TV broadcasts come directly into the homes of their viewers, and live broadcasts get there instantly - two characteristics that make television an ideal vehicle for delivering important news and information. Programmers have always understood TV's value as a news source, and news has always been one of the fundamental programming genres on broadcast TV.
During the heyday of the Big Three broadcast networks, the nightly evening newscast was the flagship program of the network, and the newscast's anchor enjoyed an reputation that lay somewhere between that of a celebrity and a respected civic leader. During the 1960s and 70s, CBS's Walter Cronkite was often referred to as "the most trusted man in America," and later anchors such as Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw achieved similar, if not quite as universal, levels of respect.
The broadcast networks also produce morning news programs, along with weekend news and political talk programs.
In 1980, Ted Turner's Cable News Network became the first 24-hour all-news cable channel. Thanks to its ability to focus entirely on news without pre-empting other programming, CNN pioneered the now-ubiquitous round-the-clock coverage of sensational events. In 1996, CNN was joined by competing news channels MSNBC and Fox News.
In the 2000s, programs like "The Daily Show" that blur the line between news and entertainment - mostly by putting a humorous spin on current events - have become popular.