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Our History


In the early years of the twentieth century, NBC and Universal began creating their extraordinary legacies in the exciting new worlds of motion picture production and distribution, location-based entertainment, radio and television production and broadcasting. Today, as one company under the ownership of Comcast, NBCUniversal continues to build on this legacy of quality and innovation.

Explore Our Legacy
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An Industry Is Born

As the twentieth century began, so did the meteoric rise of the film industry, and moving pictures became a mass entertainment medium. Playing a key role was a German immigrant from Chicago (by way of Laupheim) named Carl Laemmle. Laemmle went on to found the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, a business that would evolve and eventually merge with NBC to become NBCUniversal.


Carl Laemmle founds Universal

Carl Laemmle's Independent Moving Pictures Company merged with five other film companies to create the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, headed by Laemmle. For the first time, a single entity encompassed all facets of the movie industry: production, distribution, and exhibition.


Film production begins for Universal

Film production begins on the iconic Universal City lot, and Damon and Pythias becomes the first film to be completed on a Universal lot.

Universal City opens its gates

Universal City opens its gates

At its opening, Universal City was billed as "the only moving-picture city in the world."


Noble Johnson signs with Universal

Noble Johnson is the first Black actor to sign a major studio contract with Universal. He went on to become a renowned film industry pioneer, with his beginnings at Universal chronicled through his employee time cards in the Universal Archive Collections.

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The Birth of the National Broadcasting Corporation

NBC made it possible for a national audience to share in a single experience, be it a presidential address or a baseball game. David Sarnoff, founder of NBC Radio Network, had envisioned such a service as early as 1915, when he proposed a broadcast radio network whereby "events of national importance can be simultaneously announced and received," and "baseball scores can be transmitted in the air." His vision became a reality in 1926, with the founding of NBC. 


David Sarnoff founds the nation's first permanent radio network, NBC

Heralding NBC's arrival, this advertisement appeared in newspapers across the nation.

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Radio captures the nation's imagination

Landmark radio broadcasts for NBC included the Rose Bowl, which was the first coast-to-coast radio network broadcast, the Tunney-Dempsey heavyweight fight, and Charles Lindbergh's return to the U.S. after the first trans-Atlantic flight.


NBC Radio debuts its first serial drama

Real Folks premiered on August 6, 1928. The series told the story of Thompkins Corner, a typical small town in America, and marked the beginning of multi-episode dramas on broadcast media. 

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Universal releases its first “talking picture,” Melody of Love

Universal releases its first "all-talkie", a wartorn love story called Melody of Love. Laemmle produced the film on a tight schedule, filming mostly at night on a rented sound-on-film recording system – and it remains a historic milestone for Universal.


NBC Sounds the Chimes

NBC had used chimes as a switching cue from its beginnings as a radio network. Many configurations of notes were used until 1929, when NBC settled on the familiar three tones that have become a…

NBC Chimes 1933
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Silent Films Start to Talk

As the 20s turned to the 30s, film began to modernize — and Universal studios made a name for itself in the horror genre with the release of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Dracula and more. The 1930s also marked Universal’s first Academy Award Winning film, All Quiet on the Western Front.


Universal wins its first Academy Award for Best Picture with All Quiet on the Western Front

The acclaimed epic war film is considered to be one of the most realistic portrayals of warfare in the history of cinema.


Universal makes its name as king of the horror movie

Universal released multiple iconic horror blockbusters in the 1930s, including Frankenstein, Dracula, and more – introducing the "monster movie" phenomenon that persists today. These low-cost, formulaic films appealed to both American and European audiences, offering an escape from Depression-era life. Universal's unique approach to the horror world cemented the studio's authority in the genre.


NBC begins experimental TV broadcasts from atop new Empire State Building

This doll, named Felix the Cat, was one of the first images ever broadcast by television. Chosen for its tonal contrast and ability to withstand the high temperatures caused by the intense lighting needed for early broadcasts, Felix was placed on a rotating phonograph turntable and televised for a few hours each day, as RCA engineers worked to fine-tune the technology.


Bob Hope begins his historic broadcasting career on NBC

Bob Hope, an American media icon who defined modern day stand-up comedy, launched his career at NBC in June 1933. He hosted the Academy Awards 19 times (the most of any host) and made 57 tours for the United Service Organizations, entertaining active duty U.S. military personnel around the world.

30 Rockefeller Center becomes home to NBC operations

30 Rockefeller Center becomes home to NBC operations

Dubbed a “world center,” the ten story, 40,000 square foot studio inside The RCA Building in Rockefeller Center was built to house NBC’s offices and equipment, including the newest and most improved devices and technology. At that time, the Radio City headquarters became the world’s largest broadcasting studio.


The Page Program begins

The Page Program, a highly competitive rotational learning and development program for young people in the media and entertainment industry, is established. Based in New York City and Los Angeles, the program is one of the most selective and prestigious for early career development.


NBC Radio broadcasts the historic 1936 Berlin Olympics

The Berlin Olympics were the first games to be televised, and radio broadcasts reached 41 countries. NBC aired this historic event, including the record breaking success of Jesse Owens winning 4 gold medals — the first American to do so.


David Sarnoff launches regular TV service from the 1939 World's Fair in Flushing, Queens

Sarnoff spoke from the RCA Exhibit Building, heralding the birth of "a new art and a new industry, which eventually will provide entertainment and information for millions."

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The beginning of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade television tradition

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is televised for the first time in 1939 on NBC. The parade is a hallmark event in American culture, playing on the televisions of millions of families around the country, in a now almost 100 year long tradition.


