|Type||Broadcast television network|
|Availability||Nationwide (available on OTA digital television and LPTV in most markets; also via satellite and AT&T U-verse)|
|Slogan||Memorable Entertainment Television|
|Key people||Neal Sabin
(Vice Chairman, Weigel Broadcasting)
|Launch date||January 1, 2005
March 1, 2008
December 15, 2010
April 1, 2013
|Picture format||480i (SDTV) (January 1, 2005 –present)|
Me-TV (stylized as MeTV, and serving as a backronym for its on-air slogan "Memorable Entertainment Television") is an American broadcast television network that is owned by Weigel Broadcasting and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The network, identified as 'The Definitive Destination for Classic TV', mainly airs classic television sitcoms and drama series from the 1950s through the 1980s. Through its ownership by Weigel, the national Me-TV network is a sister network to Movies!, which focuses on films from the 1930s to the 2000s (it was the former sister network of This TV, which runs a limited amount of classic television series, until Weigel's ownership interest was taken over by Tribune Broadcasting on November 1, 2013).
The national network primarily airs series from the CBS Television Distribution and 20th Television libraries, and several shows from other libraries. Me-TV is designed to be broadcast on the digital subchannels of local stations; though some stations carry Me-TV as their primary channel affiliation, and a small number of stations air select programs from the network alongside their regular general entertainment schedules. Along with This TV, it is also available nationwide on free-to-air C-band satellite via SES-1 in DVB-S format.
Beginnings in Chicago
Me-TV originated on January 6, 2003 as a programming block that aired from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on WFBT-CA (channel 23) in Chicago, Illinois, which otherwise featured an ethnic programming format. Shows featured in the block included The Jack Benny Program, Sergeant Bilko, The Carol Burnett Show, Maude and One Day at a Time, though the lineup changed occasionally.
On January 1, 2005, Weigel rechristened the Chicago ethnic station as WWME-CA, with the Me-TV format being adopted full-time. The station's former ethnic programming and WFBT-CA call letters moved to channel 48. On March 1, 2008, that station became WMEU-CA and became MeToo, an extension of WWME's Me-TV format, maintaining a wide variety of off-network sitcoms and drama series from a variety of distributors (similar to the former local Me-TV format on WWME, but differing from the limited distributor output of the present-day national Me-TV network). The two low-power stations also are broadcast locally on digital subchannels of Weigel's flagship station WCIU-TV (channel 26). Initially, the two stations ran similar schedules, but by 2008, one would air only sitcoms while the other aired only dramas.
On September 14, 2009, the two stations carved their own identities, as Me-TV on WWME began to run only off-network sitcoms (such as The Bernie Mac Show, All in the Family, The Three Stooges and Frasier), while MeToo on WMEU began running only off-network drama series (such as Perry Mason, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Twilight Zone).
Weigel expanded Me-TV to the third digital subchannel of the company's CBS affiliate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, WDJT (channel 58), on March 1, 2008. The Milwaukee version of the station featured much of the same programming, with some differing programs and timeslots.
On April 21, 2008, Weigel moved the Me-TV programming to its own dedicated full-powered channel, the newly acquired WJJA (channel 49) in Racine, changing the call letters to WBME-TV, and later began transmitting the station's signal from a new digital transmitter on the Weigel tower in Milwaukee's Lincoln Park. Me-TV continued to be carried on digital channel 58.3 until November 1, 2008, with the launch of This TV on the same channel. The station also airs public affairs programming including Racine & Me, and because of their full-power status, E/I programming such as WCIU's Green Screen Adventures and Saved by the Bell.
On November 22, 2010, Weigel announced that it would take the Me-TV concept national and turn it into a full-fledged network with a standardized schedule, available to any station wishing to affiliate; as a result, Me-TV would compete fully with the Retro Television Network and Antenna TV, while complementing successful sister network This TV, which carries library product from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and (until Tribune Broadcasting took over Weigel's operational interest in This TV on November 1, 2013) Cookie Jar Entertainment. The national Me-TV network launched on December 15, 2010. As with This TV, MGM handles the distribution of the network.
