|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2014)|
|First issue||April 3, 1953|
|Company||OpenGate Capital (magazine)
|Based in||Radnor, Pennsylvania|
TV Guide is a weekly American magazine that provides television program listings information as well as television-related news, celebrity interviews and gossip, film reviews, crossword puzzles and in some issues, horoscopes. The print magazine is owned by private equity firm OpenGate Capital, while its digital properties are controlled by the CBS Interactive division of CBS Corporation.
Lee Wagner (1910–1993) was the circulation director of McFadden Publications in New York City in the 1930s – and later for Cowles Media Company – distributing magazines focusing on movie celebrities. In 1948, he printed New York City area listings magazine The TeleVision Guide. On the cover of the first issue was silent film star Gloria Swanson, star of the short-lived Gloria Swanson Hour. Wagner later added regional editions for New England and the Baltimore-Washington area. Five years later, he sold the editions to Walter Annenberg's Triangle Publications, but remained as a consultant until 1963.
The national TV Guide's first issue was released on April 3, 1953. The inaugural cover featured a photograph of Lucille Ball's newborn son Desi Arnaz, Jr. A small photo of Lucy was also placed in the top corner under the title of the issue which read: "Lucy's $50,000,000 baby" The magazine was digest size, which remained its printed format for 52 years. From its first issue until July 16, 1954, listings within each edition of TV Guide began on Friday and ended on Thursday; beginning with the July 17, 1954 issue, the duration of the listings in each week's issue changed to start on Saturday and end on Friday.
TV Guide as a national publication resulted from Triangle Publications' purchase of numerous regional television listing publications such as TV Forecast, TV Digest, Television Guide and TV Guide. The launch as a national publication with local listings in April 1953 became an almost instant success with TV Guide becoming the most read and circulated magazine in the United States by the 1960s. The initial cost of each issue was just 15¢ per copy (the price of each issue has gradually risen over the years, selling for $4.99 per copy as of 2014[update]). In addition to subscriptions, TV Guide was sold at grocery store counters nationwide. Until the 1980s, each issue's features were promoted in a television commercial. Under Triangle, TV Guide continued to grow not only in circulation, but in recognition as the authority on television programming with articles – the majority of which typically appear in the color section – from both staff and contributing writers. Over the decades, the shape of the TV Guide logo has changed to reflect the modernization of the television screen, eventually adopting its current widescreen shape in 2003 (different versions of the logo – the only cosmetic difference being the utilization of different typefaces – are currently used respectively for the magazine and the separately owned digital properties). At first, the logo had various colored backgrounds (usually black, white, blue or green) until the familiar red background became the standard in the 1960s with occasional changes to accommodate a special edition.
The magazine was first based in a small office in downtown Philadelphia until moving to more spacious national headquarters in Radnor, Pennsylvania in the late 1950s. The new facility, complete with a large lighted TV Guide logo at the building's entrance, was home to management, editors, production personnel, subscription processors as well as a vast computer system holding data on every television show and movie available for listing in the popular weekly publication. Printing of the national color section of TV Guide – which incorporates television-related stories, and select features such as program reviews – took place at Triangle's Gravure Division plant adjacent to the company's landmark Philadelphia Inquirer Building on North Broad Street in Philadelphia. The color section was then sent to regional printers to be wrapped around the local listing sections. Triangle's Gravure Division was known for performing some of the highest quality printing in the industry with almost always perfect registration.
In addition to TV Guide, Triangle Publications owned The Philadelphia Inquirer; the Philadelphia Daily News; ten radio and six television stations (WFIL AM-FM-TV in Philadelphia, WNHC AM-FM-TV in New Haven, Connecticut, KFRE AM-FM-TV in Fresno, California, WNBF AM-FM-TV in Binghamton, New York, WFBG AM-FM-TV in Altoona, Pennsylvania and WLYH-TV in Lancaster/Lebanon, Pennsylvania); The Daily Racing Form; The Morning Telegraph; Seventeen; and various cable television interests. It was under Triangle's ownership of WFIL in Philadelphia that Dick Clark and American Bandstand came to popularity. Triangle Publications sold its Philadelphia newspapers to Knight Newspapers in 1969, its radio and television stations during the early 1970s to Capital Cities Communications (the television stations that are now known as KFSN-TV and WPVI-TV were subsequently acquired by ABC through its 1986 merger with Capital Cities) and various other interests, retaining only TV Guide, Seventeen and The Daily Racing Form.
