The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is an American commercial broadcast television network that is a flagship property of Walt Disney Television, a subsidiary of the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company. The fifth-oldest major broadcasting network in the world and the youngest of the Big Three television networks, ABC is nicknamed as "The Alphabet Network", as its initialism also represents the first three letters of the English alphabet, in order.
ABC launched as a radio network on October 12, 1943 and extended its operations to television in 1948, following in the footsteps of established broadcast networks CBS and NBC. In the 1980s, after purchasing an 80 percent interest in cable sports channel ESPN, the network's corporate parent, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., merged with Capital Cities Communications, owner of several print publications, and television and radio stations. In 1996, most of Capital Cities/ABC's assets were purchased by The Walt Disney Company.
The television network has eight owned-and-operated and over 232 affiliated television stations throughout the United States and its territories.