ABC has produced outstanding programming since the televised arm of the studio was formed in 1948. Soap operas such as All My Children and General Hospital have been part of the core programming of the studio for almost 50 years.
Talk shows have kept the network at the forefront of conversation, with The View and Jimmy Kimmel Live producing topical content for television audiences as well as the next generation of viewers online. However, the network has become synonymous with powerhouse sitcom development from its California base.
The broadcasting arm of the studio has remained entrenched in the Burbank community, although the company traces its roots back to New York City where it was founded in 1943. ABC was initially a branch out company formed out of NBC – called the NBC Blue Network in 1927.
However, Edward J. Noble and Louis Blanche transformed the organization to create the American Broadcasting Company. For the first five years of its existence – the output was solely radio. The company needed to move with the post-war times and created its first television sitcom in 1949 called The Ruggles starring Charlie Ruggles. The formation of ABC News would follow in 1953 to help bridge the gap between the upstart network and its rivals NBC and CBS.
ABC would become the home of the sitcom, developing family-orientated comedies that allowed parents and children to enjoy together. The Addams Family was one of the first to become a landmark success, while Bewitched soon followed in its footsteps in the 1960s and The Brady Bunch became a national hit after beginning in 1969.
Happy Days is a cultural icon – everyone knows ‘The Fonz’ and his trademark jukebox nudge – making a household name of Henry Winkler, while Ron Howard was not far behind. Robin Williams’ Mork and Mindy was another triumph for the network.
Roseanne and Full House took the reins in the 1980s and were loved so much by audiences that both shows were picked up for sequels in the 2010s with varying degrees of success. ABCs ability to create a successful family dynamic has not abated in the modern era – hence Modern Family, which was a hit with critics and audiences alike for 11 seasons.
The success of their sitcoms allowed ABC to develop a relationship with the Disney organization in 1996, but also other genres such as clips shows presented by their stars. America’s Funniest Home Videos allowed the public to send in their own footage of embarrassing moments, which was narrated by Full House star Bob Saget. It continues to be a success to this day and is one of the network’s longest-running shows. This show contributed to the success and popularity of bloopers which most audiences enjoy across a range of diverse situations, genres, and industries.
Laughing with someone who has messed up or accidentally done something silly never gets old. Whether the incidents are on the street or even in venues such as live casino bloopers, there is always a market for bloopers. We laugh when actors mess up their lines or when a blackjack dealer fumbles with their cards, it’s just universally funny.
ABC’s commitment to thinking outside of the box has allowed them to remain a success. It will become more important in the future as they are not only battling their fellow networks – they are now in direct competition with NetFlix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.
There is great pressure on these traditional networks to remain at the peak of their powers. ABC is a solid position and has the support of Disney + to provide that anchor in the world of online streaming. It still boasts outstanding programming, notably Grey’s Anatomy and Jimmy Kimmel Live, as well as their staple soap dramas. The network is not going to slow down any time soon and their next hit – based on their past performance – should soon be emerging from the studios at Burbank.