|Launched||September 8, 1971
(original launch; as Madison Square Garden Network)
January 3, 1979
(relaunch; as USA Network)
|Owned by||Comcast (NBCUniversal)|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV/16:9 letterbox)
New York, United States
|Formerly called||Madison Square Garden Network (1971–1979)|
NBC Sports Network
The Weather Channel
|Dish Network||105 (HD/SD)
|C band||Galaxy 14-Channel 19|
|Available on most cable systems||Check Local Listings for channels|
|Verizon FiOS||550 (HD)
USA Network (commonly referred to as USA) is an American cable television channel launched in 1971. Once a minor player in basic cable, the network has steadily gained popularity due to original programming, including initial hits such as Silk Stalkings and La Femme Nikita, which were gradually followed by Monk, Psych, White Collar, Suits, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, and other series. The network is also known for having a relationship with WWE Raw. In addition to original productions, the network has aired syndicated reruns of hit series such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and NCIS. The network also broadcasts a variety of films from the Universal Studios library.
Early years 
USA Network premiered on September 8, 1971, originally organized as the Madison Square Garden Network (not to be confused with the New York City regional sports network of that name). The channel became one of the first national cable television channels when it chose to use satellite delivery as opposed to microwave relay to cable systems. Initially, the network ran a mix of college and less watched professional sports similar to ESPN. It was on after 5 PM weekdays and noon weekends.
On January 3, 1979, the channel changed its name to USA Network after the ownership structure was reorganized under a joint operating agreement by the UA-Columbia Cablevision cable system and the then-MCA Inc./Universal City Studios. That fall, USA began signing on at Noon on weekdays and would run some talk shows and a children's program called Calliope. Sports programming commenced at 5 PM weekdays, and all weekend. In the fall of 1981, USA began programming daily at 6 AM, with talk shows and children's programs until noon, sports from noon on during weekends and until 3 PM weekdays, talk shows 3 to 6 PM weekdays, and sports again after 6 PM.
Later, in 1982, Time Inc. (which would go on to merge with Warner Communications to become Time Warner) and Gulf+Western's Paramount Pictures unit (now part of Viacom) would buy stakes in the venture. MCA/Universal and the latter company would become the sole owners in 1987 (each owning 50%). In the fall of 1982, USA began 24-hour-a-day operations, running a mix of talk shows, a children's program, and a low budget movie from 6 AM to 6 PM. They began running a mix of 1960s and 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoons weekday evenings from 6 to 7 PM known as the USA Cartoon Express, and sports programming after 7 PM and rebroadcast that on overnights. Weekends had a mix of movies and some old drama shows and some talk shows during morning hours and sports afternoons and evenings. Overnights consisted of old low-budget films and film shorts and music under a show called Night Flight. Short news updates, branded as USA Updates, were shown from as early as 1989 until 2000. They were first produced out of KYW-TV in Philadelphia, owing to the fact that the station already produced a number of syndicated new services (including the Group W Newsfeed) and the former newsreader on Good Morning America, Steve Bell, was a primary anchor at the station. However, when KYW's news operations were shaken up in response to falling ratings in 1991, this resulted in the productions of USA Updates moving to the All News Channel, operated by Hubbard Broadcasting and Viacom's joint venture, CONUS Communications. These continued through 2000 (as ANC was suffering heavily from competition and ended up shutting down in 2002), afterwards the updates were discontinued and the network no longer carries any news programs.
From 1984 to 1986, USA began moving away from sports programming and began focusing on general entertainment programming not found on broadcast stations including some less common network drama shows and cartoons. One tradition was an afternoon lineup of game show reruns mixed in with several original low-budget productions aired over the years. It began in October 1984 with reruns of The Gong Show and Make Me Laugh. In September 1985, the network began airing a revival of the mid-1970s game show Jackpot, and another original show was added in September 1986: Love Me, Love Me Not. More shows were progressively added soon after such as The Joker's Wild, Tic-Tac-Dough, Press Your Luck, High Rollers, and Hollywood Squares with John Davidson, along with Wipeout, Face the Music, and Name That Tune. Another original show was added in June 1987, called Bumper Stumpers. When it began, the game show block ran for an hour, but expanded significantly the following year. By 1989, the network ran game shows from noon to 5 p.m. five days a week.
