Live television is a television production broadcast in real-time, as events happen, in the present. In a secondary meaning, it may refer to streaming television over the internet. In most cases live programming is not being recorded as it is shown on TV, but rather was not rehearsed or edited and is being shown only as it was recorded prior to being aired. Shows broadcast live include newscasts, morning shows, awards shows, sports programs, reality programs and, occasionally, episodes of scripted television series.
Live television was more common until the late 1950s, when videotape technology was invented. Because of the prohibitive cost, adoption was slow, and some television shows remained live until the 1970s, such as soap operas. To prevent unforeseen issues, live television programs may be delayed, which allows censors to edit the program. Some programs may be broadcast live in certain time zones and delayed in others.
From the early days of television until about 1958, live television was used heavily, except for filmed shows such as I Love Lucy and Gunsmoke. Although videotape was invented in 1956, it cost $300 per one hour reel (equivalent to $2,765 in 2018) meaning it was only very gradually adopted. Some genres, such as soap operas, did not completely abandon live broadcasts until the mid-1970s.
In general, a live television program was more common for broadcasting content produced specifically for commercial television in the early years of the medium, before technologies such as video tape appeared. As video tape recorders (VTR) became more prevalent, many entertainment programs were recorded and edited before broadcasting rather than being shown live.
Television networks provide most live television for morning shows with television programs such as: Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, This Morning, etc. broadcast live in the UK; Sunrise live in Australia; Canada AM live in Canada; and Today, Good Morning America, and CBS This Morning in the U.S., which air live only in the Eastern Time Zone. The only exceptions are CBS This Morning - Saturday and Sunday Today with Willie Geist, which air live in the Eastern and Central time zones. Spanish-language morning shows (such as Despierta America and Un Nuevo Día), unlike their English speaking counterparts, air live in across the mainland U.S. except for viewers in the Pacific time zone, which, along with viewers in Hawaii and Alaska, have tape-delayed shows.
A few daytime talk shows in the U.S. broadcast live before a studio audience in select time zones. Shows such as Live with Kelly and Ryan and the Wendy Williams Show air live in the Eastern time zone only, while shows such as ABC's The View air live in the Eastern and Central time zones. The Talk on CBS airs live in the Eastern and Central time zones Monday through Thursday. A separate program is taped on Thursday afternoon for airing on Friday. Affiliates in the remaining time zones air these programs on a tape delay. Most other daytime talk shows and late night programs are taped before a live studio audience earlier in the day and edited for later broadcast.
Major entertainment events, such as award shows and beauty pageants, are often broadcast live in primetime hours based on U.S. East Coast's schedule. In the 21st century, reality competition franchises began to emerge (such as, in the United States, American Idol and Dancing With The Stars), where viewers could vote for their favorite acts featured in live performances, but Idol, as of 2019, is the only reality competition series to have broadcast live in all U.S. territories at the same time.
Scheduling of live entertainment programming may be complicated in countries that span multiple time zones, such as Mexico, Canada and the United States, where programming is aired live in the easternmost time zones, but may be delayed in order to air in local primetime hours in western markets (although in the last decade, Canada and Mexico have regularly televised virtually all major live events simultaneously across all of their territories).
Historically, live global sports and breaking international news programming are usually broadcast live in all time zones worldwide. Several award shows began to air live in all time zones worldwide in order to avert the need to avoid "spoilers" via the internet and social media outlets in the onset of the latter's rise in the late 2000s. For decades, the Academy Awards have continuously broadcast live in Alaska and both U.S. coasts. The Golden Globe Awards and the Billboard Music Awards are broadcast live across the continental U.S. region, while the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Grammy Awards are, in recent years, aired live in all territories in the U.S.
Most local television station newscasts are broadcast live in the U.S. as they are an essential medium for providing up-to-the-minute weather forecasts and breaking news stories. Broadcast television networks in the United States typically air their evening newscasts live in the Eastern and Central time zones. A separate "Western Edition" is broadcast to viewers in the Pacific Time Zone. When a major breaking news event occurs, whether nationally or globally, broadcast television networks will break into regularly scheduled programming and will televise a live "special report" in all time zones. Local television stations break into regularly scheduled programming in the event of severe weather warnings or major local breaking news stories that occur within their viewing area.
