The origin of GMA Network can be traced back to Loreto F. de Hemedes Inc. through DZBB, which started airing its radio broadcast on March 1, 1950, and officially launched as a local radio station in Manila on June 14, 1950 and owned by Robert La Rue “Uncle Bob” Stewart, an American war correspondent. Venturing into television in the 1960s, Stewart started its television station through RBS TV Channel 7 in the DZBB-TV station on October 29, 1961, the Philippines' third terrestrial television station. Originally, RBS's programming is composed of foreign programs from the United States and it later produced local programs to cater to Filipino audiences. It produced shows like Uncle Bob’s Lucky Seven Club, a child-oriented show aired every Saturdays; Dance Time with Chito; and various news programs like News at Seven. And in 1963, RBS launched its first provincial television station in Cebu, DYSS Channel 7 (now GMA Cebu). In the same year, from Loreto F. de Hemedes Inc, the firm was formally renamed to Republic Broadcasting System, Inc. (RBS). On September 21, 1972, then President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law by the virtue of Proclamation 1081. Marcos, ruling by decree, curtailed press freedom and other civil liberties; closed down the Congress and media establishments including RBS. Military personnel occupied GMA Network compound and placed it under military control to prevent alleged communist propaganda. Media outlets including RBS that was critical to the Marcos administration were ordered to be closed. But in late-December 1972, RBS gave the green light by the government to return on the air this time by its blocktime agreement with the National Media Production Center (NMPC), however with limited three-month permits. But due to limited licenses, difficulty in financial obligations, and disallowing foreign citizens and entities from owning and operating media companies in the Philippines, Stewart and the American Broadcasting Company, who owned a quarter of the company, was forced to cede majority control to a triumvirate composed of Gilberto Duavit Sr., a Malacañang official; Menardo Jimenez, an accountant; and Felipe Gozon, an attorney of the Stewarts in 1974; and the station changed its name to GMA Radio-Television Arts (GMA stood for Greater Manila Area, the station's initial coverage area); though Republic Broadcasting System, Inc. remained as its corporate name until 1996. His wife Loring was the president when the takeover ensued. The relaunched GMA, aside from sporting a light blue square logo with the network name in white, also (until 1980) had a circle 7 logo in use, in its final years the blue circle 7 logo used was similar to those used by the ABC in some United States cities. After that, Rod Reyes, the then-general manager of RBS recruited old-timers from ABS-CBN, including from the news department and entertainment programs. Through the acquisition, the station was able to broadcast in color with a PhP8 million credit line thru buying telecine machines and acquired foreign programs. Ratings were up from #5 to #3 that time. When Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., a senator who strongly opposed the Marcos administration, was assassinated on August 21, 1983, it was only a small item on television news. The iron grip that the Marcos administration had on television began to slip, as GMA broadcast the funeral, the only local station to do so. In 1984, Imee Marcos, daughter of Ferdinand Marcos, attempted to take over GMA. However, the takeover was prevented by GMA executives. Stewart left the Philippines for good as he was utterly disappointed with the Marcos move. GMA was also instrumental during the years preceding the People Power Revolution. The network was the first to air a television interview with Corazon Aquino via Viewpoint in 1984, and when she later announced that she would run for the presidency if she receives one million signatures. In February 1986, the network was also the first to report that Fidel Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile broke away from the Marcos administration. When democracy in the Philippines was restored in the People Power Revolution in 1986, television stations began to air, some with their original owners. The political instability of the country also added to the station's burden, when soldiers stormed into the studios for two days in a part of coup attempt to topple then president, Corazon Aquino. In 1987, it became the first VHF television network in the country to provide a new dimension to viewers by broadcasting the network's programs in full stereo (dubbed as GMA StereoVision), it opened its high-end live studio, the Broadway Centrum, boosting its local programming, and inaugurated its 777-foot Tower of Power located along Tandang Sora, Quezon City, the tallest man-made structure in the country on November 7, 1988. On March 20, 1992, Congress passed Republic Act No. 7252, otherwise known as “An Act Granting the Republic Broadcasting System, Inc. A Franchise to Construct, Install, Operate and Maintain Radio and Television Broadcasting Stations in the Philippines,” granting GMA a legislative franchise for the operation of radio and television broadcasting stations, in particular, “to construct, install, operate and maintain for commercial purposes and in the public interest, radio and television broadcasting stations in the Philippines with the corresponding auxiliary, special broadcast and other program and distribution services and relay stations, and to install radio communications facilities for private use in its broadcast services” for a term of 25 years.
