- Television (TV) was only just developing at the end of the 1930s, with only one station in New York City and about 1,000 sets in operation by 1939. By 1941, there were 13 stations and the 521 lines of signal had become standard, but World War II diverted attention and resources, and development slowed until after 1945. In 1946, the three TV networks were the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), and National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and from the late 1940s onward television sales began to steadily increase. Although primarily black and white, color TV was already available from about 1950. By October 1950, there were 8 million TV sets in operation. By 1955, almost half of U.S. homes, more than 25 million, already had TV.The first drama series, the Kraft Television Theater, began in1947; Gillette paid $100,000 to sponsor the return boxing match between Joe Louis and Jersey Joe Walcott; the comedy series I Love Lucy began in 1951 and was watched in more than 10 million homes a year later; and The Today Show began in 1952. The growing significance of the new medium was apparent in September 1952 when Republican vice presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon made the first televised public appeal directly to voters in his “Checkers” Speech. Equally significant were the televised Army-McCarthy hearings that were broadcast between April and June 1954 and at times watched by 20 million people, when the true character of Joseph McCarthy was exposed.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.