Cable news outlets (such as CNN and Fox News Channel) air continuous live programming during the day, and air rebroadcasts of earlier live shows during the late night hours, except in cases where breaking news occurs. The PBS NewsHour airs live on PBS stations in the Eastern Time Zone. Sunday morning news programs in the USA such as Meet The Press on NBC, This Week on ABC, and Fox News Sunday air live in the Eastern Time Zone (including a limited number of small markets in the Central Time Zone), while CBS Sunday Morning and Face The Nation on CBS air live in the Eastern and Central time zones.
Cable outlets (such as CNN and Fox News Channel) incorporate the word LIVE in their network logo (also known as a digital on-screen graphic) when those networks broadcast live content. Some (but not all) sports cable networks will opt to insert the word LIVE somewhere on the corner of the screen. With the exception of special breaking news reports and overseas sporting events, broadcast television networks rarely display such a graphic during its live programming. (although NBC did display the word LIVE next to their logo during its Olympic coverage when live content was being broadcast, a practice that is being continued by its sister station: NBCSN)
Local television station newscasts display time and temperature during their broadcasts, and only display the word LIVE when they air a news report or a live shot on location. Some networks have begun to insert (in addition to the word LIVE) the local time of where that news report is originating from, particularly when that report is airing live via satellite from overseas.
As of the current decade, major sporting events like the Super Bowl, World Cup and Olympic Games have been broadcast entirely live in all U.S. territories, encompassing both prime time hours of both U.S. coasts, simultaneous with the live global telecasts of these events in accordance with the official international broadcasters of such games.
Other events that air live all across U.S. territories include multi-network coverage of U.S. presidential and congressional elections, U.S. presidential inaugurations, the State of the Union Address, presidential news conferences, Presidential Addresses to the Nation, the Tournament of Roses Parade, and funerals of major national or international public and religious figures. Local television stations air live local election coverage and special events, such as large scale parades, big city marathons, funerals of major local public and religious figures, inauguration ceremonies of big city mayors and governors, installation masses of cardinals or bishops in a major Catholic archdiocese, and pep rallies for a major sports team. In the UK, events such as the State Opening of Parliament are broadcast live.
Live television is often used as a device, even in scripted programming to take advantage of these often to great success in terms of attracting viewers. The NBC live comedy/variety program Saturday Night Live, for example, has been on that network continuously since 1975 and airs live in the Eastern and Central zones (including the Pacific and Mountain zones beginning 2017 in its transition to its first live season all across the continental U.S. beginning 2018) during the show's season which runs from October though May.
On September 25, 1997, NBC aired two separate live broadcasts (for viewers in both U.S. coasts) of an episode of ER, which at the time ranked as the most watched episode of any U.S. medical drama program ever. Many television news programs, particularly local news ones in North America, have also used live television as a device to gain audience viewers by making their programs appear more exciting. With technologies such as production trucks, satellite truck uplinks, a news reporter can report live "on location" from anywhere where a story is happening in the city. This technique has attracted criticism for its overuse (like minor car accidents which often have no injuries) and resulting tendency to make stories appear more urgent than they actually are.
The unedited nature of live television can pose problems for broadcasters because of the potential for mishaps, such as anchors being interrupted or harassed by bystanders shouting profane phrases. In 2015, a female CityNews journalist confronted a group of young men who had used the phrase; one of them later lost his job after he was identified. Channels often broadcast live programs on a slight delay (usually on single-digit seconds only) to give them the ability to censor words and images while keeping the broadcast as "live" as possible.
Many events have happened on live television broadcasts that are well-remembered, sometimes because they were part of a major breaking news story already, and always because they happened unexpectedly and before audiences of thousands or millions of viewers.
Although all programs were once live, the use of video tape means that very few television programs in the modern era have ever attempted such a feat. In the U.S., soap operas including As the World Turns and The Edge of Night were broadcast live until 1975.
On rare occasions, a scripted series will do an episode live to attract ratings. In the U.S. and Canada, the episode is occasionally performed twice: once for the east coast which is composed of the Eastern Time Zone and Central Time Zone and again three hours later for the west coast which is composed of the Mountain Time Zone and the Pacific Time Zone unless they have Dish Network or Direct TV who provides the live feed in all states. The most recent scripted series to air all live episodes was Undateable on NBC during its third season, which aired from October 2015 until January 2016.
Notable examples of shows that have had a live episode include:
Since 2000, there have been a number of special films broadcast live. These include the remakes of Fail Safe (2000) and The Quatermass Experiment (2005). Some recent examples of live episodic TV series include shows such as Melissa and Joey (2010), Whitney (2011) and Undateable (2014).
