While during its early years the network studios were based in Rio, all program production for TVS transferred to São Paulo in 1978-79.
Rede Tupi, channel 4 in São Paulo, began operations in 1950.
In 1962 (when he began his first TV program), Silvio Santos produced his own programs on Tupi, TV Paulista and on Rede Globo beginning in 1965.
Soon enough, he started plans to have his own television channel.
His production company, Estudios Silvio Santos Cinema e Televisao, was successful on Tupi, Globo and (since 1972) on Rede Record (where he then owned half of the company's stock).
In 1978, Minas Gerais's TV Alterosa became one of SBT's broadcast-affiliate networks, the first affiliate station for the channel.
Some later affiliates were adopted from Rede Tupi after its closure on July 18, 1980 by order of Brazilian Minister of Communications Haroldo de Matos, who the following year would order SBT to begin transmissions.
When Tupi closed, Programa Silvio Santos moved to Record but continued simulcasting Sundays on TVS Channels 11 and 3, as well as on yet another SS Group station - Channel 9, purchased from TV Continental.
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).