Logo of NBC

over the course of its history. The first logo was used in 1926 when theradio networkbegan operations. Its most famous logo, thepeacock, was first used in 1956 to highlight the networks color programming. While it has been in use in one form or another for all but four years since then, the peacock did not become part of NBCs main logo until 1979 and did not become the networks sole logo until 1986. The logos were designed by NBC itself. The first logo incorporated design from parent companyRCA, and was a unique logo not related to the NBC radio network.

Recent logos have been themed for different holidays during the year (such asHalloweenValentines DayandNew Years Day), in observance of its upcoming or ongoing broadcasts of theOlympics, as well as an American flag-themed logo in the wake of the events ofAl Qaedas terrorist attack on the United States onSeptember 11, 2001. The logo has been adapted forcolor televisionandhigh definitionas technology has advanced. As NBC acquired other television channels, the logo branding was adopted to other networks including:CNBCNBCSNMSNBCGolf Channel, andComcast SportsNet. The logo was also incorporated into the corporate emblem of the networks parent company,NBCUniversal, untilComcasttook control of the company in 2011.1Since December 10, 2012, the peacock has been integrated into the corporate logo of Comcast.2

NBC debuted as aradio networkin 1926, with a logo depicting a microphone surrounded by lightning bolts, superimposed over a map of the United States of America. The NBC letters appeared in an arc above the graphic images.3

In 1931, NBC introduced its second logo a square with a diagonal NBC text in it, and lightning bolts around the B.4This logo was later adopted in 1944 for use as the original logo for the newly formedNBCtelevision network.

In 1943, NBC introduced its third logo, a microphone surrounded by lightning bolts, which was a modification of the original 1926 logo used by the NBC radio network. Lightning bolts were also part of the logo of corporate parentRCA,5as well as that of one-time sister companyRKO Pictures. The waves placed on the left side were meant for the radio network, and the right waves were meant for the television network. A network identification featuring this logo includes a male announcer saying This is NBC, the National Broadcasting Company, followed by theNBC chimes. On the networksflagship television stationWNBT (nowWNBC), this was accompanied by the same announcer saying WNBT, New York. At the beginning of telecasts, a card was shown with a different NBC logo with the letters in cursive and enclosed in a rectangle (a logo also used at the end of broadcasts in the early 1950s). This was replaced by another card depicting an NBC cameraman operating an RCA camera was shown underneath the text NBC Television Presents. The letters NBC, lighting in tune with the chimes, indicated time for station identification or the end of a telecast.

In 1953, a stylizedxylophoneandmalletwas introduced, accompanied by the NBC chimes, which were first heard on NBC radio in 1927 as a seven-tone sequence.5The current tones which were first adopted in 1929 as a simplified cue for identification of its radio affiliates because of issues with orchestrating the seven notes properly are only three notes,GEandC(contrary to popular belief, the selection of the three notes was not intended to represent the initials of the networks eventual owner, theGeneral Electric Company, which was an early shareholder inRCA, which itself founded NBC by creating it as a subsidiary).6There is some indication that the xylophone logo was used at 5:32p.m.Eastern Timeon December 17, 1953 to announce theFederal Communications Commissions (FCC) approval of the new color standard, which would go into effect 30 days later. This logo debuted in December 1953, during theTournament of Roses Parade.7

According to the New York Times, 9-2-88, p. A3,John J. Grahamand Herb Lubalin of Sudler & Hennessey designed a peacock for the NBC television network: an abstraction of an eleven-featheredpeacockindicating richness in color.8This brightly hued peacock, which NBC called the Bird, was adopted because of the increase in color programming.67In addition, NBCs owner, RCA, manufactured color television sets. As a result, the peacock became a marketing tool, in the hopes that people tuning into NBC would purchase color TV sets. NBCs first color broadcasts showed only a still frame of the colorful peacock. Several modifications were made by NBC before the emblem made its first on-air appearance on May 22, 1956.9

In summer 1957, beginning withYour Hit Parade,the peacock became animated and introduced every NBC color show until a revamped animation appeared in 1962. Its musical backing was agongwhile the peacock began its formation, with a male announcer saying The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC, while the music crescendoed followed by a nine-note flourish while the peacocks feathers changed color and finally spread out. According toGame Show Networkexecutive David Schwartz, the first announcer who spoke those famous words behind the Peacock graphic logo wasBen Grauer, a familiar voice on NBC since 1930. A slide with the letters NBC in red, green, and blue respectively and with TELEVISION underneath appeared at the end of every color show.

