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NBC Europe (formerly Super Channel and NBC Super Channel) was a satellite television channel based in the United Kingdommarker that broadcast across Europe. It was picked up by various European cable television networks.

Early history

Super Channel 1987-1993
Launched on the 30th of January 1987 replacing 24-hour music channel Music Box, Super Channel was co-owned by all but one of the ITV companies at the time in the United Kingdommarker . It competed with SKY Channel, forerunner of Sky1, which was the only other major pan-European satellite-channel around at the time. Unlike SKY Channel, Super Channel's syndicated output was less Americanmarker and more European. Many of the programmes were what it called the "Best of British", sourced from ITV or the BBC, while ITN produced news bulletins (see also ITN World News). It also broadcast syndicated non-British European programmes such as the Dutchmarker sitcom Zeg 'ns AAA (with English subtitles).

Super Channel fared poorly, unable to earn sufficient revenue from advertising or cable networks that carried it, while its British programming, with the exception of The Benny Hill Show, did not appeal to most audiences in mainland Europe. The BBC later went on to launch its own, more successful, subscription-funded channel BBC TV Europe - later rebranded as BBC World Service Television, and then as BBC Prime.

Within a year, the ITV companies sold the channel to the Italianmarker Marcucci family, owners of Videomusic, the first music channel in Italy, with a minority stake being held by Richard Branson's Virgin plc, and the programming changed from British to pan-European, although it continued carrying ITN's World News bulletins.

At the beginning Super Channel was based in the heart of London, 19-22 Rathbone Place, London W1P 1DF, in the same building home to Music Box; the building would later become home of CNN International until 2007. For a number of months the channel's transmission facilities were provided by Molinare at Fouberts Place London W1. Transmission briefly returned to Rathbone Place before in 1991 Super Channel moved to Melrose House, 14 Lanark Square, in Limeharbour (London).

In 1996 the channel (along with its sister channel CNBC Europe) was transmitted from the GE building in Hammersmith, London. The transmission suite used cutting edge (at the time) Pro-Bel COMPASS and MAPP automation, and Profile video servers for all commercials and promotions. Programmes continued to be played from tape however.

NBC steps in

NBC Super Channel 1993-1996
In 1993, the station was having financial difficulties, and was taken over by the Americanmarker company General Electric, the parent of the NBC television network, and became NBC Super Channel. In 1996, the channel was renamed NBC Europe, but was, from then on, almost always referred to as simply "NBC" on the air.

Most of NBC Europe's prime time programming was produced in Europe, but after 11PM Central European Time on weekday evenings, the channel aired The Tonight Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Later and Saturday Night Live, hence its slogan "Where the Stars Come Out at Night." Most NBC News programs were broadcast on NBC Europe, including Dateline NBC, Time and Again and NBC Nightly News, which was aired live. The Today Show was also initially shown live in the afternoons, but was later broadcast the following morning instead, by which time it was more than half a day old. That meant that all news portions had to be replaced with European updates produced by ITN in London. ITN also supplied the network with the main European newscasts before and after the GE takeover. The European weather was produced by the BBC at first, but was later taken over by NBC in the U.S.

NBC Europe carried virtually no prime time fiction entertainment programs shown on NBC in the US, because they were usually owned and distributed by other studios under the fin-syn rule. NBC would have had to buy the rights for each country in order to show them on NBC Europe, which would have been too expensive. Even for shows that NBC Studiosmarker owned itself, it was generally more financially viable to sell the rights country by country either to broadcast or cable channels than to air them on NBC Europe. The most notable exceptions to this rule were brief runs of Profiler and The Pretender, as well as short-lived US sitcoms Union Square and Mr. Rhodes. That is widely considered to be one of the main reasons why NBC Europe was ultimately not a success.

NBC Europe as a German network

Studio of news programme "GIGA Real"
Studio of the show "GIGA Green"
NBC Europe stopped broadcasting to most of Europe in 1998. In 1998, the DFA (Deutsche Fernsehnachrichten Agentur) took over NBC Europe, which moved to Düsseldorfmarker. Most of the satellite feeds of NBC Europe became either National Geographic or CNBC. NBC Europe continued to operate on the German Cable TV, fed by one digital satellite link from Eutelsat II-F1 (later Hotbird 5). In November 1998 the first German programming started airing. Programming was assembled with content from GIGA and CNBC Europe, as well as other shows. In 2004, NBC Universal took over the DFA and consequently NBC Europe.

On September 29, 2005, NBC Europe was split into GIGA and the new channel Das Vierte. NBC Europe was replaced by Das Vierte. In fact Das Vierte is still broadcasting with the licence of NBC Europe on Cable TV - on satellite, IPTV and digital cable it's a new channel. Also Das Vierte broadcasts a special version on Cable TV, including CNBC Europe, and from September 29, 2005-March 31, 2006 also GIGA. This is necessary to keep the licence and the cable channel.

Image:NBC Europe 01.jpg|IdentImage:NBC Europe 02.jpg|Programme promotion graphic, like aired in 2000

Programming

Due to limitations on the amount of entertainment programming on the network, NBC Europe aired a number of original programming in tandem with Americanmarker programming that had not been aired in Europe beforehand. These programmes include:



References

External links




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