The Ethel Waters Show debuts on NBC

Ethel Waters, blues singer and actress, is the first Black performer to star in her own television show. The Ethel Waters Show, a variety special, debuted on NBC on June 14, 1939.

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Broadcast Media Unifies the Nation

From its beginnings, NBC (and its parent company RCA) was investing in the development of television. World War II stalled this, as the nation's resources were devoted to the war effort (including Brigadier General David Sarnoff, founder of NBC who served as General Eisenhower's communications expert). However in this era, some national events did come to life on TV screens – setting the stage for the rise of TV in America.


Abbott and Costello make Universal debut

Burlesque comic duo Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made their debut as Universal stars in 1940 with One Night in the Tropics, the first of 29 films made for the studio. The versatile performers also headlined a radio show on NBC from 1942 to 1947.

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New York's WNBT airs first TV commercial after receiving FCC's first commercial TV station license

On July 1, 1941, WNBT (later to become WNBC) aired the first television commercial. A test pattern equipped with a second hand ticked off a full minute, with the phrase “Bulova Watch Time” visible in the lower right corner of the screen while the “Minute Waltz” played underneath. The spot cost $9.


Meet the Press launches on radio before debuting on television two years later

America is introduced to Meet the Press in 1945 as a radio program on the Mutual Broadcasting System. In 1947, MTP moved to television, building a legacy over the following…

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Howdy Doody and Kraft Television Theatre debut on NBC

NBC debuts the first TV series with a live audience and the first live broadcast of a dramatic TV series

Howdy Doody became one of the first television series to film in front of a live studio audience, with audience members participating from the program's famous "Peanut Gallery". Kraft Television Theatre became the first live dramatic series on TV, with both of these programs filming from studios in 30 Rock. 

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The first televised World Series is broadcast by NBC

The New York Yankees would defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers in 7 games. Nearly 4 million Americans tuned in, more than 3 million of whom watched from their local tavern.


Television ownership hits 1,000,000 after the rise of Milton Berle

Texaco Star Theatre starring Milton Berle on NBC was TV’s first runaway hit. Driven by his success, television ownership increased in 1948 from approximately 175,000 to 1 million by year’s end, setting the stage for a new era of television and a career for Berle spanning 80 years.


NBC begins airing America's first regularly scheduled news broadcast, NBC Television Newsreel

TV also played its first major role in covering a presidential election. Following the success of televising the nominating conventions, NBC debuted its first regularly-scheduled live newscast, Camel News Caravan, in early 1949.


Universal’s Hamlet premieres

Based on William Shakespeare’s iconic play, the production of Hamlet by Universal in association with Arthur Rank of England won Best Picture at the 21st Academy Awards®.

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TV Comes of Age, and NBC Leads the Way

The 1950s saw television become the dominant medium for entertainment and news, with NBC introducing programs that still exist today, like TODAY and The Tonight Show. In 1950, just 9% of U.S. households owned a television set. By the end of the decade, the percentage had skyrocketed to almost 90%. In living rooms across America, the radio was relegated to a corner while the TV moved front and center.

NBC's Dragnet debuts as one of TV's earliest and most successful crime series

NBC's Dragnet debuts as one of TV's earliest and most successful crime series

Dragnet began on NBC in 1949 as a radio show and moved to television two years later. It would run until 1956 and then be revived for a second run from 1967 to 1970. Shown here are the stars of the second version, Harry Morgan and Jack Webb.


TODAY becomes the first network early-morning show, with David Garroway as its first host

This is how Garroway opened the first show. Now, more than 60 years later, millions of people begin their day with Today.

NBC begins first compatible color broadcasts, preceding other networks by nine years

NBC begins first compatible color broadcasts, preceding other networks by nine years

NBC presented an episode of Kukla, Fran, and Ollie on August 30, 1953, as the first publicly announced experimental broadcast in compatible color.

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Universal releases its first 3-D film, It Came From Outer Space

The sci-fi thriller was based on a story by Ray Bradbury. 

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The Tonight Show, TV's first successful late-night talk show, debuts on NBC with Steve Allen as host

Allen originated features of late-night television that are now long familiar to viewers, such as the opening monologue and celebrity interviews. He broadcast the show from the Hudson Theatre on West 44th St. in New York City.

The first TV "spectacular," Satin and Spurs, is shown on NBC

Satin and Spurs paves the way for multiple commercial advertisers during a single program

Yet another programming idea from the fertile imagination of Pat Weaver, the "spectacular" broke with the then-standard custom of airing programs sponsored (and controlled) by a single advertiser, in favor of a program controlled by the network, with commercial time sold to multiple advertisers.


NBC Radio introduces Monitor, a new weekend program service

Monitor was the last of Pat Weaver's innovations for NBC. The series offered an eclectic mix of programming from around the world. A critical and popular success, it ran for 20 years…


A record-breaking 65 million viewers tune in to Peter Pan

Broadcast live and in color on NBC, the live telecast of Peter Panstarring Mary Martin drew a record-breaking estimated audience of 65 million. NBC would again present a live production of Peter Pan 59 years later in December of 2014 with Allison Williams as Peter Pan and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.

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NBC’s peacock logo debuts

To promote NBC’s color programming (and sales of color TV sets made by NBC’s owner, RCA), NBC introduced a brightly-colored eleven-feathered peacock logo and the famous voiceover “The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC.”

