CNN was the first channel dedicated to 24-hour news programming, including live news coverage. Other major U.S. channels, including ABC, CBS and NBC, have also televised live news coverage.
CBS was the first major American network to televise live news. In 1941, WCBS in New York City broadcast two daily news programs anchored by Richard Hubbell. One of the first notable events that CBS News covered live was the bombing of Pearl Harbor. CBS News would later be associated with anchor Walter Cronkite's coverage of live news in the 1960s and 1970s.
NBC News started its coverage in the political arena with the airing of "The Camel Newsreel Theater" in 1948. Important events in history such as the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and the fall of the Berlin Wall were covered live by NBC News. ABC also started airing live news coverage in 1948, although the network didn't gain much public recognition until its live coverage of the Iran hostage crisis of 1980 and the San Francisco earthquake of 1989.
CNN was launched in 1980 as a 24-hour news network so that live coverage could be done at any necessary time. CNN first gained public recognition for its live coverage of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.