Starting in late 1959, an animated logo joined the Peacock, appearing at the end of every show. Starting with the N, each letter would grow from the other, forming a stacked typographic logo ending with the C, forming the base. This would be known as theNBCsnake.7Several versions of this exist; the first is the snake forming in front of a multicolored background while a camera passed by with a jazz rendition of the NBC chimes, while the second consists of the snake forming against a color-changing background, going from blue to green to red, on each note of the regular, automated NBC chimes. The logo was also designed by John J. Graham.

In 1962, on theLaramieseries, a new version of the Peacock opening logo was introduced in which the bird fanned its bright plumage against a kaleidoscopic color background (with the eleven melded feathers shrinking and separating into the peacocks form). As with the 1956 Peacock, this logo appeared at the start of every NBC color program; as all NBC shows eventually began airing in color, it was generally used only to open those shows that were produced by NBC itself, such asThe Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. It was, however, seen on the NBC airings ofMGMsThe Wizard of Oz(1939) as well as on the broadcasts of the 1960Peter Panmusical, which had been videotaped atNBC Studios(NBC had previously telecast live versions ofPeter Panin 1955 and 1956 on theanthologyProducers Showcase). The Laramie Peacock, named for the series which introduced it, used the same living color spiel as used with the first peacock but the music piece that accompanied it was a soft, woodwind-based number;Mel Brandtwas the new announcer for this sequence. It was revised further in April 1968; the music was slightly rearranged and the animation was shortened by a few seconds, and another version, withVic Robyannouncing Now, a special program in living color on NBC was unveiled for use onspecialsduring this same period. It was shortened further in 1975, when the peacock was retired.

The Laramie Peacock made special appearances throughout the ensuing years, mostly in a retro-kitsch context or to commemorate a significant broadcast event on NBC. It was used to promotethe networks coverageof therace held atDarlington RacewaynearFlorence, South Carolinafor September 2015, where many racecars featured a throwback motif, owing to it being the first Cup race held at the circuit on Labor Day weekend since 2003 (which NBC also covered). The Laramie Peacock has also been used by local stations: the sequence was shown at the beginning ofPittsburgh Dads Guide to Christmas, a special aired onPittsburghNBC affiliateWPXIon December 19, 2014.10

NBC updated its image in 1975 with the introduction of an abstract N, a bold, bright and contemporary design consisting of twotrapezoids one red and one blue.6One of the technological innovations of this logo was its use in the first electronically animated ident for anAmerican televisionnetwork.11On the January 10, 1976 episode ofNBCs Saturday Night(nowSaturday Night Live),Weekend UpdatehostChevy ChaseandGilda Radnermocked the new logo and its $1 million design cost (at the end of Chases comments, Radner appeared as the Dancing N, with an NBC logo-shaped costume covering her head and upper torso).12

In February 1976,Nebraska ETV, thePBSmember network forNebraska, filed atrademark infringementlawsuit against NBC. The new NBC logo was virtually identical to the logo that Nebraska ETV had been using since 1974, with the only cosmetic difference between the two designs being that the right trapezoid of the NBC logo had blue coloring.13An out-of-court settlement was reached5in which NBC gave Nebraska ETV over $800,000 worth of new equipment, including a color mobile unit. It also paid Nebraska ETV $55,000 to cover the cost of designing and implementing a new logo. In return, NBC was allowed to keep the N logo.14

The Peacock returned as part of NBCs branding in September 1979. The N and the Peacock were combined together to create a design called the Proud N.14This marked the first time that the Peacock was actually part of NBCs own logo. It was simplified in keeping with the letters pared-down design. Although all eleven feathers were intact, the teardrop tips were merged into the rest of the feathers, while a simpler color scheme was used for the feathers themselves (blue for the feather behind the peacocks body; yellow, orange, red, indigo and purple respectively for the other feathers on both sides). The Peacocks body became a simple triangular shape, without any feet.6On several occasions, the new Peacock was used independently of the N, starting with the newProud as a Peacockadvertising campaign that reintroduced the Peacock; however, the N and the Peacock were usually combined together between 1979 and 1986. The 1979 Proud N logo was designed by Lippincott & Margulies.15

Contrary to popular belief, the Peacock was not originally used as NBCs official primary logo; the 1956 and 1962 versions were used solely to identify the networks color broadcasts, while other logos, initially the xylophone logo but most commonly the NBC snake logo, identified NBC itself. The Peacock became so identified with NBC that it was incorporated into the network logo in 1979 by Fred Silverman, then President of NBC, due to prior research from 1977 in NBCs corporate planning department by Peter H. Kliegman who recommended the station identification value of the Peacock and suggested the Peacock be utilized as a logo. The Peacock became the sole logo in 1986.

