The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is an American commercial broadcast radio and television network owned by the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company. The network is headquartered in Burbank, California, on Riverside Drive, directly across the street from Walt Disney Studios and adjacent to the Roy E. Disney Animation Building. The network’s secondary offices, and headquarters of its news division, is in New York City, at its broadcast center at 77 West 66th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Since 2007, when ABC Radio (also known as Cumulus Media Networks) was sold to Citadel Broadcasting, ABC has reduced its broadcasting operations almost exclusively to television. It is the fifth-oldest major broadcasting network in the world and the youngest of the Big Three television networks. ABC is nicknamed “The Alphabet Network”, as its initialism also represents the first three letters of the English alphabet, in order.
ABC launched as a radio network on October 12, 1943, serving as the successor to the NBC Blue Network, which had been purchased by Edward J. Noble. It extended its operations to television in 1948, following in the footsteps of established broadcast networks CBS and NBC. In the mid-1950s, ABC merged with United Paramount Theatres, a chain of movie theaters that formerly operated as a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures. Leonard Goldenson, who had been the head of UPT, made the new television network profitable by helping develop and greenlight many successful series. In the 1980s, after purchasing an 80 percent interest in cable sports channel ESPN, the network’s corporate parent, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., merged with Capital Cities Communications, owner of several print publications, and television and radio stations. In 1996, most of Capital Cities/ABC’s assets were purchased by The Walt Disney Company. The television network has eight owned-and-operated and over 232 affiliated television stations throughout the United States and its territories. Some ABC-affiliated stations can also be seen in Canada via pay-television providers, and certain other affiliates can also be received over-the-air in areas near the Canada–United States border. ABC News provides news and features content for select radio stations owned by Cumulus Media, as these stations are former ABC Radio properties.