Portal:Television in the United States

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Television is one of the major mass media of the United States. Ninety-nine percent of American households have at least one television and the majority of households have more than one. As a whole, the television networks of the United States are the largest and most syndicated in the world. There are at least five basic types of television in the United States: broadcast, or "over-the-air" television, unencrypted satellite or "free-to-air", Direct Broadcast Satellite, cable television, and IPTV (internet protocol television). Over-the-air and free-to-air TV is free with no monthly payments while Cable, Direct Broadcast Satellite, and IPTV require a monthly payment that varies depending on how many channels a subscriber chooses to pay for. Channels are usually sold in groups, rather than singly. The United States has a decentralized, market-oriented television system. Unlike many other countries, the United States has no national broadcast programming service. Instead, local media markets have their own television stations, which may be affiliated with or owned and operated by a TV network. Stations may sign affiliation agreements with one of the national networks. Except in very small markets with few stations, affiliation agreements are usually exclusive: If a station is an NBC affiliate, the station would not air programs from ABC, CBS or other networks. However, to ensure local presences in television broadcasting, federal law restricts the amount of network programming local stations can run. Until the 1970s and '80s, local stations supplemented network programming with a good deal of their own produced shows. Today, however, many stations produce only local news shows. They fill the rest of their schedule with syndicated shows, or material produced independently and sold to individual stations in each local market.

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The Paramount Television Network (PTN) was a venture by American film corporation Paramount Pictures to organize a television network in the late 1940s. The company had built television stations KTLA in Los Angeles and WBKB in Chicago; it also had invested US$400,000 in the DuMont Television Network, which operated stations WABD, WTTG, and WDTV in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh. Escalating disputes between Paramount and DuMont concerning breaches of contract, company control, and network competition erupted regularly between 1940 and 1956, and culminated in the dismantling of the DuMont Network. Television historian Timothy White called the clash between the two companies "one of the most unfortunate and dramatic episodes in the early history of the television industry." The Paramount Television Network aired several programs, including the Emmy award-winning children's series Time For Beany. Filmed in Hollywood, the programs were distributed to an ad-hoc network of stations across the United States. The network signed affiliation agreements with more than 50 television stations in 1950; despite this, most of Paramount's series were not widely viewed outside the West Coast. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which had filed suit against Paramount for anti-trust violations, prevented the studio from acquiring additional television stations. Paramount executives eventually gave up on the idea of a television network, but continued to produce series for other networks. In 1995, after four decades of television production for other companies, Paramount re-entered the broadcast network field when the company launched the United Paramount Network (UPN), a television network which operated until 2006. Paramount's television division is now owned by CBS Television Studios. (More...)

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Anthony Michael Hall at Creation Grand Slam XII
Michael Anthony Thomas Charles Hall (born April 14, 1968), known professionally as Anthony Michael Hall, is an American actor, film producer and director who achieved stardom in several successful teen-oriented films of the 1980s. Hall began his career in commercials and on stage as a child, and made his screen debut in 1980. His films with director-screenwriter John Hughes, beginning with the popular 1984 coming-of-age comedy Sixteen Candles, shaped his early career. Hall's next movies with Hughes were the teen classics The Breakfast Club and Weird Science, both in 1985. His performances as lovable geeks in these three films connected his name and face with the stereotype for an entire generation. Hall diversified his roles to avoid becoming typecast as his "geek" persona, joining the cast of Saturday Night Live (1985–1986) and starring in films such as Out Of Bounds (1986), Johnny Be Good (1988), Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Six Degrees of Separation (1993). After a series of minor roles in the 1990s, his performance as Microsoft’s Bill Gates in the Emmy-nominated 1999 film Pirates of Silicon Valley put him back in the spotlight. He is now starring in the popular USA Network series The Dead Zone, which has aired since 2002. (More...)

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U.S. FCC Seal
Credit: United States Government

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a United States government agency, created, directed, and empowered by Congressional statute (see 47 U.S.C. § 151 and 47 U.S.C. § 154), and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current president. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 as the successor to the Federal Radio Commission and is charged with regulating all non-Federal Government use of the radio spectrum (including radio and television broadcasting), and all interstate telecommunications (wire, satellite and cable) as well as all international communications that originate or terminate in the United States. (More...)

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