Chet Huntley and David Brinkley gain national acclaim for their election coverage and their subsequent Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC

Chet Huntley and David Brinkley gain national acclaim for their election coverage and their subsequent Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC

On the evening newscast, Chet Huntley reported from New York and David Brinkley from Washington. Their closing lines became one of television’s best-known catchphrases: “Goodnight, Chet. Goodnight, David. And goodnight, for NBC News.” 


Nat King Cole is the first major black artist to have his own network series, on NBC

The show was the first national broadcast TV show hosted by a Black person, featuring an array of guest stars and Cole’s on-screen charm.

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NBC debuts Wagon Train and The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, the first television westerns

Wagon Train was one of the first of what became an avalanche of Westerns on TV in the late 1950s. In 1958, there were 31 westerns on prime-time television. Balancing this was the folksy Dinah Shore, with her trademark hand-to-mouth smooch – “mwah!”

Jack Paar becomes host of The Tonight Show on NBC

Jack Paar becomes host of The Tonight Show on NBC

With Paar, the show would relocate to Studio 6B in the RCA Building. In 1960, Paar famously walked off the program in protest to NBC management who had censored a water-closet joke, saying “There must be a better way of making a living than this.” A month later, after having spent a few weeks in Hong Kong trying to calm down, he returned, admitting that he couldn’t find a better way after all.


NBC features the first Spanish prime time star in Xavier Cugat

The Xavier Cugat Show on NBC featured the first Spanish prime time star, Xavier Cugat, introducing Latin American dance music to audiences all over the US.

Bonanza, first TV Western series in color, begins its 14-year run on NBC

Bonanza, the first TV Western series in color, begins its 14-year run on NBC

Bonanza helped color TV set ownership go from virtually nonexistent to more than 50% by 1971.

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Universal Enters the Theme Park Business

The sixties were a transformative era for entertainment. It marked the opening of the first Universal Studios theme park in Hollywood, California. It also ushered in virtually an entire lineup of television in color on NBC, hallmarked by the famous phrase, "The following program is brought to you in living color, on NBC!"


JFK and Nixon face off in the first televised presidential debate

It was through the initiative of NBC that “The Great Debates” between John F. Kennedy and Richard N. Nixon became a reality. Immediately after the nominations, NBC’s Robert W. Sarnoff was first to…

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The first NBC White Paper is produced, beginning a long-running documentary series

The first installment, The U-2 Affair, was about a spy mission in the Soviet Union. Running for more than two decades, the series won universal acclaim for its high journalistic…

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NBC News transforms media with an historic 71 hours of coverage of President John F. Kennedy's assassination and funeral

The president's assassination set a new reporting standard for breaking news coverage. Over 400 newsman and mobile units were used during the 71 hours of coverage.

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Universal’s To Kill a Mockingbird premieres

Gregory Peck starred as the courageous southern lawyer Atticus Finch hailed by the American Film Institute as the Greatest Movie Hero of All Time. Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about innocence, strength and conviction, the film won three Academy Awards®.

NBC Sports televises the Tokyo Olympic Games

NBC Sports broadcasts the first live telecast from Japan to the U.S. with the Tokyo Olympic Games

NBC broadcasted the first live telecast of any kind from Japan to the United States with coverage of the 1964 Summer Olympics. The segments included some live-by-satellite telecasts, as well as same-day coverage.

Universal Studios Tour opens for business

The Universal Studios Tour re-opens for business

The tour, which would eventually grow into the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, was a reincarnation of the original Universal tour that was halted in the late 1920s, when "talkies" became the norm and producers demanded a set free of noise from visitors.


Universal acquires Alfred Hitchock’s Shamley Productions

Through the acquisition of Alfred Hitchcock’s Shamley Productions, Universal acquired the rights to Hitchcock’s historic catalog including Psycho and his various television work along with distribution rights to his earlier classics like Rear Window and Vertigo.

I Dream of Jeannie premieres on NBC

I Dream of Jeannie premieres on NBC

Barbara Eden’s Jeannie famously crossed her arms, nodded her head, and disappeared into a cloud of smoke.  Eden and co-star Larry Hagman captivated audiences with their magical chemistry until 1970.


NBC broadcasts the first-ever Super Bowl

The Green Bay Packers played the Kansas City Chiefs in the first-ever Super Bowl, which NBC broadcasted from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The broadcast had 24.43 million viewers. Today, the Super Bowl is one of the most-viewed sports events, with over 115 million viewers annually.

NBC's Ironside, the popular detective series starring Raymond Burr, debuts

NBC's detective series Ironside debuts, featuring one of the first leading TV characters ever to use a wheelchair

The TV movie of Ironside was such a success that this show was turned into a series.

Groundbreaking comedy Julia debuts on NBC

Groundbreaking comedy Julia debuts on NBC

On Julia, Carroll portrayed a widow and single mother working as a nurse to support her son. The image of a strong, modern, and professional Black woman defied stereotypes and was a revolutionary concept for television during the Civil Rights era.

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NBC airs one of the biggest upsets in sports history: Super Bowl III

Joe Namath and the New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts 16 to 7. In this photo, NBC Sports’ Kyle Rote conducts the postgame interview with a victorious Namath.

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NBC Makes its Mark in Comedy

During the 70s, NBC became the home of comedy with its iconic laugh track heard throughout millions of homes on shows like Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Sanford and Son, and Saturday Night Live.

The Flip Wilson Show debuts on NBC

The Flip Wilson Show debuts on NBC

For the first two years after its debut, The Flip Wilson Show was the number 2 program in the country – and became one of the first American television programs with a Black lead to reach such success. Wilson earned a Golden Globe for his performance and the show garnered two Emmys.

