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NBC vs. MSNBC: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 21, 2024
NBC (National Broadcasting Company) is a major American broadcast television network, while MSNBC is a cable news network focusing on political commentary and news.

Key Differences

NBC, founded in 1926, is one of the oldest and largest broadcast networks in the U.S., offering a wide range of programming including news, sports, entertainment, and reality TV. MSNBC, launched in 1996, is a cable news network primarily focused on political commentary and news, often from a progressive perspective.
NBC operates as a traditional broadcast network available over-the-air and on cable/satellite systems, reaching a broad audience with diverse content. MSNBC is a cable channel requiring a subscription, with a focus on live news reporting, political analysis, and commentary.
NBC is known for iconic television shows, live sports events like the Olympics, and news programming like "NBC Nightly News." MSNBC is recognized for its political analysis and opinion shows, featuring hosts like Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes.
The target audiences of NBC and MSNBC differ: NBC aims to cater to a general audience with varied interests, while MSNBC specifically targets viewers interested in politics, current events, and in-depth news analysis.
NBC has a long-standing reputation in American television history, contributing significantly to popular culture, while MSNBC has carved out a niche in cable news, particularly among viewers seeking a progressive slant on news and politics.

Comparison Chart

Type of Network

Broadcast television network
Cable news network



Content Focus

Diverse, including news, entertainment, sports
Political commentary, news analysis


Over-the-air, cable/satellite
Cable/satellite subscription required

Target Audience

General audience
Viewers interested in politics, current events

NBC and MSNBC Definitions


NBC is one of the traditional "Big Three" television networks in the U.S.
NBC has been a staple in American television for decades.


MSNBC is known for its progressive perspective on news and current events.
MSNBC provides a unique viewpoint on today's political climate.


NBC is known for its nationwide news programming.
I watch NBC Nightly News for my daily news update.


MSNBC caters to an audience interested in progressive and liberal viewpoints.
Viewers seeking a progressive take on the news often watch MSNBC.


NBC is a major American broadcast television network.
I watched the season finale on NBC last night.


MSNBC is a cable news network specializing in news and political commentary.
I often turn to MSNBC for political analysis.


NBC offers a variety of programming, including news, sports, and entertainment.
NBC's coverage of the Olympics is always comprehensive.


MSNBC features a lineup of opinionated news shows and hosts.
The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC offers in-depth political commentary.


NBC produces and broadcasts popular TV shows and series.
Some of the most popular sitcoms have been broadcast on NBC.


MSNBC is a destination for live coverage of political events.
MSNBC's coverage of the election results was very detailed.


What does NBC stand for?

National Broadcasting Company.

Can I watch NBC without a cable subscription?

Yes, NBC is available over-the-air with an antenna and on streaming platforms.

Is MSNBC a separate entity from NBC?

Yes, MSNBC is a separate cable news network, although it's a part of the NBCUniversal family.

What type of shows can I find on NBC?

A variety of shows including dramas, comedies, reality TV, and news.

Who are some notable hosts on MSNBC?

Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and Joy Reid, among others.

Is MSNBC known for having a particular political slant?

Yes, MSNBC is generally known for a progressive or liberal perspective.

How can I watch MSNBC?

Through a cable or satellite subscription, or on various streaming platforms.

Does NBC broadcast live sports?

Yes, NBC is known for broadcasting major sports events, including the Olympics.

Does MSNBC focus exclusively on news?

Primarily, but it also offers political commentary and analysis.

Is MSNBC available in high definition?

Yes, MSNBC broadcasts in high definition.

What kind of reality shows does NBC broadcast?

NBC broadcasts a variety of reality shows, including talent competitions like "The Voice."

Is NBC part of a larger media conglomerate?

Yes, NBC is part of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast.

Does MSNBC offer international news coverage?

While its focus is more on U.S. politics, it does cover significant international news events.

What is the history of NBC?

NBC was founded in 1926 and has a long-standing history in American television.

How does MSNBC differentiate its content from other news networks?

Through its focus on political commentary and a progressive viewpoint.

Can I access NBC content online?

Yes, through NBC’s official website and its streaming service, Peacock.

Does NBC produce original films or series?

Yes, NBC produces a range of original content, including series and TV specials.

Does NBC offer streaming services?

Yes, NBC offers streaming through platforms like Peacock and NBC.com.

How does MSNBC cover elections?

With in-depth analysis, live coverage, and commentary.

Are MSNBC's news programs available for replay or streaming?

Yes, they are available on various streaming platforms and the MSNBC website.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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