On May 12, 1986, during the finale of theNBC 60th Anniversary CelebrationTV special, past and present NBC stars stood on stage to introduce a new logo a simplified peacock icon, ending the arranged marriage of N and Peacock (the Proud N). Although NBC had been popularly known as the peacock network for some time, it was the first time that The Bird had been used as NBCs official symbol all by itself.614The peacocks head was now flipped to the right this was done to suggest as if it was looking forward to the future, not back to the past. The 11 feathers of its previous peacock logo were pared down to six to represent NBCs six divisions:6News (yellow), Sports (orange), Entertainment (red), Stations (purple), Network (blue), and Productions (green). The shape of the peacocks body was also simplified, becoming vertically elongated, and removing the tips at the bottom and above the head. The little slit in the purple feather is meant to represent the peacocks beak The bottom of the peacock evokes a lens shutter. T Incorporating the sixprimaryandsecondary colorsin the RYB color palette, this Peacock, redesigned by Steff Geissbuhler atChermayeff & Geismar,16remains one of the worlds most recognized logos. The network maintains specific guidelines for the logo, including proper colors for reproduction, using eitherRGBCMYKorPantonecolors. The usage guidelines are contained in the NBC Logo Legal Usage Guidelines, which is distributed to NBC employees involved in graphics as well as outside vendors, such as advertising agencies, who may need to use the logo.

After the logos introduction on May 12, 1986, many of NBCs affiliates (especially the stations part of NBCs O&O group at the time: WNBC-TV inNew York CityWMAQ-TVinChicagoKCNC-TVinDenverKNBC-TVinLos AngelesWRC-TVinWashington, D.C.andWKYC-TVinCleveland) started adding the new peacock to their station identification. However, a few stations still kept the Proud N at least until the end of the 198687television season, and NBC itself retained the Proud N in the title sequence for its movie/mini-series presentations. Because of this, the new logo was not universally adopted until the fall of 1987. Even then, at least one NBC affiliate,WTOV-TVinSteubenville, Ohio, was using the Proud N logo as late as 1988.

The logo first appeared as anon-screen bugin the 199394 television season, appearing only during theopening sequencesof programs and staying on-screen throughout the duration of programs as a separate translucent bug beginning with the 199495 season. Until the 200405 season, the bottom-screen logo bug featured a variety of effects that resulted in its formation (such as the six feathers rotating into the form of the logo with the peacocks body being formed when the feathers were in place or a white flag containing the logo wiping the logo bug on-screen), usually during a shows opening sequence. Until the 200809 season, ascreensaver-style sequence featuring these logo effects against a black background was also used as a placeholder graphic during slots within commercial breaks allocated to local stations toinsertcommercials and station promotions; some NBC affiliates also ran the sequence through the network feed in the event of technical difficulties with inserting local advertising (a placeholder logo graphic remains in use, although since the 200910 season, the animation used has changed to match the networks imaging of the current timeframe).

In 1999, NBC revamped its network identity. A new network ID sequence was introduced, with the NBC logo reflecting through giant glass feathers.

In the aftermath of theSeptember 11 attacksin 2001, NBC introduced a special version of the peacock that replaced the colors with a furled American flag waving within the logo (including within the logo bug); this version was used until the2002 Winter Olympics.

During programs presented inwidescreen, the logo bug would be shrunk and placed to fit within the16:9video area (specifically, on the right fringe outside of thesafe area). During the 200607 television season, this smaller widescreen logo was only used during live broadcasts, such asSaturday Night Live,Christmas at Rockefeller Center(the annual special commemorating the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting),Live Earthand theMacys Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular. The smaller logo was reintegrated at the start of the 200708 season on all widescreen programming, including pre-recordedstandard definitionbroadcasts in order to insert graphicalpromosduring the show. The network used a variation of its logo bug accompanied by HD text forHigh-definitionprogramming in the 200607 season. Live broadcasts in high-definition previously used the logo without HD text. Until 2016, the NBC bug was placed within the 4:3 safe area, with the logo bug being displayed identically on the standard definition and high definition feeds (the color version of the NBC logo bug began to be placed within the 4:3 safe area during high definition programming in May 2008). Today, the NBC bug is placed within the 16:9 widescreen frame, again being displayed identically on the SD and HD feeds.

The logo bug is also presented opaque in full color during the opening credits of a program, with the bug sometimes accompanied text as a promotion for the networks website. Live finale episodes ofThe Biggest Losercontinued to use the version with the NBC name titling below the peacock until its September 2009 conversion to HD, due to that programs standard definition production being based out ofBurbankinstead of New York City.