Universal's The Sting premieres

Universal's The Sting premieres

The film, which starred Paul Newman and Robert Redford, captured seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

American Graffiti becomes an instant classic

American Graffiti becomes an instant classic

The coming-of-age film directed by George Lucas was nominated for Best Picture and, earning over $200 million on a budget of $770,000, is considered one of the most profitable films ever. Lucas had unsuccessfully pitched the film to many other studios before agreeing to a deal with Universal Pictures, who was willing to take a gamble that ultimately paid off.

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Universal’s The Sugarland Express premieres

Steven Spielberg's feature film directorial debut, The Sugarland Express, marked the beginning of his enduring partnership with Universal Pictures.

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One of TV's most successful family series, Little House on the Prairie, premieres on NBC

Bonanza veteran Michael Landon starred in and produced the series, which featured Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls Wilder. The show went on to be an iconic program and even led to a movie series.


Saturday Night Live, then known as NBC's Saturday Night, premieres its first season

The show has continued to run ever since, and has had an incredible influence on the television landscape, earning the most Emmy nominations in television history. George Carlin was the first host.


Universal’s Jaws premieres

Steven Spielberg became a household name as Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw battled a great white shark in the seas off of Amity.

NBC's Holocaust miniseries attracts 107 million viewers and wins 21 major awards

NBC's Holocaust miniseries attracts 107 million viewers and wins 21 major awards

The nine-and-a-half hour television event aired over four nights in April of 1978 and starred Michael Moriarty and Meryl Streep.

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Universal’s National Lampoon’s Animal House premieres

Director John Landis and SNL star John Belushi shattered expectations with the low-budget college fraternity film that has since become a comedy classic.

Universal's The Deer Hunter premieres

Universal's The Deer Hunter premieres

The movie, which featured stars Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep, went on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

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The Modern Hollywood Blockbuster

Universal released iconic films like E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, and Back to the Future – ushering in an era of “high concept”, easily marketable filmmaking. In addition, under the creative leadership of president Brandon Tartikoff, NBC became a trailblazer in TV programming with the launch of CNBC in 1989.

Landmark series Hill Street Blues is introduced on NBC

Landmark series Hill Street Blues is introduced on NBC

During the seven-season run, Hill Street Blues won 26 Emmys with 98 Emmy nominations, making the show one of TV's most-honored programs.


NBC Introduces TV's First LGBTQ+ Lead Character

In Love, Sidney, Tony Randall starred as Sidney Shorr, American television's first gay lead character.


Universal releases E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film not only soared to become the highest-grossing film of the year, capturing four Academy Awards® and nine Oscar® nominations including Best Picture, but it also captured the hearts of audiences around the globe.


Bryant Gumbel becomes the first Black morning show anchor on network TV

Bryant Gumbel held a 15-year stint as co-host of NBC’s TODAY, becoming an influential Black voice on network TV and household name.


Tom Brokaw becomes the sole anchor of NBC Nightly News

After assuming his role as head anchor on September 5, 1983, Brokaw went on to cover historic events and conduct groundbreaking one-on-one interviews with notable political leaders of the time. He would continue to serve as anchor and managing editor of NBC’s flagship news broadcast until 2004. 


Universal's Back to the Future premieres

The time-traveling adventure starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd was the highest-grossing film of the year, with $381 million in box-office revenues. The film's popularity sparked fandom across generations, prompting Universal Parks across the world to create simulator rides dedicated to the film.

The Golden Girls debuts on NBC

The Golden Girls debuts on NBC

The breakthrough show showcased the talents of comediennes Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty.  The Golden Girls was a surprise hit, as a sitcom featuring a group of women over the age of fifty was considered an uncertain bet at the time.


Universal's Out of Africa premieres

The film was honored with seven Oscars, including Best Picture.

GE buys RCA for $6.4 billion

GE buys RCA for $6.4 billion

At the time, the deal was the largest non-oil acquisition in U.S. history. Pictured here is GE executive Bob Wright, who was named the new president of NBC.


NBC launches CNBC

NBC's first successful foray into the new cable industry, CNBC was originally called the Consumer News and Business Channel. Today, CNBC is the world’s #1 Business News Media company with content…

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Universal's Field of Dreams premieres

The story about an Iowa farmer inspired to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield became a family favorite across generations. In 2017, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.


The NBC hit sitcom Seinfeld makes its debut with its pilot episode, The Seinfeld Chronicles

The program was a ratings powerhouse for NBC for many seasons, and in 1998, became only the third show ever to finish its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings.


NBC launches The More You Know

The public service campaign addresses pressing social issues across the US like media literacy and food insecurity. The program stars recognizable figures like Steph Curry, John Legend, and more. Since its inception, The More You Know remains a trusted voice in highlighting important conversations.

NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw exclusively covers the fall of the Berlin Wall live

Brokaw was the only television journalist with a live satellite feed from Brandenburg Gate.

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Cable Takes the Lead

In 1990, broadcast networks captured an average audience nearly four times as large as the cable audience. But just a decade years later, cable viewership zoomed past broadcast and never looked back. NBC capitalized on this growth by developing one of the industry’s largest suites of cable networks, covering news, sports, and entertainment. In the themes parks business, the 1990s saw a new park open, a new annual tradition begin, and a rapid expansion of rides and attractions.


Law & Order, the "mother ship" of the successful crime series franchise, makes its debut on NBC

Not only did Law & Order serve as a staple in NBC's primetime lineup for two decades, it was renewed for a 22nd season in 2021. The popularity of the program, which features plots resembling aspects of real cases, lead to multiple spinoffs including Special Victims Unit and Organized Crime.