For the magazine's first 52 years, listings information was displayed in a "log" format, a list of programs organized by both start time and channel, which was the sole method – eventually, primary once primetime grids were incorporated, and later secondary for the final two years of its incorporation of local listings – of displaying program information in TV Guide until the switch to national listings in 2005; this allowed for the display of full titles for each program as well as the inclusion of synopses for movies and most programs. Due to set space requirements for the local listings section, detailed synopses were usually limited to series and specials – usually those airing in evening timeslots – as well as movies airing on broadcast television, while shorter synopses were used for programs seen on select cable channels and broadcast stations outside of the edition's home market. From the magazine's inception until the conversion to national listings, each channel in the listings section was designated by an oblong bullet – which, like the magazine's logo, also resembled a television screen; bullets used for broadcast stations contained a channel number, and were displayed as a filled black screen for local stations and as a screen outline for most out-of-market stations. If the same program or episode was scheduled to air in the same timeslot on more than one channel, two or more bullets identifying each channel would precede the program title listed in a particular time entry (the usage of multiple bullets to denote stations airing the same program was a more common occurrence in instances where multiple broadcast stations aired the same network program or their respective local news programs at the same time; separate time entries would only be used in this situation if the program had differing running times between channels).
In addition, black-and-white ads for programs aired on broadcast stations and later, cable channels for programs scheduled to air during primetime (with local airtimes, and for broadcast stations, information for network-affiliated stations featured in the edition which were scheduled to air the advertised show) were included within the listings. The actual listings were immediately preceded by a channel lineup page, which listed the broadcast stations – and later, cable channels – whose program information was provided in each edition. Over time, other regular and recurring features (most of them television-related) were included alongside the listings including "Cheers and Jeers" (a critique page about various aspects of television programming), horoscopes, recaps of the previous week's storylines on daytime soap operas, a dedicated page listing select sporting events being broadcast during that week and a half-page section included in each day's listings featuring highlights for specific programs scheduled to air that day.
The crossword puzzle feature in the penultimate page of each issue – which featured puzzles related to television programs and films – would eventually give way to a spin-off publication, TV Guide Crosswords, which was first released in the 1980s.[specify] Although its issues usually focus on different television-related stories week to week, TV Guide also incorporates recurring issues that appear a few times each year, most notably the "Fall Preview" (which features reviews of new series premiering during the fall television season) and the "Parent's Guide to Children's Entertainment" (later known as the "Parent's Guide to Kids' TV", featuring stories and reviews on family-oriented programs).
The advent of cable television would become hard on TV Guide. Cable channels began to be listed in the magazine in 1980 or 1981, depending on the edition; regional and national superstations available on cable systems in the designated market of many editions were the only cable channels listed initially, with cable-originated channels (such as HBO and CNN) – which the magazine originally promoted mainly in full-page advertisements – being added later. Channels that were listed were also different, depending on the edition. As the years went on, more cable channels were added to the listings. To help offset this, the May 11–17, 1985 issue introduced a smaller Helvetica font with some other cosmetic changes; a show's length was listed after the show's title – not in the description as it was previously.
Upon their incorporation in the magazine, the outlined bullets that were originally used only for out-of-market television stations were also assigned to cable channels, containing three-letter abbreviations for identification; for example, "ESN" represented ESPN, "DSC" represented The Discovery Channel and "NIK" represented Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite; in certain cases, the abbreviation used (such as "AMC" for American Movie Classics, "TNT" for "Turner Network Television" and "MTV" for "Music Television") was that which the channel had already branded by (two pay cable networks, Cinemax and Showtime eventually rebranded in 1997 so that their TV Guide abbreviations – "MAX" and "SHO", respectively – became the focal point of their logos). Out-of-market superstations were identified with a combination of their channel number and a letter respresenting their market city early on following the incorporation of cable listings (WKBD-TV in Detroit, which effectively served as the Fox affiliate for most of Michigan until December 1994 via cable, was listed as "50D", for instance); the two major national superstations at the time, TBS and WGN (which were respectively identified as "17A" and "9C"), were eventually given conventional three-letter abbreviations in line with other cable channels.
