November 19, 1954: Télé Monte Carlo is launched. It is traditionally known as TMC and was begun as a Franco-Monégasque general entertainment TV station. It remains the oldest private channel in Europe. It was inaugurated by Prince Rainier III, Prince of Monaco. At the time, many European channels were begun with a major broadcast concerning the local royal family. This was no exception and one of the first major broadcasts was the marriage of the Prince to Grace Kelly in April 1956. Today, TMC is owned by the French media holding company TF1 Group.
An agreement between Rainier III and François Mitterrand, the President of France, allowed coverage as far west as Montpellier, France which tripled the number of possible viewers to 3 million. In 1987, a French station, M6, carried a few hours of the television service which made for an even wider viewership. The channel was eventually carried by CanalSat and became available to all of France and the Indian Ocean area. TMC won a place on the French language digital terrestrial television scheme, a testament to its wide appeal. Previously, the station was owned by three entities with TF1 holding 40%, AB Group holding 40%, and the government of Monaco holding the remaining 20%. In 2010, TF1 bought out AB Group and now holds 80%.
TMC shows a variety of programming, both imports and locally produced. Local shows include such things as SUD, a show featuring what is going on in Monaco and Southern France and airs weekly. Another local show is Monacoscope which is a news magazine type program as is Notre région. TMC is also responsible for the small nation’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. They also import programs such as Downton Abbey, The A-Team, Law & Order, Agatha Christie’s Marple, and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes among others.
Prince Rainier was born into the House of Grimaldi in 1923. He reigned as Prince of Monaco from 1949 until his death in 2005. While famous for his marriage to American actress Grace Kelly, he actually did much to help move Monaco forward. The traditional economic base for Monaco has been casino gambling. With Rainier’s help, the economic base has greatly increased and today, rather than the 95% it once claimed, gambling is only responsible for 3% of the annual national revenue today. Rainier was also a key player in the modernization of the country’s constitution. When he turned 21, his mother renounced her claim to the throne of Monaco, and Rainier became heir apparent. When his grandfather died, he took the throne. He left the throne to his only son when he died at the age of 81.
After vaudeville died, television was the box they put it in. – Larry Gelbart
You know the great thing about TV? If something important happens anywhere at all in the world, no matter what time of the day or night, you can always change the channel. – Jim Ignatowski
Violence and smut are of course everywhere on the airwaves. You cannot turn on your television without seeing them, although sometimes you have to hunt around. – Dave Barry
If you read a lot of books, you’re considered well-read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you’re not considered well-viewed. – Lily Tomlin
Also on this day: Synonymous with Failure – In 1959, the Ford Edsel line was discontinued.
Seven – In 1997, the McCaughey septuplets were born.
87 Years Later – In 1863, Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address.
Prestige – In 2002, the Prestige and her cargo sunk.
1000 – In 1969, Pele got his 1000th goal.