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Universal Studios Florida Opens

On June 7th, 1990, Universal Studios Florida opened with rides and attractions featuring notable fan favorites including E.T. Adventure, a ride designed in collaboration with director Steven Spielberg. The park's success led to expansions throughout Florida, including the opening of Islands of Adventure in 1999.


NBC Sports begins broadcasting NBA on NBC

NBC was synonymous with the NBA in the 1990s – and what a glorious era of basketball that decade was, largely due to the presence of Michael Jordan. From the infamous “Flu Game” in the 1997 NBA Finals and his legendary last shot as a member of the Chicago Bulls to capture his sixth and final NBA title a year later, Jordan’s ascension from All-Star to MVP to NBA champion and, finally, to arguably the greatest basketball player ever, was firmly captured on none other than NBC.

Tim Russert becomes the ninth moderator for Meet the Press

Tim Russert begins 17-year tenure on Meet the Press

Russert, a top-notch interviewer, would expertly grill Washington’s most powerful politicians during his 17-year tenure as host, the longest in the show’s history. His interviews were so compelling that Meet the Press eventually expanded to an hour-long format in 1992.

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Halloween Horror Nights debuts at Universal Orlando Resort 

Established in 1991 under the name “Fright Nights,” the beloved Halloween attraction began as a single haunted house, later renamed “Halloween Horror Nights." Since then, each Universal destination around the world has developed a unique Halloween experience that invites guests to have fun with fear.


NBC Sports begins partnership with Notre Dame Football

NBC Sports has broadcasted all Notre Dame Football home games since September 7, 1991 – a unique partnership 33 seasons running. During that time, the Fighting Irish have remained one of the most iconic and well-known brands in college sports.


Jay Leno makes his debut as the host of The Tonight Show

Leno, who frequently appeared on The Tonight Show during the Johnny Carson era, debuted as host in May of 1992.  The well-publicized transition between Carson and Leno was rocky, but Leno quickly became a late-night staple with his everyman humor and popular bits like “Headlines” and “Jaywalking.”

Universal Studio’s CityWalk opens

Universal Studio’s Hollywood CityWalk opens

CityWalk expanded Universal Studios Hollywood with a three-block entertainment, dining, and shopping promenade.

Universal's Jurassic Park premieres

With more than $1 billion in global box-office receipts, Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park is one of the most successful films in history. The show went on to inspire a ride at Islands of…

Universal and Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List premieres

Universal's Schindler's List premieres

The film was yet another successful release from Steven Spielberg and Universal Pictures, winning seven Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Director. Schindler’s List tells the incredible true story of Oskar Schindler who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. 

Blockbuster hit ER premieres on Thursday nights on NBC

Blockbuster hit ER premieres on Thursday nights on NBC

ER ran on NBC for 15 seasons. The hit TV series received 124 Emmy nominations, making it one of the most-nominated shows in history.

Landmark NBC comedy Friends premieres on Thursday nights

Iconic comedy Friends premieres on Thursday nights on NBC

The series ran for ten seasons and received 62 Emmy nominations, including a win for Outstanding Comedy Series. The fan-favorite show is one of history's most popular sitcoms, with its characters enjoyed across all generations. 


NBC and Microsoft launch MSNBC

The 24-hour news and information cable network combined with an interactive online service to create a new model of television and Internet integration.


NBC solidifies its status as the home of the Olympics

The Games of the XXVI Olympiad took place in Atlanta, marking the third straight Summer Olympics telecast for NBC. NBC continued to acquire Olympics broadcast rights, and has aired every Summer…

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attracting over 76 million viewers

Seinfeld airs its final episode on NBC, attracting over 76 million viewers

The finale, which included the shows main characters ending up in prison, garnered strong reactions from fans and critics. It was the fourth most watched overall series finale in the U.S at the time.

Will & Grace

Will & Grace, a groundbreaking show for LGBTQ+ representation, premieres on NBC

It was a staple on NBC’s Must See TV Thursday night lineup, winning 18 Primetime Emmy Awards while breaking barriers and advancing exposure of LGBTQ+ storylines to American audiences. In 2012, Joe Biden said the series “probably did more to educate the American public” on the LGBTQ+ community than anything else.

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Universal Studios Florida expands to become Universal Orlando Resort

After the successful opening of Universal Studios Florida in 1990, Universal opened its second park, Islands of Adventure, along with the Portofino Bay Hotel and the CityWalk entertainment complex in 1999. These major developments were just the start of Universal Studios' continuous growth.

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The Digital Revolution

At the turn of the century, the American public could tune in to just about anything from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. This revolution made the new century an exciting age for content and technology. For media companies like NBC, these changes brought incredible opportunities for innovation. In 2004, NBC and Universal merged to form NBCUniversal.


NBC broadcasts the XXVII Olympiad from Sydney

NBC would air 441.5 hours of taped coverage on NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC, attracting a total of 185 million viewers. NBC’s coverage garnered 10 Emmy Awards. In an electriying 400m sprinting event,…


Universal’s Gladiator premieres

Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, the global blockbuster Gladiator reinvented the sword-and-sandal genre and won five Oscars® including Best Picture at the 73rd Academy Awards®.


Grand Opening of Universal Studios Japan

The first Universal theme park in Asia, Universal Studios Japan shattered attendance records worldwide, reaching 1 million visitors just 37 days after opening, faster than any theme park in history.


Universal's Fast & Furious premieres

Over the course of eleven films that have stoked passion in an ever-expanding audience and have earned more than $7 billion at the worldwide box office, Universal Pictures’ record-smashing, homegrown Fast & Furious Saga has become one of the studio’s most-profitable and longest-running franchise.