The logo is sometimes accompanied with NBC text, usually below the peacock; however, this is not always the case. The networks logo bug incorporated the text starting on January 1, 1998, and it became colorized in late 2006;NBC Nightly Newsfinally began using the 2006 bug starting on March 26, 2007 to coincide with the programs first high-definition broadcast, with the web address forMSNBC(and since 2012,NBC News) later added to the right side during the program. Programs broadcast in 4:3 SD continued to use the translucent version of the logo until September 13, 2009. SomeNBC Sportsprograms, such as golf and Olympic sports, use a bug incorporating theOlympic ringsbelow the peacock; this version is also used on entertainment and news programming, starting with the beginning of the fall television season in the lead-up to theWinter Olympics, or at the beginning of a calendar year leading up to theSummer Olympics(in2012, the rings variant was implemented on April 16 in accordance with Green is Universal week, along with sister networkTelemundo). The Olympics version of the networks 1986 logo is also used by NBC affiliates for their logos during the networks coverage of the Games (as well as in promotions for the Olympics that precede the start of the Games), both on-air for some stations or confined to the Olympic Zone micro-sites.

Shortly after the beginning of the 200607 television season, almost all NBC programming included graphics forToday,Meet the PressandDateline NBC. The left version was less embossed than the one used previously and did not display the NBCacronymbeneath it. After the beginning of the 2009-10 season on September 28 as part of the lead-up to the2010 Winter OlympicsinVancouver, the Olympics variant of the on-screen logo was used on all network programming, except for news.

Since December 2007, NBC occasionally places a text-based advertisement for an upcoming program above or next to the NBC peacock, which is present on both the SD and HD feeds.

NBC updated its logo once again in 2008, with all network promos and IDs ending with the peacock feathers blooming out of the peacocks body, forming the logo. The feathers also flashed in tune to the NBC chimes, which were sometimes played using different instruments other than the standard xylophone, or other sounds set to the tune of the chimes (such as a telephone for promos forThe Office, or the ringing of acash registerin promos forDeal or No Deal). Two versions of the 2008 logo animation were used: a 3D glass version that was used in most promos, and an occasionally used 2D logo that was also used as a generic ID. The m suffix added to create the URL for promoting the networks website was sometimes featured beside the logo.

On September 14, 2009, with the introduction of the networks More Colorful image campaign, the network incorporated a flickering effect for the NBC peacock seen at the end of promos and ID sequences in which the logo cycles through all six colors before switching to the standard multi-colored logo, usually displayed next to a clip featuring a main character or host of a particular program.

On September 13, 2011, NBC introduced a 3D glass version of the logo for use in promotional advertising and idents. However, the 2006 color bug used for HD programming and elements of theMore Colorfulrebrand remained in use. After its introduction, a few NBC stations incorporated the glassed variant to their station logos, with Chicago O&O WMAQ-TV becoming the first to do so in February 2012.

Stylized crystal variant, used as of September 30, 2013. The wordmark has been part of the logo since September 30, 2013.

Stylized crystal variant without the wordmark, used as of September 30, 2013, currently in tandem with its 2011 counterpart.

On September 30, 2013, NBC revised its 3D crystallized peacock, incorporating the NBC typeface below the logo in the same font variant introduced by NBC Sports with the 2012 relaunch of the Versus cable sports channel asNBC Sports Network. This modification was extended to the in-program logo bug on June 10, 2013.

In NASCAR and IndyCar broadcasts, the peacock logo bug turns green, yellow or red when the respectiveracing flagis deployed. During the networksNFLorcollege footballtelecasts, the peacock logo bug turns yellow to indicate a penaltyflagor red to indicate achallenge.

On August 22, 2016, after the Olympics, the NBC name titling below the peacock returned to the logo bug. The Olympic rings (which replaced the NBC typeface) returned August 8, 2017 as part of the networks run-up to the2018 Winter Olympics. On February 26, 2018, after the Winter Olympics, the NBC logo with the typeface returned.

In the early 1950s, the bold upper case NBC letters (later used in the 1953 Xylophone logo) were also used as an animated light-up letters logo in synchronization with the NBC chimes in front of a gray background. This closing sequence was edited in at the end of a network program. Another variant was later used with a darker gray background and a disclaimer underneath the light-up letters: This program was reproduced by the Kinephoto process, a reference to a live program put onto black and white film identified as aKinescoperecording. This variant was widely used throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Many programs were originally recorded in this manner before the advent of two-inch videotape. NBC, however, continued to use its Kinephoto recording system to archive many of its videotaped programs so the videotapes can be erased and reused for other programming. This is evident with such 1960s programs asHullabaloousing both archived Kinescope footage with rare color videotape finds, which was later re-released for home video onVHSandDVD.