A live television advertisement was shown for the first time in 40 years to celebrate the arrival of the new Honda Accord in the United Kingdom. It was broadcast on Channel Four on 29 May 2008 at 20:10 during a special episode of 'Come Dine With Me'. The ad featured skydivers forming the letters of the word Honda over Spain.
Many live television specials were telecast during the pre-videotape era. Among the most successful were the 1955 and 1956 telecasts of Peter Pan, a 1954 musical adaptation of J. M. Barrie's 1904 play, starring Mary Martin, and Cyril Ritchard. This was such a hit that the show was restaged and rebroadcast (this time on videotape) with the same two stars and most of the rest of the cast in 1960, and rerun several times after that. The Peter Pan telecasts marked the first-ever telecasts of a complete Broadway musical with most of its original cast.
On December 5, 2013, NBC broadcast a live television special called The Sound of Music Live! starring Carrie Underwood. This program aired live in the Eastern and Central time zones, and was the first television musical special to air live on NBC in almost fifty years.
The 1996 Monaco Grand Prix (formally the LIV Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco) was a Formula One motor race held at Monaco on 19 May 1996. It was the sixth race of the 1996 Formula One season. The race was run in wet weather, causing significant attrition and setting a record for the fewest cars (three) to be running at the end of a Grand Prix race. Olivier Panis scored his sole career Formula One victory, earning the last ever Formula One victory for the Ligier team, and the first ever for engine manufacturer Mugen Motorsports, after switching to slick tyres in a well-timed pitstop. Johnny Herbert scored his only points of the season.After Trek
After Trek is a live American aftershow in which host Matt Mira discusses episodes of the CBS All Access television series Star Trek: Discovery with guests, including celebrity fans, cast members, and crew from the series. It is produced by Embassy Row in association with Roddenberry Entertainment.
Inspired by previous aftershows created by Embassy Row, such as Talking Dead and Talking Bad, episodes of After Trek are released on All Access after each episode of Discovery is released. This started with that show's premiere on September 24, 2017, and ran through to its season finale on February 11, 2018. In January 2019, it was announced After Trek had been canceled and was being replaced by The Ready Room, an interview program hosted by Naomi Kyle that CBS was distributing via Facebook Live and YouTube.After the Thrones
After the Thrones is an American live television aftershow that premiered on April 25, 2016, and ended on June 28, 2016. It was hosted by Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan who discussed episodes of the HBO television series Game of Thrones. The talk show is executive produced by Bill Simmons and Eric Weinberger. Greenwald and Ryan previously hosted a podcast version of the show titled Watch the Thrones on Simmons' Grantland website. A similar talk show called Thronecast airs on British channel Sky Atlantic, which also discusses episodes of Game of Thrones.
The talk show was made available to HBO and HBO Now subscribers, and airs on the Monday following each episode of Game of Thrones. After the show's cancellation, Greenwald and Ryan, along with Simmons, made a similar live stream video podcast for distribution on Twitter called Talk the Thrones. Although it covers the same subject matter, it is a different production.Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is an American award that recognizes excellence in the television industry, and is the equivalent of an Academy Award (for film), the Tony Award (for theater), and the Grammy Award (for music).Because Emmys are given in various sectors of the American television industry, they are presented in different annual ceremonies held throughout the year. The two events that receive the most media coverage are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards, which recognize outstanding work in American primetime and daytime entertainment programming, respectively. Other notable Emmy Award ceremonies are those honoring national sports programming, national news and documentary shows, national business and financial reporting, and technological and engineering achievements in television, including the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards. Regional Emmy Awards are also presented throughout the country at various times through the year, recognizing excellence in local and statewide television. In addition, International Emmys are awarded for excellence in TV programming produced and initially aired outside the United States.
Three related, but separate, organizations present the Emmy Awards: the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (IATAS). Each is responsible for administering a particular set of Emmy ceremonies.Ford Theatre
Ford Theatre, spelled Ford Theater for the radio version and known as Ford Television Theatre for the TV version, is a radio and television anthology series broadcast in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s. At various times the television series appeared on all three major television networks, while the radio version was broadcast on two separate networks and on two separate coasts. Ford Theatre was named for its sponsor, the Ford Motor Company, which had an earlier success with its concert music series, The Ford Sunday Evening Hour (1934–42).List of Xbox 360 applications
Xbox 360 applications are non-game software applications designed to run on the Xbox 360 platform. Xbox 360 applications can either be stored on the console's hard disk drive or on a USB flash drive. Often, an Xbox Live Gold membership is also required to access some applications, as well as subscriptions correspondent to the applications. Some of these applications are country specific.List of live television plays broadcast on ABC (1950–1969)
The following is a list of live "television plays" broadcast on Australian broadcaster ABC during the 1950s. Some were produced in Sydney (on ABN-2), and some were produced in Melbourne (on ABV-2). Most of the Sydney productions were kinescoped so they could be shown in Melbourne, and vice versa. It is not known how many of these kinescope recordings still exist.