As part of the standardization with the new network, Chicago's local version of Me-TV merged with MeToo, airing both comedy and drama programming together under the MeToo brand as a locally-programmed service. The national Me-TV airs on WCIU subchannel 26.3 and WWME-CA, while the new MeToo moved to WCIU subchannel 26.4 and remained on WMEU-CA. The local MeToo channel on WMEU in Chicago aired a broader variety of programming than the national version, as MeToo locally continued to carry both classic and recent programs, while acquired programming on the national Me-TV network is limited to series that debuted prior to 1985. The MeToo format on WMEU lasted until November 1, 2013, when it was converted into an standalone extension of WCIU's "The U Too" subchannel, which carries a general entertainment independent station format with some classic series remaining on the schedule.
Low-powered WBME-CD in Milwaukee carries the entire national feed of Me-TV on channel 41.1; as a full-power station (prior to an August 2012 station license swap that saw sister station WMLW move to full-power channel 49, while WBME moved to low-power channel 41), Weigel in Milwaukee planned to launch their own locally-programmed MeToo subchannel for an early 2011 debut, though this never occurred due to the Memorial Day 2013 launch of sister network Movies!, which took the proposed 49.3 channel slot. Weigel-owned WBND-LD in South Bend began carrying the network on its subchannel 57.2 on December 15, 2010.
Me-TV's program schedule relies on the extensive library of television programs that are currently owned by CBS Television Distribution and 20th Television; as such, no originally-produced programming appears on the network, though two programs produced by parent company Weigel Broadcasting (Svengoolie and Green Screen Adventures) do air on Me-TV. The network's primary continuity announcer is Chicago-based voice-over artist Carol Gallagher, who has served as Me-TV's staff announcer since its existence as a local programming format on WWME-CA and WMEU-CA, prior to its establishment as a national network; longtime voice-over artist Richard Malmos, who has been the continuity announcer for Weigel's flagship station WCIU since December 1994, is the network's secondary announcer.
The network does not air a split-screen credit sequence or feature voiceovers promoting upcoming network programming during the closing credits (borrowing a format common in local broadcast syndication). Some Me-TV affiliates may not air certain programs due to either airing newscasts, infomercials, public affairs programming, locally-acquired syndicated programming, or in some cases another station in the market having the local syndication rights to a particular program. To address this, Me-TV program promotions display the fine print notation "On most Me-TV stations" during the timeslot card.
Classic television series
Me-TV has program licensing agreements with 20th Television (which includes series produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Four Star Television and MTM Enterprises), CBS Television Distribution (which includes most of the Paramount Television library that was acquired by CBS Television Distribution following the 2006 split of CBS and Viacom into separate companies, along with series from Desilu Productions, Bing Crosby Productions, Don Fedderson Productions, QM Productions, Spelling Television and Republic Pictures Television); Me-TV also shares broadcast rights to programs from the NBCUniversal Television Distribution library (including shows from Universal Television, Revue Studios, NBC Studios and MCA Television) as well as select titles from Sony Pictures Television with Antenna TV, and select titles from the Peter Rodgers Organization (with the Retro Television Network) and Warner Bros. Television Distribution.
The network's programming covers a mix of sitcoms, dramas, and westerns from the 1950s to the 1980s and includes series such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Kojak, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Perry Mason, The Brady Bunch, Batman, The Bob Newhart Show, I Love Lucy, The Beverly Hillbillies, M*A*S*H, Leave It to Beaver and Gilligan's Island; most of the series airing on the network have been widely syndicated on other television outlets in the United States and abroad, though a few series featured on the network (such as Combat!, Petticoat Junction and The Phil Silvers Show) have not been seen on television for several years or were syndicated on a fairly inconsistent basis.
Me-TV's Most Wanted: A seven hour block of westerns airing every Saturday from 11 A.M. to 6 P.M. Eastern. Shows in the lineup are: The Rebel, Wagon Train (90 minute seventh season), Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Rawhide, Wanted: Dead or Alive, and The Rifleman.
Sci-Fi Saturday Nights: A five hour block of science fiction shows airing every Saturday night from 8 P.M. to 1 A.M. Eastern. Shows in the lineup are: Wonder Woman, Star Trek, Svengoolie, and Lost in Space.