Under Jimenez, Gozon and Executive Vice President Antonio C. Barreiro, international reach became GMA's target in the 1990s, which began when the Rainbow Satellite launched on April 26, 1992. Through its relay stations, GMA programs were seen across the archipelago and Southeast Asia. GMA programming started airing in 60 American cities and parts of South America through the International Channel Network. GMA was the official broadcaster of the 1995 World Youth Day, which was the last visit of Pope John Paul II to the country. During the same year, two popular TV shows, Eat Bulaga! and Okey Ka Fairy Ko! began broadcasting on GMA after TAPE Inc. refused ABS-CBN's proposal to buy the airing rights of the two shows. At the same time, GMA launched a UHF channel subsidiary, Citynet 27, several new shows (among them was Bubble Gang one of the longest-running shows on TV today), and the news program, Saksi with Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco and Karen Davila. It also has the Asian adaptation of The 700 Club series as The 700 Club Asia which the Philippines is the only originating country in Asia.
In 1995, GMA founded its film production company, Cinemax Studios (later renamed to GMA Films in 1998) with the film Run Barbi Run. Its film José Rizal released in 1998, which was at that time the most expensive movie production ever in the country (costing over 80 million pesos to produce), became a huge success with many accolades and award nominations. On May 16, 1996, GMA formally changed its corporate name to GMA Network Incorporated, with GMA now standing for Global Media Arts. GoBingo, initially aired in 1996, is an interactive game show hosted by Arnell Ignacio, with Maricar de Mesa as the first GobiGirl. In 1998, GMA pioneered on Filipino language late night news broadcast with the news program GMA Network News as the first Filipino-language late-night television newscast after it was debuted six years ago as an English language late-night newscast, as English newscasts were started since the introduction of television in the country in 1953. As the newscast fasten to higher than its English newscasts, all networks start to follow including IBC in 1998, ABS-CBN in 1999, RPN in 2000, NBN (now PTV) in 2001 and ABC (now TV5) in 2004. GMA was the first Philippine broadcaster to receive a Peabody Award for Investigative Reporting in 1999. Later, Citynet 27 became EMC, the first locally programmed music video channel, later becoming a part of the Channel [V] franchise called Channel [V] Philippines. Channel [V] the Philippines, however, ceased operations due to a conflict of interest between the owners of GMA and PLDT (which bought a stake in GMA), who operate MTV Philippines through their subsidiary, the Nation Broadcasting Corporation. GMA was also the Philippine broadcaster for 2000 Today, the most-successful international television special that commemorated the dawn of the new Millennium. At the turn of the millennium, GMA was the only local network to go on 24-hour, non-stop broadcasting (However, in 2001, the network reduced back to regular broadcast hours for its regular transmitter maintenance due to NTC's rules and regulations for affiliated free-to-air TV stations). At the beginning of the year, Menardo Jimenez announced his retirement as president and CEO (he would later be assumed office as a member of the board of directors of San Miguel Corporation in 2002) and on December 31, 2000, Felipe Gozon assumed the position with his concurrent capacity as chairman. Duavit's son Gilberto Duavit Jr. assumed the post of the chief operating officer. On October 27, 2002, during an episode of the network's noontime show SOP, GMA officially revealed a new logo and image campaign. The new logo features a rainbow-colored heart-shaped logo, the Kapuso, represented by a new slogan "Kapuso ng Pamilyang Pilipino, Anumang Kulay ng Buhay" ("One in Heart With the Filipino family, In Whatever Colors of Life"), and a Century Gothic Bold font for the letters. The "Kapuso" theme song is sung by Regine Velasquez. In 2003, Saksi won the New York Television Festival Gold Medal for best newscast, the first Philippine newscast to do so. This and the Peabody Award in 1999 earned the network a House of Representatives commendation later that year. On September 1 of the same year, GMA Network withdrew its membership from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), after incidents involving host Rosanna Roces, alleged commercial overloading