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Frank Stanton

  • Birthplace: Muskegon, Michigan
  • Birthday: March 20
Date of passing: 
December 24, 2006

Frank Stanton was an American broadcasting executive who served as the president of CBS between 1946 and 1971 and then as vice chairman until 1973.

Stanton helped lead the fight for color television. By 1950 CBS had been working on its field-sequential system of color TV for a decade. On October 11, 1950, the Federal Communications Commission approved CBS's system as the first official color standard for commercial broadcasting in the U.S., although subsequent court challenges delayed actual commercial broadcasting until June 25, 1951.

Frank Stanton was an American broadcasting executive who served as the president of CBS between 1946 and 1971 and then as vice chairman until 1973.

Stanton helped lead the fight for color television. By 1950 CBS had been working on its field-sequential system of color TV for a decade. On October 11, 1950, the Federal Communications Commission approved CBS's system as the first official color standard for commercial broadcasting in the U.S., although subsequent court challenges delayed actual commercial broadcasting until June 25, 1951.

On Monday, June 25, 1951, Stanton appeared on an hour-long special, Premiere, with Robert Alda, Faye Emerson, Ed Sullivan, Arthur Godfrey, William S. Paley and others to introduce the CBS color system.

CBS color broadcasting only lasted for four months. CBS suspended it when the manufacture of color television receivers was halted by the U.S. government as part of the Korean War effort. When the ban on color sets was rescinded in 1953 CBS announced that it had no plans to resume broadcasting using its field-sequential color system. A major problem with the CBS system was that the video was not "compatible" with existing black-and-white TV sets. A competing dot-sequential color system being developed by RCA was compatible, and in late 1953 the FCC switched its approval to an RCA-based system of broadcasting color TV.

Frank Stanton was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1986.

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Frank Stanton

Photo credit: 
MARTY LEDERHANDLER/AP

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