programming from the Fox network, and sports programming. The network programs six evenings a week from Monday-Saturday, two hours each night, all in prime time, with no children's programming.
* ION Television A mid-sized network which has aired original family-oriented programming as well as repeats from other networks. The network has a 24 hour schedule airing seven days a week, with actual programming airing six hours each evening (all other time is taken up by paid and religious programming, or programmed by the local station). Affliates number around 100, although most of the stations are owned by ION. Formerly known as PAX TV from 1998-2005, and i: Independent Television from 2005-2007.
* America One (a successor to Channel America) A small network comprised of over 160 affiliate stations, A1 airs general entertainment programming with a heavy emphasis on primetime Sports programming and events including the Canadian Football League.
* Omni Broadcasting Network (OBN) A very small network composed of low-power TV stations in around 20 markets.

Additionally, several of the cable-oriented theme channels (e.g. music or shopping channels) have obtained broadcast clearances, usually on low-power stations, in many markets. Among these are MTV2, Home Shopping Network, and ShopNBC.

Several of the religious broadcasting networks have out-of-pattern clearance arrangement with their broadcast affiliates, notably FamilyNet, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Three Angels Broadcasting Network, Hope Channel and World Harvest Television. And, of course, the Public Broadcasting Service also allows its member stations to run their programs out of pattern.

Nicknames of major American networks (most established by the industry publication Daily Variety as [ "slanguage"] ) are as follows:
* ABC: "Alphabet network" (its name is also the first three letters of the alphabet)
* CBS: "Tiffany network" or "Eye network" (for the network's high-toned reputation and eye logo, respectively)
* Fox Broadcasting Company is referred to in almost all media and by the network itself by the all-capitalized "FOX"
* NBC: "Peacock network" (after its multi-colored logo)
* The CW: "Green network" (the network's launch color scheme was (and is) dominated by the color green)
* MyNetworkTV: "FOX mini-network" (like FOX, the network was formed by News Corporation)
* PBS: "Head Network" for their educational programming, mascot, and logo
* UPN defunct: "Used Parts Network" for its constant reruns of programs formerly from other networks, "Shapes network" or "Disc network" (after the network's 1995-2002 and 2002-2006 logos)
* The WB defunct: "Frog network" (after the network's frog mascot)
**Additionally, both The WB and UPN were also referred to as "weblets" by Variety because of their smaller and niche audiences.

panish-language American commercial over-the-air television networks

* Univisión (UNI or UVN) The nation's largest commercial Spanish-language network, Univision has over 120 affiliate stations including over 35 full-power stations many Univision owned-and-operated and airs original programming, as well as imported programming from Mexico and Venezuela seven days a week. Formed in 1986 following the sale of predecessor Spanish International Network (SIN) to Hallmark from Mexico's Televisa due to federal laws against foreign ownership of American television networks.
* Telemundo (TMD, TELE, TEL, or less commonly TDO) The nation's second-largest commercial Spanish-language network, Telemundo has over 100 affiliate stations including 18 full-power stations and airs original programming seven days a week. In addition, Telemundo operates in Mexico and Puerto Rico.
* Azteca América (AZT or AZA) The nation's third-largest commercial Spanish-language network, Azteca America has nearly 90 affiliate stations including 8 full-power stations and airs original and imported programming seven days a week. Azteca America is an off-shoot of Mexico's TV Azteca, though much of the American network's programming airs at different times.
* TeleFutura (TFT) The smallest commercial Spanish-language network, TeleFutura has nearly 30 affiliate stations including 13 full-power stations and airs original and imported programming seven days a week. Owned by Univision.

Additionally, Televisa, which distributes programming to Univision in the United States, operates in Mexico, but their networks (Canal de las Estrellas, Canal 5, and Galavisión) have certain stations which can be seen in areas of the U.S. along and near the Mexican border, and likewise with the American networks in border cities towards Mexico.

Some Mexican border stations (such as Tijuana's XETV-TV) are affiliates of American networks and target their American border city more than their Mexican metropolitan area, broadcasting in English or Spanish, depending on network.

Any one of the four Spanish-language broadcast networks airs on a national feed carried on cable and satellite systems. Univision is broadcast on more cable systems than the other commercial Spanish-language networks and therefore may be carried in more homes than the 15,000,000 listed. Also, there are Spanish-language independent stations, though these are mainly limited to large markets. Some affiliates of Azteca America carry non-network programming including some English-language programs.

The Spanish-language networks have a fewer amount of affiliates than "The Big Three" English-language networks NBC, ABC and CBS, PBS though they still occupy a large share of the country but with the growing Latino population, more affiliates are being added across the United States.

Unlike the English-language broadcast networks, Univision, Telemundo, Azteca America and Telefutura do not rely on their affiliate stations to program the majority of the broadcast day as the networks themselves program the day's programming. This does not mean these affiliates don't air local programming but the local programs are mainly limited to news with some entertainment programming though these programs do not take up a lot of the daily schedule.