Catch Me If You Can: A six and a half hour block of detective shows from the 1970s airing every Sunday afternoon from 3 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. Eastern. The shows in the lineup are: Remington Steele, The Streets of San Francisco, Cannon, The Rockford Files, Kojak, and Columbo.
Sunday Night Noir: A seven hour block of black and white detective and suspense shows airing every Sunday night from 10 P.M. to 5 A.M. Eastern. The shows in the lineup are: Thriller, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Fugitive, Naked City, Peter Gunn, Mr. Lucky, Route 66, and The Saint.
Despite access to program content from the Universal Television, Paramount Television and 20th Century Fox libraries, movies have a relatively limited presence on Me-TV's weekly schedule. The only feature film content presently airing on Me-TV are Saturday evening airings of the Rich Koz-hosted horror and science fiction film showcase Svengoolie, which is syndicated by sister independent station WCIU-TV and features film releases from Universal Studios, and Sunday morning airings of Laurel and Hardy movies and shorts that are distributed by Sonar Entertainment. In September 2013, Me-TV debuted a Friday primetime film block called "The Me-TV Made for TV Movie," which showcases made-for-television films from the 1970s to the 1990s that were originally seen on NBC, ABC and CBS.
In order to meet the FCC's required weekly amount of educational children's program content, Me-TV carries Green Screen Adventures, Weigel's Chicago-based program originally meant for local viewing, as well as various syndicated children's and teen-oriented programs such as Mystery Hunters, Travel Thru History and the Canadian teen drama series Edgemont, all of which air on weekend mornings. In September 2013, Me-TV began customizing its weekend morning lineup in order to allow its affiliates to choose between running both the Saturday and Sunday E/I blocks, or running the children's lineup on one weekend day and a three-hour block of classic sitcoms in place of the children's programs on the other, allowing stations to fulfill educational programming quotas by running the minimum three-hour requirement or an overall total of six hours of E/I content.
Me-TV also previously ran a children's program block on Saturday mornings called "AniMeTV", that was handled by New York City-based Classic Media (which, along with NBCUniversal, Nelvana and Scholastic Entertainment, previously co-owned the digital multicast network Qubo in conjunction with Ion Media Networks). The three-hour block debuted on April 7, 2012, and featured animated series such as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power, along with Gumby and Mr. Magoo animated shorts. The block officially ended on October 6, 2012. Me-TV began airing the cult classic Sid & Marty Krofft productions H.R. Pufnstuf and Land of the Lost during the 2013 Christmas season, the shows became part of the regular Saturday morning lineup on December 28, 2013.
As of 2013[update], Me-TV had current or pending affiliation agreements with television stations in over 147 television markets in 46 states, covering approximately 89% of the United States, making Me-TV the largest subchannel network by population reach percentage (a distinction once held by sister network This TV); of these affiliates, several stations have carried the network as a formal primary channel affiliation and two are general entertainment stations that air select Me-TV programs on a tape-delayed basis. Me-TV currently does not have affiliates either within or overlapping any part of Alaska and Vermont. Like former sister network This TV, many of Me-TV's affiliates include regional descriptors reflecting the station's primary broadcast area underneath the on-screen logo bug displayed during the network's programming (these descriptors are also used in the customized station identifications shown at the top of each hour between programs or during commercial breaks, which differ from the silent lower third in-program IDs seen on This TV). Some stations, such as Atlanta's WSB-TV and Tampa's WFLA-TV, display customized logos using slight adaptations of their regular logos with the subchannel number below the main Me-TV logo bug. Others display their calls and city of license in the Me-TV bug full-time just in case the ID sequence malfunctions in some manner.
On January 7, 2011, KCTU-LD/Wichita, Kansas became the first television station not owned by Weigel to carry the Me-TV network. However, that station's affiliation with the network lasted only about one week and ended after KCTU-LD and Me-TV could not come to terms on a contract. In early 2011, Bahakel Communications became the first non-Weigel station group to sign selected stations to carry Me-TV on their digital subchannels, with subchannels of WCCB (Charlotte, North Carolina) and WOLO-TV (Columbia, South Carolina) adding the network in early March of that year. On April 4, 2011, it was announced that Me-TV had signed agreements with 14 broadcasting companies, most notably Hearst Television, Raycom Media, Cox Media Group, Media General and Titan Broadcast Management, to begin airing Me-TV.
