Television in the United States portal
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.
Friends is an American sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004. The series revolves around a group of friends in Manhattan. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television. The original executive producers were Crane, Kauffman and Kevin S. Bright, with numerous others being promoted in later seasons. Kauffman and Crane began developing Friends under the title Insomnia Cafe in November/December 1993. They presented the idea to Bright, with whom they had previously worked, and together they pitched a seven-page treatment of the series to NBC. After several script rewrites and changes, including a second title change to Friends Like Us, the series was finally named Friends and premiered on NBC's coveted Thursday 8:30 pm timeslot. Filming for the series took place at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California in front of a live studio audience. After ten seasons on the network, the series finale was promoted by NBC, and viewing parties were organized around the U.S. The series finale (the 236th episode), airing on May 6, 2004, was watched by 51.1 million American viewers, making it the fourth most-watched series finale in television history and the most watched episode of the decade. (More...)
Austin Nichols (born April 24, 1980) is an American television and movie actor. Nichols has appeared in guest spots on television shows such as CSI, Six Feet Under, and Deadwood. His film roles include the 2004 blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, in which he was cast as an academic and romantic rival to Jake Gyllenhaal's protagonist. In Wimbledon, a film also released in 2004, Nichols played an arrogant American tennis pro, opposite Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany. Signed to a rare holding deal with HBO, he most recently starred in his own series, John from Cincinnati. Nichols is the son of a 10-time water skiing champion and was raised in Austin, Texas. He became a successful competitive water skier himself, until a shoulder injury forced him to retire. Shortly afterwards, Nichols moved to Los Angeles, California, to pursue a career in acting. (More...)