The first live televised sporting event was filmed by a single camera. Before the network television era, only about 400 televisions existed in the US at the time. Shortly after, Major League Baseball and college football would both make their way to the nation's TV sets. Today, The Super Bowl is one of the most watched TV events each year, ESPN runs a multitude of networks devoted to sports, as do the major sports leagues and even major college conferences. Some individual teams (like the Yankees YES! Network and The University of Texas' Longhorn Network) even have their own sports networks.
Columbia vs. Princeton: First Televised Sporting Event Marks 70th Anniversary. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.gocolumbialions.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=3738874
The first ever television commercial aired before the start of a Brooklyn Dodgers game. The still picture included a Bulova clock face superimposed above a map of the United States. A voice-over simply stated "America runs on Bulova Time." The spot cost just nine dollars and lasted less than ten seconds, but ushered in the era of commercialized television.
Watch the first commercial ever shown on American TV. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.openculture.com/2013/08/watch-the-first-commercial-ever-shown-on-american-tv-1941.html
Dating back to 1890, The Tournament of Roses Parade had taken place each January 1st (or 2nd) for 64 years before the 1954 event made television history. That year, NBC made the parade the first ever television program to air in color coast-to-coast.
Catch a Glimpse of NBC’s 1st Color TV Broadcoast. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nbc-news/53946034
"The show about nothing" was one of the runaway successes of 1990s television. With it's real-life situations, comedic timing, and intricate sub-plots, Seinfeld was hugely influential to generations of sitcoms that would follow.
Seinfeld. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.tv.com/shows/seinfeld/
Widely considered the first modern American reality TV series, The Real World was developed as a way for the show's producers to save money rather than develop the soap-style drama originally intended. 7 young adults were chosen out of just 500 to audition for the first season. Currently airing it's 32nd season (in Seattle, WA,) the format has proven to be a hugely successful and influential hit.
The Real World - History. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall06/herrera/history.html
The crowning achievement of the post-broadcast era, The HBO hit series The Sopranos is widely considered one of the greatest television series of all-time. Known for it's complex characters, multi-faceted story lines and ruthless crime violence, The Sopranos gained both critical and commercial success, drawing higher viewership than the major networks, despite being available to a fraction of the audience.
Nussbaum, E. (2014, July 16). How Tony Soprano Changed Television. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/how-tony-soprano-changed-television
Thornburn, D. (n.d.). The Sopranos [Scholarly project]. In Www.web.mit.edu. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from https://www.web.mit.edu
Known more as a mold-breaking show than a critical or commercial success, The Tester lasted just three seasons before being cancelled. The significance of the show is that it was the first of its kind to air exclusively over a game console, the PlayStation 3, reinforcing the convergence era tenet that digital programming was redefining the television distribution model.
The Tester. (n.d.). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2180165/
Before Narcos, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, Netflix reinvented the television experience with its first original series Lilyhammer. After proving digital distribution and exclusive content was a medium worth investing in, other alternative content providers, including Amazon and Hulu quickly began releasing their own exclusive content.
Greene, A. (2013, December 05). How 'Lilyhammer' Changed the TV World. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/how-lilyhammer-changed-the-tv-world-20131205
Taking interactive audience participation to unprecedented levels, The Voice began airing live-performances, tallying fan votes via their mobile app or twitter, and announcing the winners within a single episode. Always a pioneer in social media interaction (the judges live tweet each broadcast episode,) The Voice continues to push the envelope with the convergence of traditional TV programming and social media.
Wagmeister, E. (2016, October 31). ‘The Voice’ Sets First Live Real-Time Voting and Results Show. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/the-voice-live-voting-results-show-november-7-1201905076/