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  • Madison Square Garden Network (1971–1979)
  • Madison Square Garden Network

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USA Network (1977)

""Characters Welcome""

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  Summary  

USA Network is an American cable television channel launched in 1971. Once a minor player in basic cable, the network has steadily gained popularity because of breakout hits like Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Covert Affairs, White Collar, Monday Night RAW, Suits, and reruns of the various Law & Order: Special Victims Unit series and reruns of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In addition, the network continues to air syndicated reruns of series like House and NCIS. The network also broadcasts a variety of films from the Universal Studios library.

  Biography  

 Early years

USA Network premiered on September 8, 1971, originally organized as the Madison Square Garden Network . The channel became one of the first national cable television channels when it chose to use satellite delivery as opposed to microwave relay to cable systems. Initially, the network ran a mix of college and less watched professional sports similar to ESPN, when they began. It was on after 5 PM weekdays and noon weekends.

On January 3, 1979, the channel changed its name to USA Network after the ownership structure was reorganized under a joint operating agreement by the UA-Columbia Cablevision cable system and the then-MCA Inc./Universal City Studios. That fall, USA began signing on at Noon on weekdays and would run some talk shows and a children's program called Calliope. Sports programming commenced at 5PM weekdays, and all weekend. In the fall of 1981, USA began programming daily at 6 AM, with talk shows and children's programs until noon, sports from noon on during weekends and until 3 PM weekdays, talk shows 3 to 6 PM weekdays, and sports again after 6 PM.

Later, in 1982, Time, Inc. and Gulf+Western's Paramount Pictures unit would buy stakes in the venture. MCA/Universal and the latter company would become the sole owners in 1987 (each owning 50%). In the fall of 1982, USA began 24 hour a day operations, running a mix of talk shows, a children's program, and a low budget movie from 6 AM to 6 PM. They began running a mix of 1960s and 1970s Hanna-Barbara cartoons weekday evenings from 6 to 7 PM known as the USA Cartoon Express, and sports programming after 7 PM and rebroadcast that on overnights. Weekends had a mix of movies and some old drama shows and some talk shows during morning hours and sports afternoons and evenings. Overnights consisted of old low budget films and film shorts and music under a show called Night Flight.

From 1984 to 1986, USA began moving away from sports programming and began focusing on general entertainment programming not found on broadcast stations including some less common network drama shows and cartoons. One tradition was an afternoon lineup of game show reruns mixed in with several original low-budget productions aired over the years. It began in October 1984 with reruns of The Gong Show and Make Me Laugh. In September 1985, the network began airing a revival of the mid-1970s game show Jackpot, and another original show was added in September 1986: Love Me, Love Me Not. More shows were progressively added soon after such as The Joker's Wild, Tic-Tac-Dough, Press Your Luck, High Rollers, and Hollywood Squares with John Davidson, along with Wipeout, Face the Music, and Name That Tune. Another original show was added in June 1987, called Bumper Stumpers. When it began, the game show block ran for an hour, but expanded significantly the following year. By 1989, the network ran game shows from noon to 5 p.m. five days a week.

 1990s

The tradition of game show reruns continued into the 1990s with the $25,000 and $100,000 Pyramids, the early 1990s revivals of The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough plus other well-known shows such as Scrabble, Sale of the Century, Talk About and, Caesars Challenge. Additionally, two more original shows were added in June 1994: Free 4 All and Quicksilver
The block was decreased in September 1991 to only 3 hours, from 2 to 5 p.m. However, another hour was added in March 1993. In November 1994, it was cut back to only two hours, from 2 to 4 p.m.

In October 1995, the network dropped the entire game show block; it was replaced with a block called USA Live, which carried reruns of Love Connection and The People's Court, with live hosted wraparound segments between shows, but that block was dropped by 1997. Some of the game shows that USA broadcast can still be seen on GSN.

On September 24, 1992, USA launched a sister network, the Sci Fi Channel, which in July 2009 was renamed Syfy. In 1997, three years after the Paramount/Viacom merger, that company sold its stake in the networks to Universal . Seagrams/Universal subsequently sold the networks to Barry Diller.

