ERT1 is the flagship television network of state-owned broadcaster ERT. It was launched in 1966 as a television service of the National Radio and Television Foundation.
EIRT became ERT, then ERT1, ENA, and ET1 before being closed by the Greek government in 2013, when it was mainly an entertainment and cultural channel but also broadcast documentaries, news, sports, and children's shows.
On 11 June 2015 ERT was reopened and the ERT1 name was restored, technically replacing NERIT1 which had been launched by the previous government in 2014 as part of the New Hellenic Radio, Internet, and Television. ERT1's programming is focused on that of a generalistic TV network, being composed of talk shows, movies, popular foreign TV series, and some cultural shows.
The channel launched on 23 February 1966 as part of the National Radio and Television Foundation (EIRT), as the first general television channel in Greece. TED, Armed Forces Television orientated towards the Hellenic Armed Forces only, went on air four days later on 27 February 1966 (renamed as Armed Forces Information Service from 1970).
ERT (Ellinikí Radiophonia Tileórasi) replaced EIRT on 3 December 1975. On 3 November 1982, the Hellenic Armed Forces relinquished ownership of YENED to ERT. when it was renamed ERT2. In 1987, ERT1 and ERT2 were amalgamated into a single company and became ET1 and ET2. ET3 was launched on 14 December 1988 and ET2 became known as NET (New Hellenic Television) in 1997.
On Thursday 18 August 2011, the government under George Papandreou proposed to close ET1 and redistribute its programs to ERT's two remaining television channels, NET, and ET3. However, the Greek coalition government (with Antonis Samaras as Prime Minister) abolished ERT entirely on 11 June 2013, resulting in widespread condemnation.
ET1 went off the air on the same day, but ERT's employees at Broadcasting House kept NET on air, with the assistance of the European Broadcasting Union, who sent satellite retransmission vans to the station's headquarters, via the Internet and as part of the ERT Open movement, until riot police evicted them on 7 November 2013. Employees from the Thessaloniki studio continued to unofficially transmit ET3, also via the Internet, and under the same movement, until 11 June 2015.
On 11 June 2015, exactly two years after the closure of ET1, the coalition government with Alexis Tsipras as Prime Minister restored ERT as part of counter-austerity measures. On the same day, ERT1 replaced NERIT1 on its frequencies, which had operated since 2014.