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Hughes Television Network (HTN) was an American television network created by billionaire Howard Hughes.

It never lived up to its dream of being the nation's fourth television network, following the demise of the DuMont Television Network. HTN limited itself to broadcasting sports events, including the Stanley Cup Finals, PBA Bowling and special programming, and provided facilities links to a loose network of stations, who were usually independents or affiliates of ABC, CBS, or NBC.

Contents

History

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Sports Network Incorporated

The Hughes Television network had its origins as Sports Network Incorporated in 1956. Dick Bailey[1] created Sports Network Incorporated to fill the voids in sports coverage by the Big Three networks. Originally working traffic at ABC, Bailey conceived a cost effective means of broadcasting away Major League Baseball games to their home cities. After executives at ABC rejected this idea, Bailey formed Sports Network, proved his idea a success and pioneered many innovations we now find commonplace in televised sports. Sports Network Incorporated produced programs[2] for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Big Eight Conference, the PGA Tour, St. Louis University, among others[3]. From 1963-1968, Sports Network Incorporated did a syndicated broadcast of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship[4]. After 12 years, the network was sold to Howard Hughes[5] and became the Hughes Television Network, with Dick Bailey as president[6].

Monday Night Football

According to various reports, the National Football League was poised to give HTN prime time broadcast rights for Monday Night Football because negotiations with ABC were failing. However, ABC eventually struck a deal with the NFL.

See also

References

  1. ^ Dick Bailey; Television Executive, 80
  2. ^ A pioneer in the field of sports entertainment and broadcasting, Webster Groves native Greg Marecek founded Sports Network Incorporated, where he produced programs for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Big Eight Conference, the PGA TOUR, St. Louis University, among others.
  3. ^ Coming Events March 6 To March 12
  4. ^ This is incorrect, of course, as NBC didn't beginning televising the tournament until 1969. Sports Network Incorporated did a syndicated broadcast from 1963 through 1968.
  5. ^ Eight years ago Bailey sold SNI to Howard Hughes for an estimated $16 million. "When I sold to Hughes I was told that everyone would ask if I ever met him," Bailey says. "I was also told, 'Those who say they see him don't, and those who do see him don't say.' But no, I never met Howard Hughes. I was in the same hotel he was staying at but I didn't get to see him."
  6. ^ Last weekend Howard Hughes, who failed in his attempt to gain control of ABC, quietly bought Sports Network Incorporated, the up-from-nowhere company (SI, Nov. 8, 1965) that now televises more hours of competitive athletics than the three major networks combined. The implications of the Hughes move are huge. SNI President Dick Bailey, who founded his network with $1,000 working capital and lots of gall, has never been able to operate without a tight eye on his budget. "Everything we earned has gone back into the company," his son, Dick Jr., said last week. "We couldn't experiment as much as we'd like to. It was hard to justify a program that was going to lose money. We accepted ones that had established media value." But now Bailey, who will remain as head of SNI, will have vast financial leeway. There is no reason to think SNI won't enter into direct competitive bidding with the other networks for the big sports contracts—pro football, college football and baseball. (Indeed, there is no reason to think Hughes doesn't intend to build a fourth major TV network for the nation. "We will become the greatest force in communications in the world," Dick Bailey Jr. predicts.)

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