Most of the live television plays presented on ABC during the 1950s were adaptations of overseas stage plays, or new versions of works originally aired on BBC television. A few, however, were locally-written. This list mainly consists of drama and/or comedy productions, but also includes several opera presentations.Lux Video Theatre
Lux Video Theatre is an American television anthology series that was produced from 1950 until 1957. The series presented both comedy and drama in original teleplays, as well as abridged adaptations of films and plays.MTV Live (U.S. TV program)
MTV Live is an American television program that aired from 1997 to 1998 on MTV, featuring interviews with celebrity guests, live musical performances, news coverage, and music video premieres.Multiple-camera setup
The multiple-camera setup, multiple-camera mode of production, multi-camera or simply multicam is a method of filmmaking and video production. Several cameras—either film or professional video cameras—are employed on the set and simultaneously record or broadcast a scene. It is often contrasted with single-camera setup, which uses one camera.
Generally, the two outer cameras shoot close-up shots or "crosses" of the two most active characters on the set at any given time, while the central camera or cameras shoot a wider master shot to capture the overall action and establish the geography of the room. In this way, multiple shots are obtained in a single take without having to start and stop the action. This is more efficient for programs that are to be shown a short time after being shot as it reduces the time spent in film or video editing. It is also a virtual necessity for regular, high-output shows like daily soap operas. Apart from saving editing time, scenes may be shot far more quickly as there is no need for re-lighting and the set-up of alternative camera angles for the scene to be shot again from the different angle. It also reduces the complexity of tracking continuity issues that crop up when the scene is reshot from the different angles. It is an essential part of live television.
Drawbacks include a less optimized lighting which needs to provide a compromise for all camera angles and less flexibility in putting the necessary equipment on scene, such as microphone booms and lighting rigs. These can be efficiently hidden from just one camera but can be more complicated to set up and their placement may be inferior in a multiple-camera setup. Another drawback is in film usage—a four-camera setup may use (depending on the cameras involved) up to four times as much film (or storage space for digital) per take, compared with a single-camera setup.
While shooting, the director and assistant director create a line cut by instructing the technical director (or vision mixer in UK terminology) to switch between the feeds from the individual cameras. In the case of sitcoms with studio audiences, this line cut is typically displayed to them on studio monitors. The line cut might be refined later in editing, as often the output from all cameras is recorded, both separately and as a combined reference display called the q split. The camera currently being recorded to the line cut is indicated by a tally light controlled by a camera control unit (CCU) on the camera as a reference both for the actors and the camera operators.Playhouse 90
Playhouse 90 was an American television anthology drama series that aired on CBS from 1956 to 1960 for a total of 133 episodes. The show was produced at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California. Since live anthology drama series of the mid-1950s usually were hour-long shows, the title highlighted the network's intention to present something unusual: a weekly series of hour-and-a-half-long dramas rather than 60-minute plays.Requiem for a Heavyweight
Requiem for a Heavyweight was a teleplay written by Rod Serling and produced for the live television show Playhouse 90 on 11 October 1956. Six years later, it was adapted as a 1962 feature film starring Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason and Mickey Rooney.