and interfering when news anchor Mike Enriquez aired his complaints about his radio program, Saksi sa Dobol B, against Lopez-owned cable firm SkyCable's distortion of GMA's signal on its system, and a lost videotape containing evidence that the cable firm had violated the rule on soliciting ads for cable TV. GMA was an official TV network of the 4th World Meeting of Families held in Manila, Philippines. In 2004, GMA launched line up of new programs and primetime shows such as Te Amo, Maging Sino Ka Man, Hanggang Kailan, Forever In My Heart, Marinara, as well as, Bahay Mo Ba 'To, Naks!, Lovely Day, StarStruck Kids, Ikaw Sa Puso Ko, Leya, Ang Pinakamagandang Babae Sa Ilalim Ng Lupa, 30 Days, Wag Kukurap, Pinoy Pop Superstar, SOP Gigsters, Joyride, 3R, Out, Bitoy's Funniest Videos and the network's new early evening newscast 24 Oras. In 2005, the company’s subsidiary, Citynet Network Marketing and Productions, Inc., signed a co-production and block time agreement with ZOE Broadcasting Network, allowing the GMA Network with another platform to showcase its programming and talents. On November 11, 2005, ZOE's flagship station, DZOE-TV Channel 11, went on the air as Quality TeleVision (later known as Q and was reformatted to become GMA News TV), and broadcast shows that primarily targeted women audiences. Q's news programs shared the same resources of GMA News and Public Affairs, while some programs are produced by Citynet Network Marketing and Productions, Inc. Also in 2005, GMA won the Asian Television Awards' Best Terrestrial Television Station, besting MBC of Korea and MediaCorp Channel 5 of Singapore. The network planned to go public, but due to political instability and the downward trend of broadcast advertising, it was delayed.In 2006, Debate with Mare at Pare, a late-night public affairs program, won the bronze medal in the New York Television Festival. The network was also praised on its coverage of the Wowowee (a program of ABS-CBN) stampede by local publications. In an exclusive interview, a reprehensive Mike Enriquez interviewed embattled Philippine preside In 2007, the network announced that it will offer its stocks to the public. After being cancelled numerous times and despite the Marcoses claim to the shares held by the Duavit family, their IPO was finally held on July 30 offering PhP 8.50 per share. The Network started to produce television franchises from other countries when they produced Celebrity Duets: Philippine Edition with FremantleMedia, one of the largest producers of television franchises in the world based in United Kingdom. They later produced MariMar, Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan, Kakasa Ka Ba Sa Grade 5? and Whammy! Push Your Luck from various countries. On September 16, 2007, it was announced that the Idol franchise, which was previously used by the Associated Broadcasting Company (to produce Philippine Idol) would be transferred to GMA under the new name Pinoy Idol.In 2008, GMA produced a diverse set of shows for its prime time block by airing Carlo J. Caparas' Joaquin Bordado, Mars Ravelo's Dyesebel, Babangon Ako't Dudurugin Kita, Gagambino, Codename: Asero, Lalola, Ako si Kim Sam Soon, Survivor Philippines, Family Feud, Saan Darating Ang Umaga? and Luna Mystika. GMA became the new home of the Idol franchise, with Pinoy Idol premiering that summer along with its companion show, Pinoy Idol Extra. In the first half of 2009, GMA Network lined up new shows for its prime-time like Carlo J. Caparas' Ang Babaeng Hinugot Sa Aking Tadyang, Carlo J. Caparas' Totoy Bato, All About Eve, Zorro, Adik Sa'Yo, All My Life, Sana Ngayong Pasko. The prime-time news program 24 Oras won two awards in the New York Television Festival, a Gold Medal for Best Continuing Coverage and a Silver Medal for Best News Program. The network likewise lined up new prime time shows for the second half of 2009 like Rosalinda, new version of Darna, second season of Survivor Philippines, Stairway to Heaven, Full House, new season of StarStruck. In 2010, for the first and second quarters, GMA Network released new soaps and shows like The Last Prince, Panday Kids, First Time, Laff En Roll, Diva, Zooperstars, Claudine, Wipeout, Pepito Manaloto, Wachamakulit, Sunnyville, Comedy Bar, Love Bug, Langit Sa Piling Mo, Pilyang Kerubin, Endless Love, Danz Showdown, as well as Diz Iz It! which replaced the longest morning talk show SiS along Party Pilipinas which replaced SOP. In 2011, GMA Network offered an afternoon line-up which continued the success of Koreana, Trudis Liit, Basahang Ginto and Bantatay. It includes Nita Negrita, Magic Palayok, Alakdana, Sisid and My Lover, My Wife. In the primetime line-up, GMA released I Heart You, Pare!, Dwarfina, Machete, Captain Barbell, Munting Heredera, the first historical drama of the Philippines entitled Amaya and they offered the first TV remake drama series Ikaw Lang ang Mamahalin. In 2012, the network offered all original line-up of television series for the first quarter, in both primetime and afternoon block such as Legacy, Biritera and My Beloved in GMA