Overseas TV History

Some bits of Galaxy, BSB’s short-lived entertainment channel that was on the air for a few months in 1990. Its visual brand was another Lambie-Nairn creation!

When BSB and Sky merged to form BSkyB at the end of that year, its transponder was handed over to Sky One.

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Associated Television (ATV), by then one of the two remaining original contractors from 1954 in the ITV Network (Granada was the other), signs off for the last time just after midnight, New Year’s Day, 1982.

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For years, Lew Grade’s ATV was a television powerhouse in the UK and beyond. Here’s an excerpt from Timothy Green’s aforementioned 1972 book about global television; despite Grade’s financial success, you can already sense some dissatisfaction about ATV’s approach, and the station was forced to reorganize itself into Central a decade later because the IBA felt that it did not provide a sufficient regional service:


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By the way, The Muppet Show, would be another one of ATV’s very successful international (co-)productions a few years later.

Here’s an explanation from Andrew Davidson’s ITV book about why ATV was ultimately forced to reorganize:

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A compilation of glossy idents and bumpers of SIC Notícias, Portugal’s first dedicated news channel in the early 2000s.

The channel was launched under the name CNL in September 1999 and initally served Lisbon (the capital city of that country).

In January 2001, SIC took over by purchasing the majority of shares and radically changed its image. The musicians behind the new sound brand (that lasted 1 decade) were Elvis Veiguinha and José Manuel Afonso.

Strangely, the CNL letters (in a small size) appeared under the new name’s logo for several years in some idents: perhaps it was a way to recognize its origins!

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And from neighboring Spain, the last-ever CNN+ newscast from December 2010 (The Madrid-based news channel, a join venture with Time Warner and Prisa, a Spanish pay-TV provider, was unrelated to CNN en Español, which serves Latin America from Atlanta, or the short-lived streaming service of the the same name):

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CNN+ went on the air on 27 January 1999. Some of its news bulletins were simulcasted by the local version of Canal+ and, during the final years, by the OTA network Cuatro. Here are two snippets from 2000 and 2003, respectively.

(at the end of the 2003 bulletin, the newscaster invites viewers to stay with Canal+ to continue watching a UEFA Champions League match)

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When ATV became Central, one of its biggest priorities was the coverage of local news. In 1987, when Central expanded to late-night broadcasts, they even experimented with hourly regional summaries through the night for some time (a rarity!).

Here’s a newsbrief from the early hours of 31 December 1987, presented by Wesley Smith: in 1989 he was chosen (along with Anne Dawson) to be the faces who fronted the new South Midlands newscast, a role he held for more than 10 years.

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Cuatro did simulcast one of CNN+'s news bulletins, however, this was short-lived: it was a morning news program, Matinal Cuatro, which was produced directly by CNN+ and was simulcast by both networks from January 2010. Low ratings, the eventual completion of the merger of Cuatro’s license holder with Telecinco, and the closure of CNN+ due to mass cuts and contract issues related to the merger led to the discontinuation of the simulcast by the start of December.

Cuatro’s newscasts during Sogecable/PRISA ownership were separate from CNN+, although it used the network’s resources to produce these broadcasts. The 2005 (original) look was part of Cuatro’s original branding produced by Gédéon; it was quickly displaced by the start of the 2006 season, with an intro and graphics pack made in-house, with music composed and produced by Josep Sanou (who is also in charge of TVE’s Telediario theme tunes since 2008).

In 2009, the well-known and well-worn intro by El Exilio (with music made in-house by Sogecable imaging producer Alejandro Tersse Herrera) aired for the first time and survived the Mediaset merger and the switch to 16:9 after moving to Telecinco’s premises. The intro and music were redone by Mediaset’s in-house teams after the relaunch of Noticias Cuatro in mid-January.

Sticking on it, the launch of Cuatro back in 2005 was done under great fanfare and after Sogecable asked the Government to relieve Canal+'s analog frequencies of their FTA programming limitations to allow them to air more advertiser-friendly programming, something that generated chagrin from the other private channels. The channel, built in four months, was orientated to a younger audience and was made in the lines of other “alternative” commercial channels in Europe aimed at younger audiences, such as Channel 4, M6 and ProSieben.

The channel profited from PRISA’s resources in the pools of talent, content provision and transmission, and it became reflected on its content policy, which initially focused on current affairs, lifestyle, variety shows and teenage-oriented fare; over time, the network increasingly began to be skewed into American series and started airing more reality TV content, children’s programming and original formats, all whilst retaining its younger skew; it also allowed PRISA a FTA window for many prestigious sporting rights it acquired exclusively (without needing to partner with a competitor, although the 2006 World Cup was shared with the then-nascent La Sexta, which lacked sufficient coverage by then).

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CBC’s The National in 2003 with Peter Mansbridge. Words cannot describe how cool that visual and sound package was :heart_eyes:: a powerful combination of a dancy beat with a classic orchestra.

Mother Corp’s early 2000s corporate branding was devised in the US by a firm called Razorfish. Here are some pictures and videos posted on Behance:
https://www.behance.net/gallery/1353685/Canadian-Broadcasting-Corporation-Network-Relaunch

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A history of Rai’s TG1 intros through the years.

