|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Type||Digital broadcast television network|
(not available in all markets)
|Slogan||TV How It Was Meant to Be!|
|Key people||Sean Compton
(President of Programming, Tribune Broadcasting)
|Launch date||January 1, 2011|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
Antenna TV is an American digital broadcast television network, primarily featuring classic television series from the 1950s to the 1990s, along with some feature films. It is owned by Tribune Broadcasting, a division of the Chicago-based Tribune Company. The network appears in many media markets via digital subchannels of over-the-air broadcast television stations, and is available on select cable providers through a local affiliate of the network. The network broadcasts 24 hours a day in 480i standard definition. Most of the network's programming comes from the Sony Pictures Entertainment library, along with a few shows from the Universal Studios library and the post-1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer library.
Tribune Broadcasting announced the formation of Antenna TV on August 30, 2010, with a planned launch in January 2011; originally the network was intended to launch on January 3, 2011, though the launch date was later moved two days earlier.
Antenna TV was launched on January 1, 2011 at midnight ET (December 31, 2010 in other U.S. time zones), initially debuting on 17 Tribune-owned stations and 13 stations owned by Local TV; The first program to air on Antenna TV was the Three Stooges' first short "Woman Haters" as part of a marathon of Three Stooges short films (which has since become an annual New Year's Day tradition on the network). The network's operations are overseen by Sean Compton, who serves as the president of programming for parent company Tribune Broadcasting.
On October 1, 2011, Antenna TV introduced block scheduling for most of its programs, organized by genre and the decade of original broadcast; it included a weekday afternoon block of sitcoms from the 1950s, a weekend afternoon block of 1960s sitcoms (including the early 1970s sitcom, The Partridge Family), a Saturday night lineup of drama series (a genre of television programs which had previously aired on the network in very limited form on Sunday mornings only), an overnight block of classic television series from the black-and-white era of the 1950s and early 1960s, a Sunday prime-time lineup of sitcoms from the 1990s and a weeknight prime-time lineup of comedies from the 1970s; with the exception of the black-and-white program block (which was reduced to once a week and moved to Friday nights) and the Saturday night drama block (which was reduced to Saturday evenings only), most of these blocks were dropped on March 26, 2012.
Antenna TV's program schedule relies on the extensive library of films and television programming currently owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, which comprises more than 270 television series and over 4,000 films. The network does not air a split-screen credit sequence or feature voice-overs promoting upcoming network programming during the closing credits (borrowing a format common in local broadcast syndication), nor does it display an on-screen logo bug during its programs, although affiliates are inclined to display their own on-screen logo bug during Antenna TV programming if they choose to do so.
As is common with digital multicast networks, advertisements featured during commercial breaks on Antenna TV primarily consist of direct response advertisements for products featured in infomercials and particularly during its Saturday morning children's programming, public service announcements; satellite provider Dish Network and insurance company Progressive are currently the network's primary national sponsors. The network's primary continuity announcer is disc jockey and voice actor Gary Owens of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In fame, who has been with the network since its launch; voice actor John B. Wells, also co-host of Premiere Networks' syndicated radio program Coast to Coast AM, has served a secondary continuity announcer for Antenna TV since November 2011.
Classic television series
Antenna TV has program licensing agreements with Sony Pictures Entertainment (which includes series produced by Columbia Pictures Television, TriStar Television, Columbia TriStar Television, Screen Gems, and ELP Communications (including predecessors Tandem Productions, T.A.T. Communications, and Embassy Communications)) and DLT Entertainment. The network also shares broadcast rights to classic television programs from the NBCUniversal Television Distribution library with competing digital broadcast network Weigel Broadcasting-owned Me-TV, which holds primary broadcast rights (with Antenna TV gaining access to Universal's program library in the fall of 2011, after those shows were removed from the Retro Television Network). In addition, Antenna TV also airs WKRP in Cincinnati, which is part of the 20th Television library (Me-TV also holds primary rights to classic television series from 20th Television's program library).
The network's series programming primarily covers sitcoms – along with some select drama series – from the 1950s to the 1990s and includes shows such as The Partridge Family, Barney Miller, All in the Family, Diff'rent Strokes, Married... with Children, McHale's Navy, Sanford and Son, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Monkees, The Nanny, Gidget, Mister Ed, Good Times, and The Three Stooges (unlike with cable channel AMC and IFC, who has run The Three Stooges from 1998 to 2004 and again since 2009, Antenna TV airs each of the shorts, which each air in roughly twenty-minute blocks, uninterrupted with commercial breaks inserted only between shorts; although Three Stooges films that air as part of the Antenna TV Theater block are aired with commercial interruption); while several series on the network have been widely syndicated on other television outlets in the United States and abroad, some series featured on the network (such as Hazel, Bachelor Father and Father Knows Best) have not been seen on television for several years.
Drama series, which occupied a limited amount of the network's schedule for the first few months on the air, later expanded with an October 2011 programming realignment, with crime drama, mystery and suspense programs airing in an evening block on Saturdays, which included It Takes a Thief, Adam-12, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, S.W.A.T. and Suspense Theater; some of these programs are also aired during the week in limited form during the late afternoon and overnight hours. The Saturday drama block was dropped in September 2012, with drama series on Saturdays being moved to the late afternoon hours and movies replacing them on Saturday nights. In a rarity for television, Antenna TV has rotated a television series and its spinoffs on its schedule in the same hour, such as airing the shorter-lived spinoffs of Three's Company (The Ropers and Three's a Crowd) with the parent show airing alongside either once they debut on the schedule.