Triangle Publications was sold to the News America Corporation arm of News Corporation on August 7, 1988 for $3 billion, one of the largest media acquisitions of the time. By the 1990s, TV Guide's editions had diversified from those for individual cities and multiple media markets within a given state or multi-state region to include editions for certain cable providers in large television markets as well as those for satellite providers such as DirecTV and Dish Network (which was in addition to the listings magazines that both providers produced themselves).
To save channel space, TV Guide eventually incorporated a grid (displaying listings for programs scheduled to air during the evening hours each night primarily organized by channel, from 5:00–11:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.–12:00 a.m. depending on the start of primetime within a given time zone) into the listings by the late 1980s;[specify] some cable channels – mainly premium channels – had an asterisk displayed by them in that edition's channel lineup page, which meant that it was only listed in the evening grid (and later the "Pay-TV Movie Guide", a subsection placed in the final pages of the listing section that featured synopses for films airing that week on the premium channels included in both the log and grid listings, excluding those featured exclusively in the grids). Channels like Cinemax and The Disney Channel initially started only in the grids, but later expanded to the log listings as well; by the mid-1990s, most editions of TV Guide incorporated nearly all cable channels each issue provided program listings for in both the grids and the log listings, although some editions continued to list at least one channel, such as The Movie Channel (the only pay service that was excluded from the log listings in many editions by that point), in the grids only.
Another listings change took place in 1996; the show's title was no longer displayed in all-uppercase, but a mixed case font (which changed to Franklin Gothic). In addition, the generic title "MOVIE" that appeared before a film's synopsis was replaced with the actual title, which had previously been displayed within the film description.
News Corporation sold TV Guide to the United Video Satellite Group, parent company of Prevue Networks, on June 11, 1998 for $800 million and 60 million shares of stock (this followed an earlier merger attempt between the two companies in 1996 that eventually fell apart). Following the sale, reports suggested that TV Guide would remove listings from the magazine, shifting them entirely to its new sister cable network Prevue Channel, which would be rebranded as a result of United Video's purchase of TV Guide magazine; News Corporation executives later stated that listings information would remain part of the magazine. That year, United Video acquired TVSM Inc. (publishers of competing listings guides Total TV and The Cable Guide) in a $75 million all-cash acquisition; as a result, TV Guide merged with Total TV and began printing a version of the magazine in the latter magazine's full-size format (while retaining the original digest size version) effective with the July 11, 1998 issue.
Because most cable systems published their own listing magazine reflecting their channel lineup, and now have a separate guide channel or an electronic program guide that can be activated by remote and provide the same information in a more detailed manner – with additional competition coming in the late 1990s from websites that also specialize in providing detailed television program information (such as TVGuide.com, then jointly operated with TV Guide Magazine, and Zap2It), a printed listing of programming in a separate magazine became less valuable. The sheer amount and diversity of cable television programming made it hard for TV Guide to provide listings of the extensive array of programming that came directly over the cable system. TV Guide also could not match the ability of the cable box to store personalized listings. Nevertheless beginning with the August 8, 1998 issue, the magazine added several new channels to many of its editions, including those that had previously been mentioned only in a foreword on the channel lineup page as well as those available mainly on digital cable and satellite, although most of these newly added channels were placed within the primetime grids with only a few (such as Animal Planet and MSNBC) also being incorporated into the log listings.