In September 1998, USA dropped the USA Action Extreme Team and has not rerun children's animated series since that time. USA replaced it with a block called "USAM", which advertised itself as Primetime Comedy in the Morning. This block included mostly sitcoms that were cancelled before making it to 100 episodes and for a time, also included the 1989–1994 episodes of the Bob Saget run of America's Funniest Home Videos. This block was dropped from the channel in 2001. USA also simulcasted the business news and information channel Bloomberg TV in the early-morning hours from 5–8 a.m. ET/PT; that simulcast moved to E! in 2004 until it was dropped from that channel in 2007. USA was actually the second television network to simulcast Bloomberg Television's programming, the now-defunct American Independent Network carried a simulcast of the channel during the mid-1990s.

 2000s


In 2000, USA Networks bought Canada's North American Television, Inc. , owner of cable TV channels Trio and Newsworld International .

In 2001, USA Networks sold its non-shopping TV and film assets (including the USA Network, the Sci Fi Channel, the Trio channel, USA Films and Studios USA) to Vivendi Universal. USA and the other channels were folded into Vivendi's Universal Television Group.

In 2003, General Electric's NBC agreed to buy 80% of Vivendi Universal's North American–based filmed entertainment assets, including Universal Pictures and Universal Television Group in a multi-billion dollar purchase, renaming the merged company NBC Universal.

In 2004, NBC Universal officially took over as owner of USA and its sibling cable channels .

In 2006, USA premiered Psych, it's current longest running original show.

USA Network launched a high definition version of the channel broadcasting in 1080i on October 3, 2007. and is currently available on DirecTV, Dish Network, and several other cable systems,

NBC Universal announced before NBC released their 2007–08 fall schedule on May 13, 2007 that Criminal Intent would be renewed for a seventh season. However, the new episodes of the series would premiere on USA beginning in fall 2007, with episodes repeating later in the season on NBC, most likely to shore up any programming holes created by a failed series. Although this is not the first time a broadcast series has moved to cable (as early as 1987, NBC's revival of Alfred Hitchcock Presents moved to USA Network), it is a first in that a series which moved to cable will continue to show episodes on a broadcast network during its first-run era. On December 7, 2007, it was announced that USA Network would continue broadcasting first-run episodes of WWE Monday Night Raw until 2010. The USA original series Burn Notice also made its debut in 2007.

In 2008, USA announced a new original series In Plain Sight, starring Mary McCormack, focusing on a United States Marshal working for the Witness Protection Program. The show was filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The series debuted June 1, 2008 with USA's highest-rated series premiere since the premiere of Psych in 2006 with 5.3 million viewers.

In early 2009, USA Network acquired the network television rights for 24 recent and upcoming Universal Pictures films for $200 million. Among the films included in the deal are Milk, Frost/Nixon, Duplicity, State of Play, Land of the Lost and Funny People. As of January 18, 2009 House was the highest-rated drama on USA Network surpassing both Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, with In Plain Sight, Monk and NCIS.

Monk and Psych returned Friday, August 7, 2009. Monk's series finale was on Friday, December 4, 2009. Psych paused mid-season on Friday, October 16, 2009 and resumed the airing of the 4th season's episodes in January 2010. USA's newest series White Collar premiered on Friday, October 23, 2009 and its fall finale was Friday, December 4, 2009 .

 2010s
In 2010, USA Network started occupying weeknights with the networks original series. After the 2009–2010 season break, Burn Notice resumed airing the remainder of the 3rd season's episodes on Thursdays at 10:00 pm Eastern/9:00 pm Central as well as it being renewed for a 4th season starting Spring-Summer 2010. White Collar returned as well airing the remaining episodes of its first season on a new night and at a new time; on Tuesdays at 10:00pm Eastern/9:00 pm Central. Psych returned on a new night and at a new time; on Wednesdays at 10:00 pm Eastern/9:00 pm Central.

In 2011, control and majority ownership of then-parent NBCUniversal passed from General Electric to Comcast.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "USA Network", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.