As of September 2012, Antenna TV broadcasts feature films Monday-Fridays from 3-11 a.m. ET, weekend mornings from 4-8 a.m. and Saturday nights from 8 p.m.-3 a.m. ET (sometimes starting earlier or ending later depending on the length of the films), branded under the title of Antenna TV Theater. In addition to access to television series owned by Sony Pictures Television, the agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment also includes access to movies from the film library of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group (including Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Screen Gems, Triumph Films, and the television rights to the Embassy Pictures library). The film roster does not concentrate on films from any specific era, meaning any film from the 1930s to as late as the early 2000s can be featured on the network's schedule.
Antenna TV also airs three hours of programming aimed at children on Saturday mornings, featuring shows such as Heads Up!, Critter Gitters, Young America Outdoors, and Curiosity Quest, which make up the FCC-required amount of educational children's programming each week.
Tribune planned to launch Antenna in all markets served by a station owned by Tribune Broadcasting, as well as on stations owned by Local TV as part of that group's co-management agreement with Tribune. Tribune's flagship station WGN-TV serves as the de facto flagship affiliate of the network. In the Denver and St. Louis markets, where both companies own stations, the network airs on the digital subchannels of Local TV's Fox affiliates KDVR and KTVI, rather than on Tribune-owned CW affiliates KWGN-TV and KPLR-TV in order to address bandwidth concerns as Fox stations transmit their main signals by default in 720p, which allows plenty of room for a subchannel, while CW stations are usually 1080i on their main channel.
However, not all of the charter affiliates of the network added Antenna TV programming on their digital signals on the network's launch date. Salt Lake City Fox affiliate KSTU, Des Moines NBC affiliate WHO-TV (both owned by Local TV) and Washington, D.C. CW affiliate WDCW (owned by Tribune) debuted the network on their digital subchannels later in the month of January 2011; while Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR-TV did not carry the network until April 21, 2011 on a new third digital subchannel (it has since been moved to that station's second subchannel). The final Tribune/Local TV station to add the network was in Fort Smith, Arkansas on January 5, 2012, where the network began to be carried on Fayetteville-based MyNetworkTV affiliate KXNW as an overnight secondary service; Antenna TV was unable to launch in the market before the KNXW purchase due to existing syndicated programming rights on sister CBS affiliate KFSM-TV's MyNetworkTV-affiliated second subchannel (which now acts as a KXNW simulcast) and a 1080i signal which precluded a launch of a third subchannel without affecting picture quality.
The network is offered to would-be affiliates on a barter basis, an agreement in which the station will get the programming at little or no cost in exchange for giving a certain amount of commercial time to the network. Despite this barter offer, some large television markets without stations owned by Tribune or Local TV have yet to acquire the network. Some affiliates such as KTLA aired previews of Antenna TV prior to the launch date on their primary channel. In the wake of Universal Sports being discontinued on broadcast television on January 1, 2012, most of these stations have signed affiliation agreements with Antenna (or Me-TV) as a replacement service.
Not every program on the Antenna TV lineup is seen in every locality; as an example, in the Los Angeles area, KTLA's Antenna TV subchannel replaces the hour-long block of Married... with Children (which is seen at 8 p.m. local time, in an earlier time slot, but airing simultaneously as the remainder of the country as Antenna TV operates only on an Eastern Time Zone schedule), with a rebroadcast of that station's weeknight 6 p.m. newscast due to rights held by another local outlet (in this case, currently, independent station KDOC-TV has to the local rights to the sitcom), though it is only affected Monday through Thursdays. When the sitcom Soap was added to the network's lineup in May 2011 during Married...'s original run on Antenna TV, the Sunday night rebroadcast of KTLA's early evening newscast was removed, and Soap was cleared to air locally (the news rebroadcast on KTLA-DT2 returned in April 2012).
So far, Antenna TV has had only one instance of switching affiliates in the same market. In Honolulu, Hawaii, KUPU was that market's original affiliate. KUPU was one of only two stations carrying the network on its primary channel (the other station and the only one still doing so being KXNW). Because KUPU is not available on cable television throughout the entire state of Hawaii (only the Honolulu metropolitan area), the Antenna TV affiliation moved to the second digital subchannel of NBC affiliate KHNL in May 2012, which has widespread cable penetration.
- Cozi TV - competing digital broadcast network owned by NBC Owned Television Stations airing mix of classic television series from the 1950s through the 1980s, movies and first-run lifestyle programming.
- Retro Television Network - competing digital broadcast network owned by Luken Communications specializing in classic TV series from the 1950s to the 1970s.
- Me-TV - competing digital broadcast network owned by Weigel Broadcasting specializing in classic TV series from the 1960s to the 1980s.
- Movies! - joint venture between Weigel Broadcasting and the Fox Television Stations, specializing in feature films only.
- This TV - sister network co-owned by MGM and Tribune specializing in feature films with limited classic TV programming.
- Bounce TV - digital broadcast network with similarly-styled retro programming specifically targeting African American audiences.
- Tribune TV stations launching classic TV rerun channel, Radio & Television Business Report, August 30, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- Tribune set to launch Antenna TV, Radio & Television Business Report, December 1, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- Tribune Launching Classic TV Multicast Network, Broadcasting & Cable, August 30, 2010
- Tribune Company Launching Digital Subchannel Antenna TV Network, Chicago Tribune, August 30, 2010
- Antenna TV Launch Schedule Starting January 2011, Sitcoms Online, October 21, 2010.
- Antenna TV Fall 2011 Schedule Updated With Beaver, Bachelor Father & More
- Antenna TV Spring 2012 Schedule With Addition Of WKRP, Sitcoms Online, March 5, 2012.
- Our Exclusive Interview with Antenna TV's Sean Compton; KTLA Preview of Antenna TV, Sitcoms Online, December 16, 2010.
- Antenna TV Launch Schedule Starting January 2011, Sitcoms Online, October 21, 2010.
- KTLA Preview of Antenna TV, Sitcoms Online, Retrieved February 11, 2011