NBC acquires Telemundo

NBC expanded its Spanish-language content with the acquisition of Telemundo. Over the last 20+ years, Telemundo has delivered news, entertainment and sports across platforms, becoming the number one Spanish-language content powerhouse.


Bravo joins NBC

The addition of Bravo gave NBC a leading entertainment cable network that could reach more audiences across the country.

The XIX Olympic Winter Games is held in Salt Lake City

This marked NBC's first coverage of the Olympic Winter Games since 1972. The Games were the second-most-watched Winter Games in history, attracting 187 million American viewers.  During the…

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focus features

Focus Features Formed

Since forming in 2002, Focus Features has earned more than 140 Academy Award® Nominations with 14 of those being Best Picture. Their catalog includes nearly 200 movies including Promising Young Woman, Lost in Translation, Milk, The Kids Are All Right, BlacKkKlansman, Phantom Thread, Darkest Hour, Atonement, A Serious Ma, Dallas Buyers Club, The Theory Of Everything and Belfast.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy debuts on Bravo

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy debuts on Bravo

The makeover show became a smash hit and transformed Bravo into a pop culture trendsetter. In 2023, the show celebrated 20 years of pushing boundaries for diversity and representation.

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Universal becomes the first studio with five summer releases breaking the $100 million mark

The summer hits were Bruce Almighty2 Fast 2 FuriousHulkSeabiscuit, and American Wedding.

The Office

NBC's The Office premieres

The sitcom went on to find a massive audience and critical success, winning multiple Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globe awards. After its run, the show became a hit on multiple streaming platforms, including Peacock, and continued to find new fans from younger audiences.

Focus Features showcases groundbreaking LGBTQ+ representation with Brokeback Mountain

The movie grossed over $178 million worldwide against its $14 million budget and won three Academy Awards in addition to the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release.


NBC kicks off coverage of the Winter Olympics from Torino, Italy

The company's networks would broadcast an unprecedented 416 hours of programming.  American speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno captured the gold in the 500m event.


The Real Housewives of Orange County premieres on Bravo

In 2006, Bravo premiered the first iteration of its franchise with The Real Housewives of Orange County. The success led to more than 25 total spinoffs in New York, Atlanta, New Jersey, Beverly Hills, Miami, and more – garnering a massive fan base.


As part of a record-breaking deal, the NFL returns to NBC for the first time since the 1997 season, debuting the iconic Sunday Night Football brand

NBC's debut broadcast was the Thursday-night season-opener between the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins.


30 Rock premieres on NBC

Starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, the critically acclaimed comedy would dominate the awards landscape during the next few seasons, winning multiple Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globe awards.

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USA Network begins 13-year streak as #1 cable network in total viewers

Thanks to Blue Sky series such as Suits, White Collar, Royal Pains and Burn Notice, USA dominated the basic cable landscape.


NBC Sports begins airing NHL games with NHL on NBC

Running until 2021, NHL on NBC included broadcasts of multiple Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals and, starting in 2008, created and presented the NHL Winter Classic – an annual outdoor hockey game played in a football or baseball stadium.


Universal Pictures enters a deal with Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment, a new film animation studio

Illumination is one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of event-animated films. Illumination’s iconic, beloved franchises—infused with memorable and distinct characters, global appeal and cultural relevance—have grossed more than $8 billion worldwide.


NBC Broadcasts the Summer Olympic Games from Beijing

At the time, the Games was the most-watched television event in U.S. history, with 215 million Americans tuning in. Swimming phenomenon Michael Phelps made history by becoming the most successful…

Michael Phelps _100 Fly (1)

Rachel Maddow becomes the first openly lesbian anchor to host a major prime-time news program with the launch of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC

She went on to win numerous awards, including a Gracie Allen Award for Individual Achievement.

Top Chef

Top Chef premieres on Bravo

Top Chef has since become one of television's most popular unscripted competition shows, recently celebrating its milestone 20th season. The series has won multiple Emmys, James Beard and Critics' Choice Awards.

Parks & Rec

Parks and Recreation premieres on NBC

With a beloved ensemble cast led by Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler, the hit comedy show aired for seven seasons, receiving 14 Emmy nominations and helping launch the careers of Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt (star of Universal’s Jurassic World), and comedian Nick Offerman.

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The Age of Comcast

Comcast completed its acquisition of NBCUniversal in January 2011. The years since have seen an unprecedented level of investment in the company’s core businesses, a clear sign that Comcast is committed to making NBCUniversal a global leader among media and entertainment companies.


NBCUniversal begins coverage of the Winter Olympics from Vancouver, Canada

With more than 835 hours of coverage on six platforms, NBCUniversal would offer more hours than the last two Winter Olympics combined.  U.S. snowboarder Shaun White scored the gold medal in…

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Illumination’s Despicable Me premieres

The debut film from Illumination launched one of the most successful animated film franchise in cinematic history with more than $4.4 billion globally to date.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter debuts at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure

This themed area opened and quickly became a global sensation, bringing tourists from all over the world to experience the Wizarding World and is considered an industry game changer.

The Voice debuts on NBC

The Voice debuts on NBC

The first season of the blockbuster vocal competition featured coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, and CeeLo Green. The show’s innovative format includes four stages of competition: blind auditions, battle rounds, knockouts, and live performance shows.  Since debuting in 2011, The Voice has become a staple of NBC’s primetime lineup.


