The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is an American commercial broadcast television network that is owned by the Disney–ABC Television Group, a subsidiary of Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company. The network is headquartered on Columbus Avenue and West 66th Street in Manhattan, with additional major offices and production facilities in New York City, Los Angeles and Burbank, California.
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. The fifth-oldest major broadcasting network in the world, ABC is often nicknamed as "the Alphabet Network", as its initialism also represent the first three letters of the English alphabet.
ABC originally launched on October 12, 1943 as a radio network, separated from and 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% interest in cable sports channel ESPN, the network's parent 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. Most Canadians have access to at least one U.S.-based ABC affiliate, either over-the-air (in areas located within proximity to the Canada–United States border) or through a cable, satellite or IPTV provider; although most ABC programs are subject to simultaneous substitution regulations imposed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that allow pay television providers to replace an American station's signal with the feed of a Canadian broadcaster to protect domestic programming rights and advertising revenue. ABC News provides news and features content for select radio stations owned by Citadel Broadcasting, which purchased the ABC Radio properties in 2007.