The tradition of game show reruns continued into the 1990s with the $25,000 and $100,000 Pyramids, the early 1990s revivals of The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough plus other well-known shows such as Scrabble, Sale of the Century, Talk About and Caesars Challenge. Additionally, two more original shows were added in June 1994: Free 4 All and Quicksilver. The block was decreased in September 1991 to only three hours, from 2 to 5 p.m. However, another hour was added in March 1993. In November 1994, it was cut back to only two hours, from 2 to 4 p.m.
In October 1995, the network dropped the entire game show block; it was replaced with a block called USA Live, which carried reruns of Love Connection and The People's Court, with live hosted wraparound segments between shows, but that block was dropped by 1997. Some of the game shows that USA broadcast can still be seen on GSN.
On September 24, 1992, USA launched a sister network, the Sci Fi Channel, which in July 2009 was renamed Syfy. In 1997, three years after the Paramount/Viacom merger, that company sold its stake in the networks to Universal (which, along with parent MCA, changed ownership twice earlier in the 1990s: to Matsushita in 1991, and then Seagrams in 1995, the latter company making Universal Studios the corporate name of its media division in 1997). Seagrams/Universal subsequently sold the networks to Barry Diller.
In September 1998, USA dropped the USA Action Extreme Team (which previously had been the USA Cartoon Express for 16 years) and has not rerun children's animated series since that time. USA replaced it with a block called "USAM", which advertised itself as Primetime Comedy in the Morning. This block included mostly sitcoms that were cancelled before making it to 100 episodes and for a time, also included the 1989–1994 episodes of the Bob Saget run of America's Funniest Home Videos. This block was dropped from the channel in 2001. USA also simulcasted the business news and information channel Bloomberg TV in the early-morning hours from 5–8 a.m. ET/PT; that simulcast moved to E! in 2004 until it was dropped from that channel in 2007. USA was actually the second television network to simulcast Bloomberg Television's programming, the now-defunct American Independent Network carried a simulcast of the channel during the mid-1990s.
In 2000, USA Networks bought Canada's North American Television, Inc. (a joint partnership between the CBC and Power Corporation of Canada), owner of cable TV channels Trio and Newsworld International (the CBC continued to program NWI until 2005, when eventual USA owner Vivendi sold the channel to a group led by Al Gore, who relaunched it as Current TV).
In 2001, USA Networks sold its non-shopping TV and film assets (including the USA Network, the Sci Fi Channel, the Trio channel, USA Films (which was rechristened as Focus Features) and Studios USA) to Vivendi Universal. USA and the other channels were folded into Vivendi's Universal Television Group.
In 2003, General Electric's NBC agreed to buy 80% of Vivendi Universal's North American–based filmed entertainment assets, including Universal Pictures and Universal Television Group in a multi-billion dollar purchase, renaming the merged company NBC Universal.
In 2004, NBC Universal officially took over as owner of USA and its sibling cable channels (except for Newsworld International as stated above). Sci fi series The 4400 premieres.
In 2006, USA premiered Psych, its current longest running original show.
NBC Universal announced before NBC released their 2007–08 fall schedule on May 13, 2007 that Criminal Intent would be renewed for a seventh season. However, the new episodes of the series would premiere on USA beginning in fall 2007, with episodes repeating later in the season on NBC, most likely to shore up any programming holes created by a failed series. Although this is not the first time a broadcast series has moved to cable (as early at 1983, CBS's The Paper Chase moved to Showtime, and in 1987, NBC's revival of Alfred Hitchcock Presents moved to USA Network, and even before that CBS's The Paper Chase moved to Showtime), it is a first in that a series which moved to cable will continue to show episodes on a broadcast network during its first-run era. On December 7, 2007, it was announced that USA Network would continue broadcasting first-run episodes of WWE Raw until 2010. The USA original series Burn Notice also made its debut in 2007.
In 2008, USA announced a new original series In Plain Sight, starring Mary McCormack, focusing on a United States Marshal working for the Witness Protection Program. The show was filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The series debuted June 1, 2008 with USA's highest-rated series premiere since the premiere of Psych in 2006 with 5.3 million viewers.
