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Nickelodeon (often shortened to Nick) is an American pay television network which was launched on December 1, 1977, as the first cable channel for children. It is owned by Viacom through its Viacom Media Networks division’s Nickelodeon Group unit and is based in New York City. It broadcasts usually from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays (the sign off time varies with holidays and special programming), Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific Time). It is primarily aimed at children and adolescents aged 2–17.

The channel was originally first tested as Pinwheel on December 1, 1977. Pinwheel was at the time only available on QUBE, which was the first two-way major market interactive cable television system, owned by Warner Cable. Pinwheel relaunched as “Nick” on April 1, 1979, and expanded to other cable providers nationwide. It was initially commercial-free and remained without advertising until 1984. Warner sold Nickelodeon, along with its sister networks MTV and VH1, to Viacom in 1986.

As of September 2018, the channel is available to about 87.167 million households in the United States.

The channel’s name comes from the first five cent movie theaters called nickelodeons. Its history dates back to December 1, 1977, when Warner Cable Communications launched the first two-way interactive cable system, QUBE,in Columbus, Ohio. Under the name Pinwheel Network, the C-3 cable channel carried Pinwheel daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Initially scheduled for a February 1979 launch, Nickelodeon launched on April 1, 1979, initially distributed to Warner Cable systems via satellite on the RCA Satcom-1 transponder (the owner of the satellite, RCA Americom, later became GE Americom as a result of General Electric’s acquisition of RCA Americom’s parent company, RCA Corporation, before merging with Luxembourg based Société Européenne des Satellites to form SES Global, now SES S.A, which one of the descendants of the Satcom series, the SES and AMC satellite constellations, stil operate, Nickelodeon presently broadcasts on AMC-11). Originally commercial-free, advertising was introduced in January 1984.