Rede Tupi, channel 4 in São Paulo, began operations in 1950.
In 1976, with help from humourist and friend Manoel de Nóbrega (who had a show on Rede Globo and was part of Bau de Felicidade), Santos obtained a license for his own station: Rio de Janeiro's channel 11, known as "TV Studios" or "TVS".
Soon after its launch, its flagship program (Programa Silvio Santos on Sundays) plus the late night Silvio Santos Diferente on weekdays began to be broadcast (Santos left Globo the same year).
Other programs soon began, as the network gained support from city residents who sought an alternative to Globo, Tupi, Bandeirantes and TV Rio (the city's network, related to TV Record along with TVS).
The new channel debuted on May 14, 1976, with a logo of a gold circle with the number 11 slanted in gold, wihich featured in the first Scanimate idents and promos for the channel - making it a pioneer station in the country when it came to computer animation.
While during its early years the network studios were based in Rio, all program production for TVS transferred to São Paulo in 1978-79.
When Rede Tupi went out of business in 1980, Santos obtained three stations from the network: São Paulo's channel 4, Porto Alegre's channel 5 and Belém's channel 5.
SBT was created, launching on August 19, 1981 but using the TVS name until 1990 for some of its stations.
Until the formation of SBT, the Silvio Santos Group also had a station named TVS in Nova Friburgo, serving viewers in the northern and western pparts of the state, this was also its first branch station, having opened in 1979.
In 1978, Minas Gerais's TV Alterosa became one of SBT's broadcast-affiliate networks, the first affiliate station for the channel.