Most notable television exports include the longest running serial soap drama in the world in Coronation Street and the longest running documentary series in 7 Up!, A wide array of award-winning British television programmes have originated from, and often been set in Manchester, such as Coronation Street, A Question of Sport, Dragon's Den, The Royle Family, University Challenge, Mastermind, Songs of Praise, Top of the Pops, It's a Knockout, World in Action, Seven Up!, Jewel in the Crown, Brideshead Revisited, Stars in Their Eyes, The Krypton Factor, Red Dwarf, Life on Mars, Cold Feet, Cracker and The Street. In the BFI TV list of greatest British television programmes decided by industry professionals in 2000, nine television programmes which were devised and produced in Manchester made the top 50.
Manchester was given the nickname 'Granadaland', as many of the city's successful programmes were produced by Granada Television and its influential chairman Sidney Bernstein actively encouraged this nickname to promote Manchester and the North West. The company was based at Granada Studios in Manchester and was considered one of the best commercial television companies in the world by the Financial Times and The Independent. Granada had its own entertainment complex showcasing its television exports to the public. Eventually Granada took over eleven other franchisees through a series of hostile bids to form ITV in 2004, and consequently a more unified ITV corporate brand appeared.
The new MediaCityUK in Salford forms part of the major decentralisation of the BBC. The corporation opted to move to MediaCityUK in 2004 as a replacement for its ageing Mancunian studios at New Broadcasting House and Granada Studios. At the same time, BBC Television Centre was also coming to the end of its lifespan, so the BBC decided to split departments between existing facilities in London and Greater Manchester. The BBC currently has a major broadcast division business operating here under the BBC North Group it comprises the departments BBC Breakfast, BBC Sport, BBC Children's, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Learning, BBC Research & Development and BBC Philharmonic presently broadcasting and producing. The Director-General of the BBC has indicated that a major BBC Channel such as BBC One or BBC Two would move by 2015 if the current operation is a success. ITV also has a major division of its business based here ITV Studios which is responsible for all UK and international production.
The Guardian newspaper was founded in Manchester as the Manchester Guardian and the city's regional newspaper, the Manchester Evening News is the second most popular regional newspaper in the UK after the Evening Standard.
Television broadcasts spread to the North West relatively late – the first monochrome 405 line television transmitter covering the area (from Holme Moss) did not open until 1951. Commercial TV began in May 1956 and the signals were broadcast from Winter Hill.