Me-TV affiliates in certain markets may not air every program on the network's lineup; as examples, two of Me-TV's digital subchannel-only affiliates carry its programming on a secondary basis while nominally serving as a primary affiliate of a major broadcast network due to a media market not having enough stations for a standalone main channel affiliation; the third digital subchannel of WBBJ-TV/Jackson, Tennessee holds a primary affiliation with CBS, while the second subchannel of WIBW-TV/Topeka, Kansas is primarily affiliated with MyNetworkTV. Some of Me-TV's full-time affiliates where it is carried on a subchannel of a network-affiliated station (such as WLKY-TV/Louisville and WBAL/Baltimore) also preempt select Me-TV programs during certain morning and primetime slots in favor of local newscasts that are produced for the subchannel by that station's news department.
In the largest U.S. television market, New York City, the local affiliate preempts certain Me-TV programs in favor of locally-produced, acquired or time-brokered programming (New York City affiliate WZME/Bridgeport, Connecticut preempts much of Me-TV's morning and late night schedule, replacing those programs with infomercials; similarly, former Dallas affiliate KTXD-DT/Greenville, Texas aired mostly syndicated series and locally-produced programs in those slots). WGCB-TV/Red Lion, Pennsylvania offers blocks of the network's programming on its main channel's regular schedule, while running the full Me-TV network feed on a separate subchannel, a situation also mirrored by WBBZ-TV/Springville, New York (which serves the Buffalo market) and by former affiliate KTXD. On December 13, 2012, Me-TV became available on AT&T U-verse in some markets, available on channel 136.
- Movies! - sister network owned by Weigel Broadcasting and Fox Television Stations, specializing in feature films only.
- Retro Television Network - competing digital broadcast network owned by Luken Communications specializing in classic TV series from the 1950s to the 1970s.
- Antenna TV - competing digital broadcast network owned by Tribune Broadcasting specializing in classic TV series from the 1950s to the 1990s.
- Cozi TV - competing digital broadcast network owned by NBCUniversal specializing in classic TV series from the 1950s to the 1980s, along with programming from forerunner network NonStop.
- Bounce TV - digital broadcast network with similarly styled retro programming/movies specifically targeting African-American audiences.
- GetTV - competing digital broadcast network owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment specializing in classic movies from America's golden age.
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- "SES 1 at 101.0°W". Lyngsat. 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- Feder, Robert (January 3, 2003). "'ME-TV' joins 'The U' on Weigel's local menu". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 31, 2012. (preview of subscription content)
- Cuprisin, Tim (February 7, 2008). "TV Goes All-Local On the Storm, But with Limited Visibility of Wider World". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2008-10-06.
- Rosenthal, Phil (November 22, 2010). "Weigel Broadcasting Taking Me-TV National". Tower Ticker (Chicago Tribune).
- Updates on Me-TV National Network, Plus Local Me-TV/Me-Too; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows, Sitcoms Online, December 10, 2010
- Our Exclusive Interview With Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin; Sitcom Stars On Talk Shows, Sitcoms Online, December 17, 2010
- "Channel Grid". WCIU-TV. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- Me-TV Announces New Shows on Fall Schedule Including NBCUniversal Series "Kojak," "The Rockford Files," & "Columbo", The Futon Critic, September 20, 2011.
- Me-TV and Broadcast Partners Set Deal, TVNewsCheck, January 23, 2012.
- "Me-TV Spring Schedule Changes". April 7, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
- "Me-TV: AniMeTV". April 28, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
- Me-TV Network - Sid & Marty Krofft Retrieved November 23, 2013
- "RabbitEars.Info". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
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- "BRAND NEW!! All the...". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
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- "Where to watch Me-TV: WBBJ". Me-TV.
- Knox, Merrill (November 7, 2011). "Jackson, TN Will Get CBS Affiliate In January 2012". TVSpy. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- Blankenship, Bill (September 5, 2012). "WIBW 13.2 to switch from My TV to Me-TV". Topeka Capital-Journal.