Happy birthday, ABC!
On October 14, 1943, Edward J. Noble bought the Blue Network for $8,000,000. So what, you say? A bit of media history to explain first…
In the 30’s and 40’s, the National Broadcasting Company was a radio network and its big star was Jack Benny. NBC was made up of two separate units, the Red Network and the Blue Network, which were created in 1928 to better manage the company’s increasing number of radio affiliates. By 1938, the Red Network was producing roughly 75 percent of NBC’s commercial shows, with the only big hit on the Blue Network being Amos and Andy.
A few years later, the FTC was wary of monopolies taking over the industry, so they mandated that companies would no longer be allowed to control more than one network. NBC was forced to sell one of its divisions and, of course, chose the weaker Blue Network to put on the auction block. The aforementioned Edward Noble, who had already earned millions from sales of his popular Lifesavers candy, bought the network, promptly renaming it American Broadcasting Systems. And a year later, Noble changed the name again, this time to what has become a more familiar title… the American Broadcasting Company.