NBC Sports merges with the GOLF Channel

After NBCUniversal was acquired by Comcast (who owned GOLF Channel), NBC sports merged directly with GOLF Channel, a 24-hour television network dedicated to covering the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, PGA TOUR Champions, DP World Tour, and more. Since then, GOLF Channel has continued to air hundreds of hours of live golf tournament coverage and analysis each year.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Grand Opening

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem opens at Universal Studios Florida

Illumination Entertainment worked alongside Universal Creative to create a new storyline and animation for this 3D adventure, featuring characters voiced by the actors from the hit movie.

The London Olympics are watched by 219 million Americans on the channels of NBCUniversal

These Olympic Games were the most-watched event in U.S. history. Volleyball duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings won their third consecutive gold medal in their final match as a team.…


Telemundo Launches the "Super Series" Format

With action-oriented dramas designed as a reinvention of the traditional telenovela, SuperSeries™ like “El Senor de Los Cielos” (“The Lord of the Skies”) use a multiple-season model, shorter episode format, and edgier action-packed contemporary stories ripped from the headlines.

Universal Pictures crosses the $2 billion mark at the international box office for the first time in the studio's 101-year history

Universal Pictures crosses the $2 billion mark at the international box office for the first time in the studio's 101-year history

Only four months after crossing the $1 billion mark at the international box office, Universal crossed the $2 billion mark for the first time. The success of Fast & Furious 6 and Despicable Me 2 drove these milestones.

the purge

Universal’s The Purge premieres

Blumhouse’s infamous terror franchise kicked off Universal’s relationship with Blumhouse Productions which has produced successful films including the record-breaking reboot of the Halloween franchise, Happy Death Day and M3GAN.

Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers debut on NBC

A new era begins as Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers carry on the tradition by debuting the current version of NBC late night.

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics reach more Americans via more platforms than any other Winter Olympics in history

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics reach more Americans via more platforms than any other Winter Olympics in history

The Sochi games generated 242.3 million media exposures across NBCUniversal platforms. The NBC broadcast network, four cable channels,, the NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Olympics Highlights and Results app drove NBCUniversal to the milestone.

NBCUniversal reaches a new long-term deal with World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

NBCUniversal reaches a new long-term deal with World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

The agreement made sure that WWE's biggest stars could be watched across NBCUniversal's cable networks, including the run of Raw on USA, SmackDown on Syfy and Total Divas on E! 

Universal Studios Florida unveils The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley opens at Universal Studios Florida

Diagon Alley doubled the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter's adventures at Universal Orlando - creating the world's first centrally-themed, multi-park experience.

Super Bowl

Super Bowl XLIX on NBC is the most-watched show in U.S. television history

More than 114 million viewers tuned in to NBC to watch the New England Patriots come from behind to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, giving the telecast the biggest audience in the history of U.S. television at the time.

Universal sets global box-office records

Universal becomes the first studio to have three $1 billion movies in a single year

Jurassic World, Furious 7 and Minions led the historic box-office year, also making Universal the first-ever studio to reach $4 billion at the international box office and $6 billion worldwide.


Fandango grows as a global destination for movie lovers

Fandango made multiple key acquisitions in 2016 that further invested in on-demand video and ticketing, expanding its role as the go-to destination for all things film all around the world. The acquisitions of Flixster, Rotten Tomatoes, Cinepapaya (later rebranded as Fandango Latin America), and FandangoNOW significantly expanded Fandango's global offerings.

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NBC’s This Is Us premieres

Following a trailer that broke viewing records, the pilot was seen by 50 million viewers. The show, which centered on the Pearson family, ran for six seasons and was beloved by critics and fans alike.


NBCUniversal acquires DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks Animation brought NBCUniversal its iconic family entertainment portfolio with film franchises such as Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. 

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Mr. Robot delivers USA Network its first Emmy nomination and win for a drama series

The hit show gained a cult following and won the Emmy award for Oustanding Drama Series. 

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MSNBC has its most-watched year ever

MSNBC hit its stride in 2016, attracting its biggest audience since its 1996 debut, with all-time highs in multiple dayparts, thanks to key shows such as Morning Joe, The Rachel Maddow Show, and more.

SNL Finale 42

In its 42nd season, SNL sees its ratings soar to a 23-year high

The year’s hot political climate boosted SNL viewership to an average of 11 million viewers per episode. The show’s trenchant take on presidential politics helped it secure 22 Emmy nominations.

Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay opens at Universal Orlando Resort

With its innovative technology, such as a wearable device that lets visitors virtually wait in line while enjoying other areas of the park, Volcano Bay set a new standard for water theme parks. The park’s 18 unique attractions deploy more than 10,000 linear feet of track, with the highest vertical drop coming in at 125 feet.

Get Out

Get Out premieres

Filmmaker Jordan Peele disrupted and redefined modern horror with Get Out, which won him the Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay. Peele’s directorial debut marked the beginning of his partnership with Universal, which continued with Us (2019) and Nope (2022).

Savannah & Hoda

Hoda Kotb named TODAY co-anchor

Joining Savannah Guthrie, this marked the first time TODAY was led by two female anchors. 

Goooal! for Telemundo

Telemundo's First FIFA World Cup

Telemundo Deportes gets the exclusive Spanish-language broadcast rights to the FIFA World Cup for the first time ever, setting the network up for record-breaking ratings in the Men’s and Women’s tournaments ahead. Seen here, iconic announcer Andrés Cantor.

green book

Green Book premieres

Starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, Green Book received 3 Oscars®, including Best Picture, at the 91st Academy Awards®.

