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ABC SportsThe Rise and Fall of Network Sports Television$
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Travis Vogan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520292956

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520292956.001.0001

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The “Almost Broadcasting Company” and the Birth of ABC Sports

The “Almost Broadcasting Company” and the Birth of ABC Sports

(p.9) One The “Almost Broadcasting Company” and the Birth of ABC Sports
ABC Sports

Travis Vogan

University of California Press

During the 1950s, industry insiders jokingly referred to the unsuccessful American Broadcasting Company as the “Almost Broadcasting Company.” ABC turned to sports to forge an identity in network television and build a stable audience. It initially contracted its sports programming to Edgar Scherick’s Sports Programs Inc., which it purchased in 1961 and renamed ABC Sports. Scherick hired NBC producer Roone Arledge to oversee his college football broadcasts. Arledge developed a dramatized approach to sports television that would “take viewers to the game” and offer what he called an “up close and personal” perspective. Chapter 1 outlines ABC’s early history and turn to sports programming to build a niche in the television industry. It then discusses Arledge’s hiring, the development of his aesthetic, and the first ABC productions that embodied his effort to “add show business to sports” and set in motion the subsidiary’s main practices.

Keywords:   ABC, television, sports, media industries, media history, Roone Arledge, Edgar Scherick

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