Portal:Television in the United States

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Television in the United States portal

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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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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...)

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Aaron Sorkin in June 2006
Aaron Sorkin (born June 9, 1961) is an American screenwriter, producer and playwright. His stageplay A Few Good Men caught the attention of Hollywood producer David Brown, who bought the film rights before the play even premiered. Castle Rock Entertainment hired Sorkin to adapt A Few Good Men for the big screen. The movie, directed by Rob Reiner, became a box office success. Sorkin spent the early 1990s writing two other screenplays at Castle Rock for the films Malice and The American President. In the mid-1990s he worked as a script doctor on films such as Schindler's List and Bulworth. In 1998 his television career began when he created the TV comedy series Sports Night for the ABC network. Sports Night's second season was its last, and in 1999 overlapped with the debut of Sorkin's next TV series, the multiple Emmy-award-winning political drama The West Wing, this time for the NBC network. In 2006, after a three year hiatus, he returned to television with a dramedy called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, about the backstage drama at a late night sketch comedy show, once again for the NBC network. His most recent feature film screenplay is Charlie Wilson's War. (More...)

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Ernest Borgnine in 2004
Credit: Mark D. Faram, US Navy

American actor Ernest Borgnine, when he was made an honorary chief petty officer of the United States Navy in October 2004. After being discharged from the navy after World War II and having no direction in his life, Borgnine began his acting career on the advice of his mother, who thought his personality was well-suited for the stage. This began a six-decade period mostly as a character actor on stage, film, and television. His most famous roles were as the lead in Marty, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, the title role in McHale's Navy, and as a voice actor in the cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants. (More...)

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