On October 5, 1999, Gemstar International Group Ltd., the maker of the VCR Plus+ device and schedule system (whose channel and program codes for VCRs using the system for timed recordings were incorporated into the magazine's listings in 1991), and which incidentally was partially owned by News Corporation, purchased United Video Satellite Group; the two companies had previously been involved in a legal battle over the intellectual property rights for their respective interactive program guide systems, VCR Plus+ and TV Guide On Screen, that began in 1994. That month, TV Guide debuted a 16-page insert into editions in 22 markets with heavy Hispanic populations titled TV Guide en Español, which providied programming information from national Spanish language networks (such as Univision and Telemundo) as well as special sections with reviews of the week's notable programs. The magazine discontinued the insert in March 2000 due to difficulties resulting from confusion by advertisers over its marketing as "the first weekly Spanish-language magazine," despite its structure as an insert within the main TV Guide publication.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of TV Guide as a national magazine, in 2002, the magazine published six special issues:
By 2003, the magazine included a list of cable channels (as well as broadcast stations in some editions) that were listed in the grids only. From its inception until 2003, TV Guide offered listings for the entire week, 24 hours a day. Numerous changes to the local listings took place beginning with the June 21, 2003 issue (in just a few select markets), when the 5:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Monday–Friday listings were condensed down to four grids: 5:00–8:00 a.m., 8:00–11:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m., and 2:00–5:00 p.m. If programming differed from one weekday to the next, the generic descriptor "Various Programs" was listed. This change became permanent in all TV Guide editions beginning with the September 6, 2003 Fall Preview issue. The "Pay TV Movie Guide" was also restructured as "The Big Movie Guide", with film listings being expanded to include those airing on all broadcast stations and cable channels featured in each edition, as well as movies that were available on pay-per-view. Beginning in January 2004, the midnight–5:00 a.m. listings (as well as the Saturday and Sunday 5:00–8:00 a.m. listings) ceased to include any broadcast stations outside of the edition's home market, leaving only program information for stations within the home market and for cable channels. Starting in June 2004 in most editions, the channel lineup page included in each local edition was dropped.
The magazine's format was changed beginning with the April 11, 2004 issue to start the week's listings in each issue on Sunday (the day in which television listings magazines supplemented in newspapers traditionally began each week's listings information), rather than Saturday. In July 2004, the overnight listings were removed entirely, replaced by a grid that ran from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. that included only the broadcast stations in each edition's home market and a handful of cable channels. It also listed a small selection of late-night movies airing on certain channels. The time period of the listings in the daytime grids also changed from 5:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. By this point, the log listings were restricted to programs airing from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. In early 2005, more channels were added to the prime-time and late night grids.
On May 18, 2005, TV Guide launched TV Guide Talk, a weekly podcast that was available to download for free. The podcast was headlined by TV Guide reporter/personality Michael Ausiello, and was co-hosted by his colleagues at the magazine, Angel Cohn, Daniel Manu and Maitland McDonagh. The podcast was discontinued in 2008, following Ausiello's move to Entertainment Weekly.
On July 26, 2005, Gemstar-TV Guide announced that TV Guide would switch from its longtime digest size format and begin printing as a larger full-size national magazine that would offer more stories and fewer program listings. All 140 local editions were eliminated, being replaced by two editions covering the time zones within the contiguous United States: one for the Eastern and Central time zones, and one for the Pacific and Mountain time zones (which had existed separately from the local editions prior to the change, although their distribution was primarily limited to hotels). The change in format was attributed to the increase in the internet, cable television channels (like TV Guide Network), electronic program guides and digital video recorders as the sources of choice for viewers' program listings. The new version of TV Guide went on sale on October 17, 2005, and featured Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host Ty Pennington on the cover. The listings format, now consisting entirely of grids, also changed to start the week's issue with Monday listings rather than Sunday listings. As a result of the elimination of the local editions, broadcast stations were replaced by broadcast network schedules with the description "Local Programming" being used to denote time periods in which syndicated, locally produced or paid programs would air instead of network shows.
In September 2006, TV Guide launched a redesigned website with expanded original editorial and user-generated content not included in the print magazine. On December 22, 2006, TV Guide introduced the magazine's first ever two-week edition. The edition, which featured Rachael Ray on the cover, was issued for the period from December 25, 2006 to January 7, 2007. In early 2008, the Monday-Friday daytime and daily late night grids were eliminated from the listings section, and the television highlights section was compressed into a six-page review of the week, rather than the previous two pages for each night. TV Guide's circulation would eventually decrease from almost 20 million in 1970 to less than three million in 2007.
With the acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide by Macrovision on May 2, 2008, that company, which purchased the former mostly to take advantage of their lucrative and profitable VCR Plus and electronic program guide patents, stated it wanted to sell both the magazine and TV Guide Network, along with the company's TVG horse racing channel to other parties.
