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As of 2020, “Guiding Light” holds the title as the longest-running scripted show on television. Beginning in 1952, the soap opera aired for 57 years before finally ending in 2009. If you include the drama’s radio run, which began in 1937, the show was actually in production for a whopping 72 years.

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According to a 2010 study, the average American child will see 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence on TV by the time they turn 18. As violence in programming has only increased over the last decade, it’s likely that this number is even higher today. These statistics are alarming when…

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In response to the increase in violence and adult situations shown on TV, Congress passed an act in 1996 that mandated that the television industry create a rating system that would help viewers determine what audience a show was intended for. The TV Parental Guidelines were rolled out the s…

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Another popular TV rating system is the Nielsen ratings, which have been in use since 1950. In theory, these numbers indicate which shows are the most popular by gathering data from a sample of 40,000 homes. In actuality, they’re monitoring the number of viewers who watch commercials during …

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Using these Nielsen ratings, we can determine that the most-watched TV event of all time (in the United States) was Super Bowl XLIX, a showdown between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, which drew in 114.4 million viewers. Other notable TV events include the funeral of Princ…

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While we tend to think of cable TV as a more modern invention, it’s actually almost as old as television itself. The first cable services delivered broadcast channels in three states—Oregon, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania—way back in 1948. However, it did take another 12 years for cable TV to ex…

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Now a staple of cable networks, made for TV movies began airing in the mid-’60s. The first such movie was “See How They Run,” a thriller about three children being pursued by hitmen. Produced by Universal Studios, the film aired on NBC in October 1964.

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Premiering in 1971, “All in the Family” was a truly trailblazing (some would argue genre-changing) sitcom that dealt with tough topics like homosexuality, impotence, and bigotry. Wildly successful, it inspired seven spinoff shows, making it the most spun-off sitcom of all time. The “All in t…

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The first animated series made specifically for TV was “Crusader Rabbit.” The original episodes about a cowboy rabbit and his sidekick, Ragland T. Tiger, began airing in 1950 and were only four minutes long. In typical cartoon form, each episode ended on a cliffhanger, ensuring audiences wou…

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As of August 2020, the sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live” has won the most Emmy Awards of any series on TV. To date, “SNL” has won 73 Emmys and has been nominated 275 times. If nothing else, this proves that the series, which has been on the air since 1975, has found a way to consisten…

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A precursor to “SNL,” “Your Show of Shows” was a sketch comedy series from the 1950s that starred Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, and their assorted guests. While the on-screen antics were laugh-out-loud hilarious, most of the series’ magic began in the writer’s room where television greats like C…

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Television broadcasting is one of the largest industries in the United States. In 2018, the aggregate revenue of the industry was $168.84 billion. Comparatively, the U.S. farming industry only brought in $93.6 billion in 2019.

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Almost 100 years on, television advertising remains among the most expensive forms of advertising, thanks to the sheer number of people an ad can reach at a given time. Understandably, companies will frequently dump huge amounts of money into their commercials in order to ensure a return on …

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TV may have originally been conceived as a cheaper alternative to film, but over the last 80 years, it’s become increasingly more expensive to produce. To date, the most expensive TV show ever made is “Game of Thrones.” The series’ $15 million an episode budget makes sense when you consider …

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In spite of the scandals they weathered in the ‘50s, game shows have never really gone away, remaining as popular with viewers today as they were back then. However, today’s game show participants have the opportunity to win much bigger prizes than the participants of yesteryear. As of 2020,…

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Speaking of “Jeopardy!,” in 2014, Alex Trebek set a world record for the most episodes of a game show hosted by the same presenter. Before his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer, Trebek had never missed an episode. By the time of his death in 2020, he’d hosted well over 8,200 episodes of the q…

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Just as cable was once the TV must-have from the ‘70s–’00s, streaming services are the must-have for modern audiences. According to data gathered in 2019, 74% of American homes now have a subscription to an on-demand video streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube TV.

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Thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, streaming services have seen a dramatic increase in the number of new subscribers signing up for their services during 2020. For example, during the first three months of the year, Netflix gained 16 million new subscribers (bringing its total to…

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YouTube may have begun as a social media outlet, but the video-sharing platform now has a subscription streaming service that allows viewers to watch live TV from a number of broadcast and cable networks. According to the platform, over 2 billion people log on each month to watch its content…

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Ruling the streaming service world is no easy (or cheap) feat. In order to retain its 183 million subscribers, Netflix must continually offer new and exciting content and spends a small fortune to do so. In 2020, the company budgeted $17.3 billion for new content and spent the majority of th…

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In 2012, without much fanfare, Netflix released its first original series titled “Lilyhammer.” The series, about a former NYC gangster who attempts to start a new life in Lillehammer, Norway, was made in partnership with a Norwegian production company (therefore making it not entirely a Netf…

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As long as the market continues in the same direction it’s been traveling over the last decade, the video streaming industry will soon top traditional TV in value. Grand View Research expects the video streaming market will be worth $184.2 billion by 2027.

