NBC Films

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NBC Films
NBC Films 1966.jpg
Founded March 1953
Dissolved April 1973 (pre-1973 library sold to National Telefilm Associates)
Notable Works

NBC Films was an American television distribution company. It is a predecessor of what is now CBS Media Ventures.


NBC Films was formed in March 1953 as the original syndication division of NBC, formed by the network to distribute its own programming as well as those of independent producers in off-network syndication, along with programs produced for the first-run syndication market. Some of the more well-known programs syndicated by NBC Films included Bonanza, Get Smart, I Spy and the original version of Divorce Court.

When the Federal Communications Commission ruled in 1970 that the American broadcast networks could no longer distribute their own programs for off-network syndication or produce first-run syndicated programs due to concerns about the networks monopolizing the broadcast landscape, the networks had to sell or spin off their distribution units. As a result of the FCC ruling, NBC dissolved NBC Films in April 1973 and sold the majority of its back catalog from before that date to National Telefilm Associates.

The majority of the NBC Films catalogue is now under the ownership of CBS Media Ventures. Exceptions to this include:

  • Howdy Doody, which was kept by NBC following the sale of its pre-1973 archive to NTA and is now distributed by NBCUniversal Syndication Studios
  • The Groucho Marx version of You Bet Your Life, which was also kept by NBC; many of that version's episodes fell into the public domain in the 1980s, while NUSS has the distribution rights to the non-public domain episodes
  • Hopalong Cassidy, which was originally distributed in syndicated reruns by NBC Films, is now distributed by the Peter Rodgers Organization under license from the estate of Cassidy's portrayer, William Boyd (whose own syndication company, the U.S. Television Office, was a later distributor of the show)

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