On October 13, 2008, Macrovision sold the money-losing magazine to equity fund OpenGate Capital for $1. As part of the sale, however, Macrovision retained ownership of the companion website – which was then sold to equity firm One Equity Partners – with all editorial connections between the magazine and website severed, including the end of Matt Roush's presence on TVGuide.com. The editorial content of the magazine was launched on a new site, TVGuideMagazine.com, which did not feature TV Guide's listings in any form. TVGuideMagazine.com was later shut down on June 1, 2010; TV Guide magazine and TVGuide.com then entered into a deal to restore content from the magazine to the TVGuide.com website, which Lionsgate had bought along with the TV Guide Network in January 2009.
In January 2009, the magazine cut several networks from its grid listings – including MTV and DIY Network – citing "space concerns"; however, two cuts, those of The CW and TV Guide Network, were seen as suspicious and arbitrary, as the magazine carries several channels which have the same schedule night after night or have low viewership and could have easily been cut, while several Fox-owned networks continued to be listed due to agreements with the former News Corporation ownership. It is likely that TV Guide Network's removal from TV Guide's listings was related to the "divorce" of the website and network from the magazine.
In early February 2009, The CW and MTV were brought back to the listings after numerous emails to the magazine protesting the move, with listings for several low-rated networks being removed as a consequence. The other listings were slowly re-added, until TV Guide Network's schedule returned to the listings pages in June 2010 with its logo prominent within the grids as part of the deal with Lionsgate's TV Guide division.
In March 2013, CBS Corporation acquired One Equity Partners' stake of their TV Guide assets. The CBS acquisition was finalized later that month for $100 million. On May 31, 2013, CBS bought Lionsgate's share of TV Guide Digital, which includes the website and mobile apps. On January 31, 2014, OpenGate Capital and CBS Interactive announced a deal to cross-promote TV Guide Magazine with TVGuide.com and CBS Interactive's other internet properties (including TV.com, Metacritic and CNET).
On June 26, 2014, OpenGate Capital announced that TV Guide would undergo a major redesign beginning with the August 11 issue; the magazine will eliminate 14 pages of listings, with the listings pages that remain displaying programming information for only top-rated broadcast and cable networks. It will also add "enhanced editorial features," including recommendation sections focusing on traditional television and online programming – such as additional content from senior critic Matt Roush (an expanded "Roush Review" column and an additional column featuring Roush's 10 picks for the week's programming) and several new sections ("Upfront," featuring trending television-related stories, infographics, Q&A coluumns and ratings charts; "The Guide," containing expanded highlights for each day's television programming, including sports, daytime programming and content available for streaming online; a monthly television-related technology column; "The TV Guide Interview," an occasional feature featuring celebrity interviews focusing on their career; and "On Demand," a review column of movies premiering through streaming and on-demand services). In addition, the magazine's size will be reduced from 7³/₈×10¼ inches to 7×10 inches in a cost-saving measure, and will begin to be distributed in airport newsstands.
In June 1998, the TV Guide brand and magazine were acquired by United Video Satellite Group, the parent company of the Prevue Channel – a channel created in 1988 (although its history dates back to 1981 as the Electronic Program Guide network) that was carried by cable and some satellite television providers and was originally formatted to feature a scrolling program guide, short segments featuring previews of upcoming programs, and promos and short-form film trailers for programs airing on various channels. Its new owners promptly rebranded Prevue as the TV Guide Channel on February 1, 1999. After Gemstar's acquisition of TV Guide, the channel began to shift towards airing full-length programs featuring celebrity gossip and movie talk shows alongside the program listings; the channel was rebranded as the TV Guide Network in 2007.
Following the sale of TV Guide's magazine and network by Macrovision to OpenGate Capital and Lionsgate respectively, the magazine and TV Guide Network became operationally separate, although the two properties still collaborate on content for TVGuide.com. After CBS Corporation bought stakes in TV Guide's properties in March 2013, TV Guide Network was rebranded under the abbreviated name TVGN in April 2013 to de-emphasize its ties to TV Guide magazine, as part of a transition into a general entertainment format while the channel gradually decommissions its scrolling listings grid.
National TV guides are also published in other countries, but none of these are believed to be affiliated with the North American publication: