The First Thing to Air on A Bunch Of TV Channels

September 7, 2015

The new fall TV season is about to start, with lots of new shows. Here’s a look at the very first thing aired by numerous networks.


Showtime Logo 1979The premium channel went live on July 1, 1976 on three cable systems in southern California. The first broadcast: Celebration, a concert with performances by ABBA, Pink Floyd, and Rod Stewart.


HBO Logo 1975About 325 cable subscribers in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on November 8, 1972 had the opportunity to watch the 1971 movie Sometimes a Great Notion, and then a New York Rangers/Vancouver Canucks NHL game.


TNT Logo 1988CNN founder Ted Turner debuted his entertainment channel on October 3, 1988 with a telecast of Gone With the Wind, his favorite film. (It was also the first thing shown on Turner Classic Movies in 1994.)


CNN logo 1980The first cable news channel’s first footage on June 1, 1980, was an introduction from Ted Turner, and then a news broadcast from married news anchors Lois Hart and David Walker.


WTCG Logo 1976The channel was formerly WTBS, and before that WTCG, an independent Atlanta TV station showing mostly old movies and sitcom reruns. When it became available to people with satellite dishes on December 17, 1976, the first show aired was the 1948 Cesar Romero movie Deep Waters, 30 minutes in progress.

Disney Channel Logo 1983The Disney Channel

On April 18, 1983, the kids’ channel went on the air with Good Morning, Mickey!, a collection of old Walt Disney cartoons.


ESPN Logo 1981The all-sports network went live on September 7, 1979 with an episode of its signature SportsCenter highlights show. (First score announced on SportsCenter: Chris Evert’s U.S. Open victory over Billie Jean King.)


VH1 Logo 1985When it debuted on January 1, 1985, VH1 was an offshoot of MTV to appeal to older viewers. The first video it played was Marvin Gaye’s live, soulful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game.

The Weather Channel

Weather Channel Logo 1982It launched on May 2, 1982. The first thing it showed: the weather.




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