List of years in television

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This page indexes the individual year in television pages. Each year is annotated with a significant event as a reference point.

before 1930[edit]



  • 1940: the American Federal Communications Commission holds public hearings on television
  • 1941: First television advertisements aired
  • 1942: FCC terminates all American television broadcasting because of the war; DuMont petitions FCC to resume broadcasting and receives approval
  • 1943: Hänsel und Gretel is the first complete opera to be broadcast on television, but only in New York; first (experimental) telecast of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Many more telecasts of the story will follow in later years, but until film begins to be used on television, no two of the television versions of the story will have the same casts
  • 1944: American Broadcasting Company (ABC) formed
  • 1945: National Broadcasting Company (NBC) begins the first regularly scheduled television network service in the United States
  • 1946: RCA demonstrates all-electronic color television system; the DuMont Television Network begins broadcasting
  • 1947: First broadcast of Howdy Doody, one of the first long-running color series, a children's show starring Buffalo Bob Smith and a marionette, a freckle-faced boy named Howdy Doody. It becomes a hit on NBC; Meet the Press, which becomes, as of 2014, the longest-running show on television, premieres, also on NBC; the World Series is broadcast live for the first time; on the DuMont Television Network, John Carradine stars as Scrooge in a presumably now-lost TV version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; then-unknown actress Eva Marie Saint makes an appearance on the program; the 1947 Tournament of Roses Parade becomes the very first parade ever televised; Kraft Television Theatre premieres.
  • 1948: From now on, more people will begin buying television sets, and the schedule of television programs will grow larger. First broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show, on CBS. On NBC, Texaco Star Theater, starring Milton Berle, becomes television's first hit show in prime time; legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini, at the age of eighty-one, conducts the NBC Symphony Orchestra on television for the first time, in a concert of music by Richard Wagner; Verdi's Otello becomes the first opera telecast live from the stage of the old Metropolitan Opera House, on ABC-TV. (The old Met was torn down in 1966 and the opera company then moved to Lincoln Center.) The role of Otello is sung by the most famous interpreter of the role at that time, Ramon Vinay, who sang it on NBC radio with Toscanini conducting in 1947. Lasting more than three hours counting the intermissions, Otello is the longest opera telecast up to that time. That year, Toscanini also conducts the first complete performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony ever telecast, on NBC; the first edition of Candid Camera premieres; it runs only two years; Philco Television Playhouse is the first long-running television anthology series to premiere, and among its offerings is the original television version of Marty, starring Rod Steiger in the role that Ernest Borgnine would later win an Oscar for; during the Christmas season it also telecasts a live adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, starring Dennis King as Scrooge; the anthology Studio One premieres on CBS-TV after years on radio and runs for years more : the original, televised Twelve Angry Men is shown on the program; part of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is telecast nationally for the first time; Perry Como's television variety show The Perry Como Chesterfield Supper Club premieres; the title of the show changes three times, but it runs successfully for the next nineteen years.
  • 1949: First broadcast of Come Dancing and Mama (the TV series based on I Remember Mama); the first Emmy Awards are given; on NBC, Arturo Toscanini conducts the first complete performance of Verdi's Aida ever given on television; it is a concert performance, without scenery or period costumes (just formal dress), and is the only opera Toscanini ever conducts on television. Given in two segments telecast a week apart, the production stars Herva Nelli and Richard Tucker. Heard simultaneously on radio, it marks the first and only simulcast of an opera conducted by Toscanini, and one of the first simulcasts ever heard; Harry S. Truman's inauguration is the first inauguration of a U.S. President to be telecast; Jose Ferrer, who starred in the full-length play on Broadway in 1946, makes his television debut in a live, one-hour version of Cyrano de Bergerac on NBC's Philco Television Playhouse; Ferrer will win an Oscar for playing the same role in the 1950 film version of the play; NBC Television Opera Theatre, which showcases both recent operas and abridged versions of established favorites, all sung in English, premieres and runs for fifteen years. One of its sopranos, Leontyne Price, is the first African American to sing opera on television and will go on to international fame when she begins to sing leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera years later; she will also star in the most-successful-to-that-time staging of Porgy and Bess, on a world tour from 1952 to 1956; on Philco Television Playhouse, celebrated actor-manager Walter Hampden becomes, at 69, the oldest actor to play Macbeth on TV, when he stars in a one-hour version of the play with Joyce Redman and Leo G. Carroll; all three make their U.S. television debuts with this program. A Christmas Carol, a half-hour, low-budget filmed version of the Dickens classic, makes its first television appearance. Starring Taylor Holmes as Scrooge and narrated by Vincent Price, it is the first made-for-TV version of the story shot on film.








See also[edit]