This Was Television On August 15

1946: The DuMont Network begins regular service

During its brief life, the channel aired the first soap opera, the first live prime time National Football League broadcast, and the first appearance of Ralph and Alice Kramden on Cavalcade of Stars. It also pioneered the current business model of selling commercial time to a variety of sponsors, rather than devoting each program to just one brand name. A combination of competition, financial struggles, and onerous FCC restrictions inhibited DuMont’s growth and ultimately led to its dissolution in 1956.

DuMont’s regular operation predates that of ABC, which launched two years later. Against the most established broadcasting presences of CBS and NBC both of the younger outfits were unlikely to survive, so under slightly different circumstances it could’ve been DuMont today being sued by everyone on Modern Family.  -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Anthony Anderson, police who investigates crimes (42); Julia Child, meal maestro (d. 2004); Mike Connors, Mannix (87); Linda Ellerbee, Nick newswoman (68); Natasha Henstridge, secret circler (38); Željko Ivanek, tough on crime (55); Jim Lange, Newlyweds quizzer (79); Jennifer Lawrence, Bill Engvall’s TV daughter (22); Debra Messing, full of Grace (44); Ben Silverman, beloved executive (42) Rob Thomas, triggered Mars’s curiosity (47).

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