HBO Turns the Big 5-0! Cheers to 50 Years of Firsts

HBO 50 Years of Firsts Branding

Happy birthday, HBO! ??

We’re celebrating this household name’s 50 Years of Firsts by highlighting some of the many ways HBO has contributed to TV history.

America’s Oldest and Longest-Running Pay Television Service

Founded on November 8, 1972, by Time Inc., HBO – or Home Box Office – quickly grew into an entertainment powerhouse, ushering in a wave of firsts:

  • First TV service to be distributed to individual cable providers.
  • First to transmit its signal via broadcast satellite.
  • First pay-TV network to operate a stand-alone companion service – Cinemax.

From an original lineup that focused on commercial-free movies, comedy specials, and sports (its first television special? The Pennsylvania Polka Festival!), HBO found its bread and butter when it expanded into groundbreaking original programming – with earlier hits like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and The Wire. 

And the Award Goes To…

Creating quality programming is at the forefront of HBO’s success. And the network’s popular originals have been recognized time and time again.

  • Coupled with its streaming arm, HBO Max, the network received 140 nominations for the 74th annual Primetime Emmy Awards – marking the 20th time HBO received the most nominations of any network or platform in a single year.
  • Taking it back to 1997, HBO received 90 Emmy nominations, beating out broadcast networks for the first time.
  • Other big wins?
    • Game of Thrones – holds the title for the most Emmy wins (59 of them!) by a comedy or drama series.
    • Sex and the City – the first cable series to win an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.
    • Succession – earned a record-breaking 14 acting Emmy nominations in 2022, the most acting nominations by one program in a single year.

“It’s Not TV, It’s HBO”

Introduced in 1996, this slogan was used to differentiate HBO from their competition. And it’s clear that it still rings true for the brand. Just look at the numbers:

Safe to say, there’s always something exciting and new coming down HBO’s pipeline.  

Want to continue the celebration? Then check out HBO’s 50 Years of Firsts,” a look back at five decades of milestones, featuring behind-the-scenes footage, cast interviews, and previews of upcoming original content.


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