Telebabad and Alice Bungisngis and her Wonder Walis, Broken Vow, The Good Daughter and Hiram na Puso in GMA Afternoon Prime.On February 1, 2012, GMA Network announced it has signed a three-year deal with Fox International Channels which allows locally produced GMA's shows and feature films to be aired on FOX cable channels. The said deal covers a minimum of 350 hours worth of programs and 25 feature films. Among the programs delivered to FOX for airing in its Philippine feed are: Encantadia, Darna, Dyesebel, Super Twins, Stairway to Heaven, Kaya Kong Abutin Ang Langit, Trudis Liit and Babangon Ako't Dudurugin Kita, and news and public affairs shows like Wish Ko Lang, Pinoy Meets World and Pinoy Abroad. While the films covered by the deal are: My Best Friend's Girlfriend, When I Met U, Yaya and Angelina: The Spoiled Brat Movie, Temptation Island and José Rizal.On February 22, 2012, GMA Films' President Annette Gozon-Abrogar and director Yam Laranas announced that the thriller movie The Road was commercially released and shown in over 50 theaters across North America and Canada on May 11, 2012, a first for a local Filipino motion picture.On February 28, 2012, the network announced the retirement of senior vice president for the Entertainment Group, Wilma Galvante. The announcement came about after Galvante officially retired from the network, ending her 19 years of service as entertainment head. GMA Network appointed Lilybeth Rasonable as Officer-in-charge of the Entertainment Group. Rasonable has been with the network since 1998 and has served as program manager, assistant vice president, and vice president for drama for the Entertainment Group. Her latest position prior to the appointment has seen her supervising the group's afternoon and primetime teledramas.In April 2012, GMA Network's president and COO Gilberto Duavit, Jr. announced that the network hit consolidated revenues at 13.083 billion pesos in 2011. That's despite the absence of 2.054 billion pesos worth of revenues from political ads generated in 2010 and the global impact of financial crisis in Europe and slow economic recovery in the U.S. in 2011.The network won another Peabody Award in 2013 for its coverage of Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan).On October 4, 2012, the network announced the termination of negotiations with MediaQuest Holdings, Inc. (an affiliate of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company) owned by businessman and TV5 chairman Manny V. Pangilinan. Since the beginning of the year, Mr. Pangilinan had been vocal with his interest to acquire GMA Network, saying that he "talked to them, ...since 2002, and then maybe five years ago." Following the return of the negotiations of GMA Network to the PLDT Group, Manny V. Pangilinan confirming last March 4, 2014, that the offer to buy 34% stake at GMA Network was expired in February of the same year.On May 5, 2014, GMA Network chairman and CEO, attorney Felipe L. Gozon confirmed the networked has entered negotiations with San Miguel Corporation president and COO Ramon S. Ang. A month after, on June 24, 2014, GMA Network's major stockholders announced it will sell 30% of their equity shares of the network to Ang in his personal capacity. San Miguel Corporation is not involved in Ang's acquisition of the shares. In June 2015, GMA in a disclosure to the securities commission said that talks with Ramon Ang has bogged down.In April 2015, GMA Network implemented a series of budget cuts towards its regional TV stations, by terminating at least 200 regional employees, downgrading its originating TV stations in Bacolod, Naga, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Ilocos to 'satellite-selling' or relay TV stations, and cancelling morning shows in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Dagupan, reportedly in order for them to "streamline their operations for increased ratings and revenue." In November that same year, the network also downgraded its originating station in Iloilo City into 'relay-selling' or satellite TV station and cancelling Ratsada 24 Oras following the retrenchment of 20 employees from the news department as part of the strategic streamlining undertaken by GMA Network.On March 9, 2018, GMA Network launched its new slogan "Buong Puso Para Sa Kapuso" (lit. Wholehearted for the One in Heart) with a new station ID. However, the network's current station ID in short version during the top/bottom of the hour before start the programs as well as during commercial breaks/reminders it also aired on its sister channel, GMA News TV. On August 27, 2018, GMA regional stations in Iloilo and Bacolod were upgraded again to originating station as GMA Western Visayas following the launch of the new regional news program One Western Visayas. On December 14, 2018, GMA Network's founding chairman Atty. Gilberto M. Duavit, Sr., passed away at the age of 84. He was GMA Network's chairman from 1974-1976 and sat as one of the network's board of directors in 1977. He rejoined the network's board of directors in 2016 until the time of his death.