For NBCs 1965 fall preview special, the peacock introduction began as normal with announcer Mel Brandts standard introduction; however, when the peacock faded, Brandt is heard sayingIt juststartsin black and white!Used to begin the special, the variant with the voice-over being featured at the beginning of the ident, instead of during the middle led into almost the complete pre-title teaser ofGet Smarts pilot episode, which was shot in black-and-white. This variant is also known as the Pink Peacock on video-sharing websites such asYouTube.

In 1967, NBC was the first American television network to airThe BeatlesfilmA Hard Days Night; however, as it was filmed in black and white, NBC had to temporarily replace the peacock: a caption showingI Dream of JeannieandThe Jerry Lewis Show(the programs NBC was pre-empting that night) was pushed off-screen by an animated, waddling penguin adorned with atop hatthat flapped its flightless wings (imitating the peacock), accompanied by announcer Mel Brandt drolly sayingI Dream of JeannieandThe Jerry Lewis Showwill not be seen tonight. Instead… (music cue) The following very, very special program is brought to you in lively black and white, on NBC. At the end of the sequence, the penguin is shown taking off its top hat and unzipping its chest, with The Beatles jumping out and performing, before running away while being chased by fangirls.17

In 1968, a variant of the 1965 in living color peacock ID was featured at the start of an episode ofRowan & Martins Laugh-In. At the very end of the sequence, the peacock sneezes, sending its feathers flying off-screen, after which the puzzled peacock is shown looking in each direction in notice that its feathers are missing. This clip was later re-used in 1985 to open an episode ofTVs Bloopers & Practical Jokes, and in the 2002 specialThe Most Outrageous Game Show Moments 2. The sneezing peacock was only an animation added onto the end of the original clip of the 1965 peacock ID, as the peacocks feathers became brighter upon switching to the portion in which it sneezed.

In 1993, NBC commissioned several artists (such asAl Hirschfeld,18Peter Max,19John Kricfalusi,2021J. J. Sedelmaier,22David Daniels,23Joan C. Gratz,24and Mark Malmberg25) to devise abstract variations of the peacock for promotional use.26However, the Gratz bumper was first used in 1992.27Animated versions of the Hirschfeld, Sedelmeier, Gratz and Kricfalusi peacocks acted as stings, and continued to air on the network until 2002.

The current peacock logo was also used as a part of a sketch onLate Night with Conan OBrienduring the first few seasons. Chermayeff & Geismars book,Identify, includes the original sketches for the current peacock logo.28

American Broadcasting Company logos

Love It or Leave It – NBCUniversal Unveils New Logo.

Nikki Finke (December 2012).Company Quietly Adds NBC Peacock To Corporate Logo.

Second NBC logo image. Modesto Radio Museum

Designing Logos: The Process of Creating Symbols That Endure

. New York City:Allworth Press. pp.1267.ISBN978-1-58115-649-2.

Then is Now: Sampling from the Past for Todays Graphics

.Gloucester, MassachusettsRockport Publishers. pp.823.ISBN978-1-56496-766-4.

Brand Slam: An In-Depth Look at the Remarkable Concepts and Creative Teams Behind Some of the Worlds Most Ingenious Brand Recognition Campaigns

. New York City:Lebhar-Friedman Books. p.30.ISBN978-0-86730-847-1.

The New York Times Encyclopedia of Television

. Times Books (Quadrangle/The New York Times Book Company, Inc.). p.328.ISBN0-8129-0721-3.

Pittsburgh Dad Christmas special coming to WPXI-TV.

.Cox Media Group. December 9, 2014.

NBCs Saturday Night, January 10, 1976 (season 1, DVD 3)

Tom Shales(August 2, 1985).Symbolism At Nbc: Peacock Is In, N Is Out.

Die at the Right Time! A Subjective Cultural History of the American Sixties

(1st ed.).North Syracuse, New York: Gegensatz Press. pp.2567.ISBN28.

NBC Spumco Laramie Peacock ID from 1993

Shauna Snow (August 27, 1993).Television: Animated Peacock. Tribune Publishing

NBC Technical Difficulties Slide and Gratz Bumper from 1992

Identify by Chermayeff & Geismar – Book Review.

James Hibberd (January 27, 2011).NBC Universals new logo dumps peacock.

Chris Allen (January 31, 2011).NBC changes historic peacock logo in merger with Comcast.

.E. W. Scripps Company. Archived fromthe originalon January 27, 2013

Michael Schneider (August 30, 2009).Colorful new peacock for NBC.

The Story behind the design of the NBC Peacock

Animated versions of the NBC Peacock and other network logos

This page was last edited on 13 July 2018, at 04:29

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