In early 2009, USA Network acquired the network television rights for 24 recent and upcoming Universal Pictures films for $200 million. Among the films included in the deal are Milk, Frost/Nixon, Duplicity, State of Play, Land of the Lost and Funny People. As of January 18, 2009 House was the highest-rated drama on USA Network (to this day) surpassing both Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, with In Plain Sight, Monk and NCIS.
Monk (which returned for its last season) and Psych returned Friday, August 7, 2009. Monk's series finale was on Friday, December 4, 2009. Psych paused mid-season on Friday, October 16, 2009 and resumed the airing of the 4th season's episodes in January 2010. USA's newest series White Collar premiered on Friday, October 23, 2009 and its fall finale was Friday, December 4, 2009 (with the series finale of Monk).
In 2010, USA Network started occupying weeknights with the networks original series. After the 2009–2010 season break, Burn Notice resumed airing the remainder of the 3rd season's episodes on Thursdays at 10:00 pm Eastern/9:00 pm Central as well as it being renewed for a 4th season starting Spring-Summer 2010. White Collar returned as well airing the remaining episodes of its first season on a new night and at a new time; on Tuesdays at 10:00pm Eastern/9:00 pm Central. Psych returned on a new night and at a new time; on Wednesdays at 10:00 pm Eastern/9:00 pm Central.
Future programming 
NBC Sports 
The network is the longtime home of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and was the longtime cable home of tennis's US Open, which moved to ESPN2 and the Tennis Channel as of 2009. Since 2004, they have broadcast portions of the Olympic Games, along with many other NBCUniversal basic cable channels. Previously, it had a weekly boxing show named USA Tuesday Night Fights, which ran for 17 years. USA is also the home of World Wrestling Entertainment's (then called the World Wrestling Federation) flagship cable TV show WWE Raw from its debut in January 1993 until September 2000, and currently since October 2005. Each April from 1982–2007, USA broadcast the opening two rounds of the Masters along with high-definition coverage on Universal HD. The coverage switched to ESPN in 2008. USA also carried Major League Baseball games on Thursday nights from 1979 to 1983. USA Network also took part in broadcasting IIHF ice hockey in 2006 and 2010.
Upon the 2004 purchase of Vivendi Universal by NBC, USA's sports division was immediately merged into NBC Sports.
In February 2007, Shaw Communications submitted an application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), to bring the USA Network to Canada (and to automatically allow all English-language general interest cable networks from the USA into Canada). However, because of programming rights issues in Canada, certain programs would be subjected to blackout, including WWE Raw. In September 2007, the commission refused Shaw Communications' request to carry USA Network into Canada because it had too much programming that overlapped with Mystery TV. Mystery TV is an English language digital cable specialty channel that is owned by Shaw Media and Groupe TVA. However, on September 20, 2007, the CRTC did say they would reconsider their denial of USA Network, when Shaw Communications instead offered to carry USA Network on their digital cable packages, at a future date. However, this has since been rejected again because its programming would make the channel compete with Mystery TV.
South America 
Countries in Latin America such as Argentina and Brazil previously had their own USA Network versions, but in September 2004, most were renamed Universal Channel to take advantage of the more well-known brand and reduce the awkwardness of a channel branded with the initials of another nation.
- Assael and Mooneyham, Shaun and Mike. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and World .... p. 36.
- DIRECTV Adds Six HD Channels
- Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
- DISH Network Expands National HD Line-Up
- All Three 'Law & Order'- Branded Series Will Continue On The Networks Of Nbc Universal[dead link]
- Weprin, Alex. USA Extends WWE Monday Night Raw Deal. Broadcasting & Cable: December 7, 2007.
- Governor Bill Richardson Announces In Plain Sight to be Filmed in New Mexico :: New Mexico Film
- Schneider, Michael (February 8, 2009). "USA, Universal sign $200 million deal". Variety.
- Lieberman, David. "Comcast Completes Acquisition Of GE’s 49% Stake In NBCUniversal." Deadline.com (March 19, 2013)
- Rose, Lacey (January 25, 2012). "USA Network Enters Reality With 9 Episode Order for 'The Moment' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- CHANNEL CANADA :: USA Network Could Be Coming To Canada
- Digital Home Canada - CRTC refuses to allow USA Network in Canada[dead link]
- Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2007-104