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Telemundo Opens its New Global Headquarters in Miami, FL

The $250M state-of-the-art facility sits on 21 acres and 15 studios housing Telemundo Network, Telemundo Deportes, Noticias Telemundo, Universo cable channel, Telemundo Studios and Telemundo International.


Fans flood the first-ever Bravocon

An interactive experience for the unprecedented, Bravo-obsessed fandom, BravoCon featured live performances, insider panels, unique activations, and meet-and-greets. The inaugural event was a rousing success, kicking off a record-breaking tradition.


Universal Parks & Resorts announces Universal’s Epic Universe

The fourth theme park in Universal Orlando will take guests on a journey where beloved stories expand into vibrant lands, and will also feature an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more.


The Kelly Clarkson Show debuts on NBC

Grammy Award-winning superstar Kelly Clarkson launched her daytime talk show on NBC featuring remarkable stories, celebrity guests, humor, heart and music. The show has gone on to win multiple Daytime Emmy Awards.

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Embracing Change

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, NBCUniversal faces new challenges – and comes together to create new opportunities. NBCUniversal's industry leadership and innovation continues to propel us into the future – bringing new programs to screens through the rise of streaming, and providing new experiences in parks across the globe.


Universal Pictures releases the much-anticipated Trolls World Tour via Premium Video On-Demand

With many movie theaters closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NBCUniversal’s pivot to on-demand video allowed viewers to rent or buy movies early. It revolutionized in-home entertainment and has driven over $1 billion in revenue since its launch.


NBCUniversal Launches Peacock

Peacock officially launches and brings NBCUniversal into a new era of streaming. With breakout originals, live sports and news, and a robust library of fan favorite series and films, Peacock has gives audiences a singular, effortless destination for premium content.



Peacock streams the Tokyo Games

NBCUniversal integrated Peacock streaming into Olympic coverage, presenting a special "Tokyo Now" channel during the 2020 Summer Games.


Super Nintendo World opens at Universal Studios Japan

The themed land brings to life Nintendo’s legendary worlds, characters and adventures allowing guest to play inside their favorite games.

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The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash debuts at Universal Studios Hollywood

The dark ride containing 64 robotic animal figurines allows the guests to have fun and appreciate animal personalities and companionship.


Universal Beijing Resort Opens

Universal Beijing Resort includes the Universal Studios Beijing theme park, CityWalk Beijing, and two hotels. Guests can enjoy 37 rides and attractions in seven themed lands, 24 shows and performances in the resort all day long. It is the first theme park destination in the world to achieve the LEED Gold Community Certification.

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox is named red carpet host of Live from E!

E! tapped Emmy Award-winning actor and producer Laverne Cox to lead the network's signature red carpet coverage beginning with the 2022 award season.


NBCUniversal and the Big Ten Conference announce landmark 7-year agreement

In the partnership, NBC and Peacock became the exclusive home of Big Ten Saturday Night Football, as well as men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports, golf, and more This marks the first time ever that Big Ten Football has a dedicated weekly primetime game on a national broadcast network.


Jordan Peele’s hit film Nope comes to life at Universal Studios Hollywood

The actual set of Jupiter’s Claim, the fictional theme park featured in the film, was disassembled and transported to Universal Studios, creating a creepy and mysterious stop on the Universal Studio Tour.

peacock winter

Peacock serves as the streaming home of the 2022 Winter Olympics

For the first time, fans were able to stream every event from the Winter Olympics live on Peacock. Coverage included NBC's nightly primetime show, full competition replays, exclusive daily studio programming, extensive highlight clips, original documentary series, and more.

poker face

Poker Face drives onto Peacock, winning critics and fans alike

Poker Face premiered to rave ratings from fans and critics alike, quickly scoring a second season renewal and four Primetime Emmy nominations, including one for Natasha Lyonne's starring performance as human lie detector Charlie Cale.


Super Nintendo World opens at Universal Studios Hollywood

The land opened in Universal Studios Hollywood, featuring multiple installations that immerse fans into the world of Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach.


Nightly News celebrates its 75th anniversary

The nation’s first regularly scheduled evening newscast aired on NBC in 1948, and today averages nearly 7 million viewers annually.


Universal Parks & Resorts rebrands to Universal Destinations & Experiences

This rebrand better reflects the full breadth of innovative offerings Universal brings to fans around the globe and its intent to continue to expand its business in the future. The name change also signals how the company is diversifying by bringing Universal branded entertainment, culinary, gaming and consumer product experiences to life in unique and creative ways for new audiences, in new places, and on new platforms in both the physical and virtual worlds.


Universal Destinations & Experiences announces a new kids park in Texas and a permanent horror experience in Las Vegas

Universal Destinations & Experiences expanded their portfolio to include Frisco, Texas and Las Vegas, Nevada, reaching mid-size markets in North America. The first-ever permanent horror experience in Las Vegas is called Universal Horror Unleashed.


The Super Mario Bros Movie becomes the second highest grossing animated movie of all time

The movie generated $1.3B in worldwide box office receipts and brought fans across the world to see the beloved characters in action. 


Oppenheimer breaks box office records

Christopher Nolan’s epic Oppenheimer breaks box office records as the #1 biopic of all time with over $900 million worldwide.


Minion Land opens at Universal Orlando Resort

The new land expanded upon the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction and debuted a new collection of experiences for guests of all ages inspired by the Minions franchise.

Five Night's at Freddy

Five Nights at Freddy's tops the box office and the streaming charts

Five Nights at Freddy's premieres #1 at the box office and the top film across streaming, demonstrating the power of NBCUniversal to engage audiences.