A fun fact about TG1’s theme music: the theme was arranged by Napolitan musician and conductor Egidio Storaci (who worked for Rai’s radio orchestras during the fascist and Badoglio rules), and is a freeform rearrangement of the melody of a popular Mexican bolero standard, Cuando vuelva a tu lado, written, composed and arranged by musician and singer María Grever; Storaci’s rearrangement eschewed the romantic, mellower tones of the original in favour of a majestic fanfare style; the theme survived the 1976 reform of Rai’s news services, dividing the sole news program into three separate newsrooms reflecting the post-war Italian political landscape. TG1 inherited the Storaci theme, but, from 1976, it has regularly aired in a shortened version, which has been heavily rearranged over the years, coinciding often with the launch and implementation of new graphics and openers, but still retaining the basic theme tune.

The most recent version of the theme was produced by French production music company Alba Musique, whose partners Matteo Locasciulli and Victor Galey have had a long relationship with Rai since the 2010s; a headline bed, named “Platform”, was also produced as part of the package. The theme was commissioned in 2022 as part of wide-ranging changes made by then-TG1 director Monica Maggioni, who wanted to do away with the traditional “busto parlante” bulletin style, in favor of more dynamic shots, increased use of graphics, explainers and AR/VR, more in-depth and sociocultural reporting, and more interviews; the launch on September 8, was at last minute brought forward from the primetime edition due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II; the new format wouldn’t fully launch until the following week.

Many of these changes were undone after the nomination of Gian Marco Chiocci, nominated by the Meloni-appointed Director General Roberto Sergio; he quickly undid the contemporary presentation in favour of the “busto parlante” styling; by October, the Alba Musique theme had been stripped of its “contemporary” arrangement as part of the launch of heavily tweaked graphics, openers and sets.

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A 1980s sign-on from TDM in Macao when the territory was still a Portuguese colony:

Their late news open from the 1980s, with titles in both Portuguese and Cantonese:

A portion of a different Cantonese-language newscast, including the weather forecast, from 1984:

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A 1987 We’re the One promo in Tok Pisin from EMTV in Papua New Guinea, which was then partly owned by the Nine Network:

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From the Czech Republic, edgy, surreal (and sometimes quite agressive and disturbing, you’re warned) commercial break bumpers from TV Nova, used between 1997 and mid-1999. These bumpers were in the line of Nova’s presentation at the time, which often used neon light and lightbulb motifs (it is often named as the “žárovky” era). More standard commercial break bumpers were used for the first months of the presentation, which debuted on April 1, 1997; these were superseded by more edgier bumpers later in the year. All idents used versions of a theme motif composed by Jan Hammer (of Miami Vice fame), which was used up until 2004, when Nova changed entirely its presentation.

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Here’s an interesting feature from 1996 about just this topic–sensationalism on Filipino television:

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An evening news round-up from Venezuelan network Radio Caracas Televisión in August 1996.

RCTV premiered a new logo in November that year, unveiled during the flagship news program El Observador. Here’s how it happened:

The network was unceremoniously shut down by the government in May 2007.

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A 2020 report about the Philadelphia affiliation switch of 1995, from WCAU, which went from CBS to NBC:

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For years, Portuguese network RTP has supplied TDM with programming and personnel. For a time in the 1990s, TDM’s Telejornal used the same opener and music of its Portuguese namesake. TDM currently airs RTP’s Telejornal on tape-delay.

RTP never owned TDM, but it used to own Radio Macau in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Former RTP and TVI journalist Judite Sousa confirmed it in an interview in 2012, where she spoke about the beginnings of her career, when she interned at Radio Macau for 2 years with her colleague (and future boss) José Rodrigues dos Santos.

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A momentus time in US television history. Large, medium-sized and small markets from all over the country were affected by “the big switch”. Here’s a special program made for that occasion by Baltimore’s WJZ-TV (a channel that went from ABC to CBS), hosted by two 'JZ legends: Al Sanders and Bob Turk.

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Here’s another one: from KCNC in Denver, following a similar format. KCNC’s move was a bit confusing: owned by NBC, it had to be swapped alongside KUTV (just acquired by NBC by then) and WTVJ’s technical property in exchange for NBC taking WCAU; this was a condition of CBS taking over Westinghouse. KCNC and KUTV switched to NBC; whilst WTVJ swapped frequencies with WCIX, leading to a switch from channel 4 to 6, with TVJ taking over WCIX’s own transmitter and license in Homestead (south of Miami).


The affiliation switch, as we know, was due to Fox taking affiliation deals with the many stations owned by groups such as New World Communications, Savoy, Petracom and Blackstar, in exchange for News Corp making stake acquisitions and partnerships; this was all due to Fox’s landmark NFL deal, which sought to improve the network’s legitimacy and penetration.

Phoenix was the market most affected by the switches: five of the six major TV channels switched affiliations. Their ABC affiliate, KTVK, switched to a mostly-independent status, and their owners, the Lewises, began a massive boost to the station’s operations: after a period of little change, the station bought a massive slate of syndicated shows, began programming the new WB station in the city (with the fledging network’s programming airing on KTVK until September, when KASW 61 launched) built new studios, signed a deal with CNN Newsource and expanded its news department, with three marquee news shows, the early morning Good Morning Arizona (6-9am), Good Evening Arizona (5-6:30pm) and the late news, Tonight Arizona (10-11pm); it didn’t air a prime time newscast until later in the 2000s (when it debuted an 8pm newscast). The softer, family-friendly formats, which even included a “world news desk”, were an unexpected success, with KTVK now in the lead of all news slots (expect for 10pm, where KPNX benefitted from NBC’s success in the Must See TV era).

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