Alongside CBS and ABC, NBC is one of the Big Three networks in American television. This means it’s one of the highest-rated and longest-running broadcasters in the history of TV in the U.S. As it turns out, NBC is also the oldest of the trio. But what if you’re a DirecTV subscriber and don’t know how to find the channel in the first place? We’re here to help you find NBC on your channel guide — regardless of where you’re located in the country.
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NBC Channel Guide
|City and State||NBC Channel on DirecTV|
|Colorado Springs, CO||5|
|El Paso, TX||9|
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||6|
|Fort Worth, TX||5|
|Las Vegas, NV||3|
|Los Angeles, CA||4|
|New York, NY||4|
|Oklahoma City, OK||4|
|St. Louis, MO||5|
|St. Paul, MN||11|
|Salt Lake City, UT||5|
|San Antonio, TX||4|
|San Diego, CA||17|
|San Francisco, CA||13|
|San Jose, CA||11|
The History of NBC
NBC has a rich and foundational history in American television. It stands for the National Broadcasting Company, a name it earned in 1926 when it was just a radio broadcaster headed by RCA. It expanded its reach into the burgeoning field of television in 1939. The broadcaster soon made history by being the first network ever to televise a baseball game. This history-making trend continued into the 1940s, as NBC continued to grow with programs like The Howdy Doody Show and NBC Symphony Orchestra.
The 1950s kicked off a decades-long golden era for television. NBC was no stranger to the success promised by such a prolific period. From the development of The Tonight Show with Steve Allen in 1954 to the premiere of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In in 1968 to the debut of Saturday Night Live in 1975, NBC successfully revolutionized late-night comedy on multiple occasions. Its hot streak continued into the 1980s and ‘90s, with premieres of classics like Cheers, Seinfeld, and Friends. This paved the way for cult classics like The Office and Parks & Recreation in the years to come.
The ‘90s and 2000s brought many new dramas into the fold. While NBC had long been viewed as a place for comedy, news, and sports, this new development helped them cement their status as one of the great Big Three networks. Law & Order, ER, Homicide: Life on the Street, The West Wing, and numerous other award-winning dramatic series helped keep NBC relevant in a changing landscape. The same goes for the streaming era of the 2010s and today, with reality shows like The Voice and America’s Got Talent helping NBC stay strong.
NBC Sister Stations
Once you know where to turn to for your local NBC station on DirecTV, let’s break down several different programming types you may encounter on the channel throughout the day. From morning news to primetime dramas, and live sporting events to afternoon talk shows, these are the kinds of programs you’re most likely to find on your NBC channel.
On NBC, the word “drama” is synonymous with the name Dick Wolf. The longtime executive producer has given the network the Law & Order franchise, the Chicago franchise, and numerous other series over the years. His various Law & Order and Chicago shows dominate the station’s scripted drama lineup.
It’s not all drama, however. NBC also has a great selection of original sitcoms. This fall, this includes Lopez vs Lopez and the revival of Night Court. It’s struggled to replicate the success of past comedies such as The Office, Friends, or Seinfeld, but it’s certainly trying hard. Time will tell if its upcoming sitcoms Extended Family or St. Denis Medical will hold the key.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s NBC’s unscripted lineup. America’s Got Talent and American Ninja Warrior are two of the most popular instances of this, but they’re far from the only game show competitions on the station. There’s also The Wall, Weakest Link, That’s My Jam, and an array of others.
Baking It — a baking competition show — airs on both NBC and Peacock, which is NBCUniversal’s streaming service. It has also been airing The Voice since 2011, generating some hit musicians in the process. More recent unscripted competitions such as Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge and Password are holding steady on the network, as well.
Whether day or night, NBC has a ton of talk shows to choose from. In the earlier part of the day, viewers can tune into 3rd Hour Today and Today with Hoda & Jenna. At night, there’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Don’t forget Saturday Night Live, either.
Some NBC news programs have been on the air consistently since 1947. That’s a seriously long time! Even those that began in the ’50s and ’70s hold an impressive track record for time spent on the air. Meet the Press is the oldest of the bunch, dating back more than 75 years since its first broadcast. Today and NBC Nightly News have been on the air for decades, as well. Dateline NBC is another popular offering, emerging in 1992 and airing consistently ever since.
Given the existence (not to mention popularity) of NBC Sports, it’s unsurprising that NBC broadcasts its fair share of live sports too. It seems it doesn’t offload everything to its sister station. On any given game day, you may find NFL games, PGA tournaments, horse racing, tennis, boxing, swimming, figure skating, NASCAR, and even college games. The station is also home to Olympics coverage — both summer and winter editions — as well as various Olympic trials.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©NBCUniversal.