American non-commercial television networks

Public/cultural/educational noncommercial

* Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) (the largest public broadcasting network, somewhat decentralized, in the U.S.) PBS also has 24-hour/7-day program feeds that some broadcast (both analog and digital) stations subscribe, for some or all of their dayparts: PBS-X (which has Eastern and Pacific Time feeds, and was originally conceived as a cable channel for areas not served by PBS stations), PBS-XD (created for carriage on home satellite services, such as DirecTV and Dish Network, with primetime programming largely delayed by one day so as not to compete too directly with local PBS member stations, now scheduled to end transmission on 31 January 2008), PBS YOU or "Your Own University" (devoted largely to adult education, crafts, and public-affairs programming, which ceased operations at the end of January 2006), PBS Kids Channel (devoted to PBS's very popular children's programming; discontinued in favor of a commercial-partnership service called PBS Kids Sprout on October 1, 2005 and briefly meant to be succeeded by a new service PBS Kids Go!, in October 2006), PBS DT2, PBS's HDTV feed of high-definition and letterboxed standard-definition programming, and PBS World, a cooperative effort at a news, public affairs, and documentary service between PBS, American Public Television, and other public-broadcasting entities and headquartered at PBS member station WGBH.
* NYCTV The broadcasting service of the City of New York, offering original Emmy-award winning programming and available nationally on PBS stations. Not a network, but a provider of programming to several New York services beyond the home station, WNYE-TV).
* The Annenberg Channel, formerly Annenberg/CPB Channel A National educational access channel for public broadcasters and schools it is available on some cable and satellite packages and is one of the only television channels in the U.S with an online stream programming that is offered to broadcast stations and cable systems for carriage; many of the broadcast affiliates play its programming in overnights. It shared some programming with PBS YOU and various university and college stations around the country.
* Deutsche Welle (DW TV) A German noncommercial television service which provides some English-language news programming to public broadcasting stations, and whose programming feed can be seen on a small number of independent public-broadcasting stations for part of their broadcast day.
* Create (sometimes given as Create!), a 24-7 digital-signal network run by syndicator American Public Television in partnership with WGBH, WNET, WLIW, NETA, and PBS, offering crafts and travel programming in part to fill the void left by the shuttering of PBS YOU. The network began transmission in January, 2006, primarily with a number of digital broadcast stations around the U.S.


* Cornerstone Television
* Daystar Television Network
* Eternal Word Television Network (Roman Catholic, primarily cable-based)
* FamilyNet
* Golden Eagle Broadcasting (Oral Roberts University)
* Hope Channel (Seventh-day Adventist)
* Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) (ecumenical Christian)
* Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) (Seventh-day Adventist)
* Total Living Network (TLN)
* Unity Broadcasting Network (5 low-power stations)
* World Harvest Television (WHT)/LeSEA Broadcasting (Family & religious over-the-air and satellite broadcasting)
* God's Learning Channel (Hebrew and Jewish roots of the Christian Faith)

Defunct American television networks

*American Independent Network - Commercial network, predecessor to UATV
*America's Store - (1988-2007)
*AZN Television - Ceased broadcasting 2008.
*The Box - Music video network in the 1980s to around 2001, was bought out by Viacom/CBS and became part of MTV2.
*Channel America - First commercial network intentionally made up of low-power stations, a model for Pax and AIN/UATV, and the predecessor of America One.
*DuMont Television Network - Commercial network, 1946 – 1956
*Hughes Television Network (HTN) - Started by billionaire Howard Hughes - Active in the '60s and '70s.
*LAT TV - Spanish-language network, 2006 – 2008.
*Mizlou Television Network - An occasional over the air broadcast network from 1961 to 1991.
*National Educational Television (NET) - Educational network, 1952 – 1969, predecessor to PBS
*Network One (N1) - A small independent network, similar to PAX/i and America One. Ceased operations at 12:00am, November 13 1997.
*Overmyer Network (ON) - Commercial network, 1967; also the United Network, not to be confused with UPN.
*PBS Kids - late 1990s-2005. Some of its functions are being taken up by successor PBS Kids Sprout, a commercial cable venture; a new successor service, PBS Kids Go!, was promised for October 2006, but has been postponed indefinitely (while PBS continues to feature daily "PBS Kids" blocks of programming).
*PBS YOU - late 1990s-2006. "Your Own University," this service offered a mix of crafts, college-credit and Standard Deviants instructional programs, and news, commentary, and documentary programming. Many of its affiliates joined Create, a similar if more craft- and travel-focused service administered by American Public Television, as YOU went dark in early 2006.
* Prime Time Entertainment Network (1993-1997)
* Shop at Home Network - (1987-2008)
* Spanish International Network (SIN) - Non-English language commercial network, 1961 – 1986, predecessor to Univisión
* The Tube Music Network - Digital-only music video network. Folded October 2007 due to financial difficulties.
* TVS Television Network - From 1960s to the 1990s
* UPN (formerly initialism for "United Paramount Network") - From January 16, 1995 to September 15, 2006, merged with WB to make The CW.
* Urban America Television (UATV) (a successor to the American Independent Network, AIN) A small network with 60 affiliate stations, UATV airs original programming mixed with older films, rather similarly to America One.
* The WB Television Network - From January 11, 1995 to September 17, 2006, merged with UPN to make The CW.
* World Championship Sports Network - 2005 to 2008.
* Retro Jams - 2007 to 2008.

ee also

* Lists of television channels
* Television in the United States
* List of United States cable and satellite television networks
* List of television stations in the U.S. by call sign (initial letter K)
* List of television stations in the U.S. by call sign (initial letter W)
* List of television stations in North America by media market

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