The teleplay won a Peabody Award, the first given to an individual script, and helped establish Serling's reputation. The broadcast was directed by Ralph Nelson and is generally considered one of the finest examples of live television drama in the United States, as well as being Serling's personal favorite of his own work. Nelson and Serling won Emmy Awards for their work.Schlitz Playhouse of Stars
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars is an anthology series that was telecast from 1951 until 1959 on CBS. Offering both comedies and drama, the series was sponsored by the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company. The title was shortened to Schlitz Playhouse, beginning with the fall 1957 season.Television director
A television director is in charge of the activities involved in making a television program or section of a program. They are generally responsible for decisions about the editorial content and creative style of a program, and ensuring the producer's vision is delivered. Their duties may include originating program ideas, finding contributors, writing scripts, planning 'shoots', ensuring safety, leading the crew on location, directing contributors and presenters, and working with an editor to assemble the final product. The work of a television director can vary widely depending on the nature of the program, the practices of the production company, whether the program content is factual or drama, and whether it is live or recorded.Television special
A television special (often TV special, or rarely "television spectacular") is a stand-alone television show which temporarily interrupts episodic programming normally scheduled for a given time slot. Specials have been produced which provide a full range of entertainment and informational value available via the television medium (news, drama, comedy, variety, cultural), in various formats (live television, documentary, studio production, animation, film), and in any viewing lengths (short films, theatrical films, miniseries, telethons).Television studio
A television studio, also called a television production studio, is an installation room in which video productions take place, either for the recording of live television to video tape, or for the acquisition of raw footage for post-production. The design of a studio is similar to, and derived from, movie studios, with a few amendments for the special requirements of television production. A professional television studio generally has several rooms, which are kept separate for noise and practicality reasons. These rooms are connected via intercom, and personnel will be divided among these workplaces.The Colgate Comedy Hour
The Colgate Comedy Hour was an American comedy-musical variety series that aired live on the NBC network from 1950 to 1955. The show featured many notable comedians and entertainers of the era as guest stars.The Voice (U.S. season 17)
The seventeenth season of the American reality television show The Voice is set to premiere on September 23, 2019, on NBC. Adam Levine and Blake Shelton returned as coaches are joined by two new female coaches Kelsea Ballerini and Hailee Steinfeld who replaced Kelly Clarkson and John Legend.Video camera
A video camera is a camera used for electronic motion picture acquisition (as opposed to a movie camera, which records images on film), initially developed for the television industry but now common in other applications as well.
The earliest video cameras were those of John Logie Baird, based on the mechanical Nipkow disk and used in experimental broadcasts through the 1910s–1930s. All-electronic designs based on the video camera tube, such as Vladimir Zworykin's Iconoscope and Philo Farnsworth's image dissector, supplanted the Baird system by the 1930s. These remained in wide use until the 1980s, when cameras based on solid-state image sensors such as CCDs (and later CMOS active pixel sensors) eliminated common problems with tube technologies such as image burn-in and made digital video workflow practical. The transition to digital TV gave a boost to digital video cameras and by the 2010s, most video cameras were digital.
With the advent of digital video capture, the distinction between professional video cameras and movie cameras has disappeared as the intermittent mechanism has become the same. Nowadays, mid-range cameras exclusively used for television and other work (except movies) are termed professional video cameras.
Video cameras are used primarily in two modes. The first, characteristic of much early broadcasting, is live television, where the camera feeds real time images directly to a screen for immediate observation. A few cameras still serve live television production, but most live connections are for security, military/tactical, and industrial operations where surreptitious or remote viewing is required. In the second mode the images are recorded to a storage device for archiving or further processing; for many years, videotape was the primary format used for this purpose, but was gradually supplanted by optical disc, hard disk, and then flash memory. Recorded video is used in television production, and more often surveillance and monitoring tasks in which unattended recording of a situation is required for later analysis.
Modern video cameras have numerous designs and uses.
Professional video cameras, such as those used in television production, may be television studio-based or mobile in the case of an electronic field production (EFP). Such cameras generally offer extremely fine-grained manual control for the camera operator, often to the exclusion of automated operation. They usually use three sensors to separately record red, green and blue.
Camcorders combine a camera and a VCR or other recording device in one unit; these are mobile, and were widely used for television production, home movies, electronic news gathering (ENG) (including citizen journalism), and similar applications. Since the transition to digital video cameras, most cameras have in-built recording media and as such are also camcorders. Action cameras often have 360° recording capabilities.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) generally uses pan tilt zoom cameras (PTZ), for security, surveillance, and/or monitoring purposes. Such cameras are designed to be small, easily hidden, and able to operate unattended; those used in industrial or scientific settings are often meant for use in environments that are normally inaccessible or uncomfortable for humans, and are therefore hardened for such hostile environments (e.g. radiation, high heat, or toxic chemical exposure).
Webcams are video cameras which stream a live video feed to a computer.
Many smartphones have built-in video cameras.
Special camera systems are used for scientific research, e.g. on board a satellite or a space probe, in artificial intelligence and robotics research, and in medical use. Such cameras are often tuned for non-visible radiation for infrared (for night vision and heat sensing) or X-ray (for medical and video astronomy use).