ABC launched as a radio network on October 12, 1943, serving as the successor to the NBC Blue Network, which had been purchased by Edward J. Noble. It extended its operations to television in 1948, following in the footsteps of established broadcast networks CBS and NBC. In the mid-1950s, ABC merged with United Paramount Theatres, a chain of movie theaters that formerly operated as a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures. Leonard Goldenson, who had been the head of UPT, made the new television network profitable by helping develop and greenlight many successful series. In the 1980s, after purchasing an 80 percent interest in cable sports channel ESPN, the network’s corporate parent, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., merged with Capital Cities Communications, owner of several print publications, and television and radio stations. In 1996, most of Capital Cities/ABC’s assets were purchased by The Walt Disney Company.
The television network has eight owned-and-operated and over 232 affiliated television stations throughout the United States and its territories. Some of the ABC-affiliated stations can also be seen in Canada via pay-television providers, and certain other affiliates can also be received over-the-air in areas within the Canada–United States border. ABC News provides news and features content for select radio stations owned by Citadel Broadcasting, which purchased the ABC Radio properties in 2007 (however relaunched in 2014).