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SBT, standing for Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão (Brazilian Television System), is a television network in Brazil. The network first aired in 1981, and the studio headquarters are based in Osasco. SBT is owned by Silvio Santos (born Senor Abravanel), a popular Brazilian TV host. It's studios are located in São Paulo. As of February 2007, it is no longer the second network in ratings, being passed by Record, although it continues to place second in ratings some hours per day, specially the time prior to Prime time, notably during mornings, where it shows children's programming.
SBT has most of its schedule dedicated to children and pre-teens, making it the favourite network for the young audience. In 1998, SBT had the longest children's programming ever, being shown from Sessão Desenho, a cartoon block, at 7am (the time the network used to start broadcasting), until 9pm, when the children's telenovela Chiquititas normally ended. SBT promoted this situation on the screen, calling this whole period as SBT Kids, a total of 14 hours per day, and until nowadays neither SBT nor other networks have beaten this mark.
While most TV stations in Brazil depends mostly on national productions, SBT depends heavily on imports, mainly from Mexico and USA. For more than 20 years comedy show El Chavo (shown in Brazil as Chaves) is one of the station's most-watched shows. The show also has a deal with Warner Brothers which gives the channel an exclusivity deal to show all their sitcoms, dramas and movies.
For a long time, Mexican soap operas have been one of the most recognizable things for SBT, mostly during the early 90s when Mexican soap operas reached it's peak in the country with soaps like the children-oriented Carrosel, La Usurpadora, El Privelegio de Amar, Luz Clarita and the incredibly successful Maria trilogy (Maria Mercedes, Marimar, Maria la del Barrio). Compared to the toned-down Brazilian soaps, Mexican soaps are considered tacky and exaggerated, but during the 90s were a huge hit with lower-class people.
Other 90s hits include Domingo Legal, a Sunday variety show which during the late 90s was SBT highest-rated show and surpassed Globo for hours, something very rare. Domingo Legal was criticized for being excessively sensationalist and ratings started to decline and after the PCC scandal, ratings declined a lot and the show now is sometimes in the 3rd place at ratings, far from the time it was 1, Ratinho which had a similar format as Jerry Springer, Show do Milhão, a non-authorized version from Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and Chiquititas, which was a big hit among kids.
For over 20 years SBT was the second place in Brazilian television ratings, behind Rede Globo, but in February 2007 it was outpaced by Rede Record for the first time in São Paulo, but the following month, the SBT retook the second placement again. 1.
Since the 90s peak in popularity Mexican soaps have been declining in the audience hitting an all time-low in the last two years (the last Mexican soap operas to have big ratings were Carita de Angel in the early 2000s and Rebelde, which was a phenomenon in 2006). In 2001, SBT decided to star remaking Mexican soaps with Brazilian actors. The first soaps (Picara Sonhadora and Marisol) did OK on the ratings but they also hit an all-time low recently, with soaps like Cristal, Os Ricos Também Choram and Maria Esperança (a version of the highly-successful Maria Mercedes) scoring very low ratings.
Beside Mexican soaps and their remakes, the channel also air cartoons during the morning, formats (like Ídolos, Brazilian version of American Idol and the Brazilian version of Supernanny, which are two of the most-watched shows on the channel and also a version of Deal or No Deal, presented by Silvio Santos himself, who presents lots of the network shows), lots of talent shows and one dating show. The channel also shows movie and A Praça é Nossa, a comedy show which been one of the network highest-rated show since the very first days.