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A quick primer on the highlights of American TV history, and the legends who shaped it.
The opportunity to see everyday people win enormous cash prizes pushed that show past I Love Lucy and Ed Sullivan to become number one in the ratings. It wasn't until Charles Van Doren won $129,000 on Twenty-One, defeating Herbert Stempel, that the machinations behind quiz shows were exposed.Certainly by 1880, when a speculative article appeared in The Scientific American magazine, the concept of a working television system began to spread on an international scale.At the dawn of the twentieth century, there were a few American laboratories leading the way: Bell, RCA, and GE. Farnsworth, beat everyone to the punch by producing the first electronic television picture.Van Doren was disgraced when it was revealed that he and other contestants were given answers in advance.The scandals caused viewers to question television practices, and it prompted the networks to take responsibility, and ultimately control, of their programming.Those who had built their careers in radio news ultimately provided television network news expansion.
CBS News in particular established a protocol for television reporting - airing stories about topical, political and worldwide events that impacted its viewers.
City water levels dropped during commercials, stores closed early. As networks raced to provide content for the popular new medium, many radio stars and shows attempted to make the transition to television -- Burns and Allen, The Jack Benny Program, The Shadow, Fred Allen, and Fibber Mc Gee and Molly.
Television News Finds Its Way (1950s) DAVID BRINKLEY, News anchor In 1949, a young girl named Kathy Fiscus fell into a Los Angeles-area well.
In 1951, NBC programming head Pat Weaver conceived Today as a news and entertainment wake-up show called Rise and Shine. But the events that loomed on the horizon in the 1950s made the show into one of the most important news programs ever produced by that network.
As the decade closed, the television industry was hit again with the quiz show scandals.
It wasn't until the 1939 World's Fair in New York, where RCA unveiled their new NBC TV studios in Rockefeller Plaza, that network television was introduced.