The first digest-sized issue was Chicago's Television Forecast.
A number of local TV weeklies now known as "pre-nationals" appeared shortly afterwards, the most successful being New York's Television Guide, later TV Guide, the first use of the now familiar name. The first issue (below) is available only in reproduction. I've never seen an original and and led to believe that the one used to make the repro was destroyed.
Here are two of the most collectible of this title, each worth about $500.
In Philadelphia, Walter Annenberg started Local Televisor, later TV Digest.
Among the rarest pre-nationals is Image, published in Los Angeles. Here is the first issue. Did you know that the earlier version of Life of Riley featured Jackie Gleason? Here he is with William Bendix, star of the long-running popular TV version.
In 1953, Annenberg merged New York's TV Guide, Philadelphia's TV Digest and Chicago's TV Forecast into the phenomenally successful national TV Guide, long the most highly circulated magazine in America. The iconic first issue features the immensely popular, to this day, Lucille Ball and with her then husband, Desi Arnaz, the creators of the groundbreaking "I Love Lucy".
All issues of the national TV Guide are readily available. The first one usually sells for about $300 on Ebay.
As always, magazines document the origins and development of American popular culture, providing a wealth of unique and valuable information. Television is a great example.