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Before streaming services, TV fans had to wait week by week for new episodes of their favorite shows to be released. Today, many streaming services release entire seasons of a show in a single day, allowing fans to “binge-watch” the series in one marathon sitting. According to a study by Mor…

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As relaxing as it may be, binge-watching comes at a price and a pretty steep one at that: 86% of binge-watchers report staying up well past their bedtime to watch a show, with 52% saying they’ve stayed up all night. Of adult viewers, 24% admit to canceling plans in order to continue binging …

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Typically tight-lipped about its viewing numbers, Netflix will occasionally release figures for particularly well-performing series or films. In one of these rare number dumps, the streaming giant revealed that their most-watched original film of all time is “Extraction,” which features Chri…

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“The Witcher,” a show about a monster hunter that stars Henry Cavill, is the most-watched Netflix Original series. As of October 2020, the series had been viewed 76 million times.

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In 2015, the U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed that the average American household had (or at least used) 2.3 TVs. That number is down from 2009 when there was an average of 2.6 TVs per household. This decrease in physical TVs even while time spent watching TV has gone up, can …

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According to Statista data, the average American spends more than four hours a day watching “traditional” TV. Older Americans spend longer in front of the tube—adults 65+ spend more than 7 hours a day watching TV, and those between the ages of 50–64 spend almost six hours—while younger adult…

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als remain confident that this sort of strict social distancing is the best way to ensure case numbers remain low, protect vulnerable individuals, and keep hospitals from becoming overcrowded while we wait for a vaccine.

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While many of us think of radio as the precursor to television, TV technology actually existed years before commercial radio was developed. In 1897, Ferdinand Braun invented the cathode-ray tube, the primary piece of technology used in modern televisions to display the images we see. It wasn…

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In 1939 at the New York World’s Fair, television was introduced to the public for the first time. RCA broadcast the fair’s opening ceremonies which featured President Franklin D. Roosevelt on television sets around the fairgrounds and across the city. The following day, May 1, 1939, the comp…

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some pretty major contributions to the industry, like airing the first two seasons of “The Honeymooners” and “Mary Kay and Johnny,” which is widely considered to be the first sitcom.

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In 1949, “The Goldbergs,” a sitcom about a Jewish family living in the Bronx, hit the airwaves. Gertrude Berg, who wrote, produced, and starred in the show, was the daughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants and based her radio-turned-TV show on her own childhood experiences in New York …

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While Gertrude Berg’s “The Goldbergs” drew in thousands of viewers during TV’s early years, it’s hardly the most-watched show of all time. That title is actually held by “M*A*S*H,” the ‘70s and ‘80s series about a team of field doctors stationed in South Korea during the Korean War.

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While it may strike some as odd, there appears to be no correlation between the most-watched TV episode of all time and the best-written series of all time. The Writer’s Guild of America West gave the latter honor to “The Sopranos,” an early 2000s cable drama about an Italian American crime …

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As more Americans began watching TV in the ‘50s, one of the first types of shows to take off was the quiz show. “The $64,000 Question” was the first of this sort to air, premiering on CBS in 1955, before being quickly followed by others like “Dotto” and “Twenty-One.” In 1958, it was revealed…

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Morning talk shows, of which modern viewers have dozens to choose from, also developed during this golden age of television. The “Today” show, created by Sylvester L. Weaver Jr. and hosted by Dave Garroway, was the first, debuting in 1952. An instant hit, the show has dominated the Nielsen r…

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On Oct. 23, 1958, one of the deepest coal mines in the world collapsed in Springhill, Nova Scotia. Ninety-three men were trapped below ground, desperately attempting to dig their way out just as rescuers attempted to dig their way in. For the next seven days, audiences around the world tuned…

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t the limits of and improve live broadcast technology. The contest has grown far past its original size and goal—moving to YouTube in 2019, where it was viewed by 182 million people.

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Man’s first steps on the moon were arguably the biggest television event of the 20th century, so you’d think that the precious video footage of the monumental moment would be locked up safe somewhere, preserved by NASA and historians for generations to come. In reality, all of the original t…

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In the 1950s, the Swanson company packaged 500,000 pounds of excess Thanksgiving turkey in aluminum trays, threw in some vegetables and potatoes, and advertised the whole thing as an easy, convenient dinner. These instant oven meals took off immediately, thanks in large part to their brandin…

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Ever since color TV made its commercial debut in the 1960s, scholars have debated the effects it has on our dreams. While studies differ, most find that individuals who grew up on black-and-white TV or are primarily exposed to black-and-white TV, are more likely to dream in grayscale. Meanwh…