TVGN

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Not to be confused with TVG Network.
TVGN
TVGN logo 2013.png
Launched 1981 (1981)
Owned by CBS Corporation
Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation
(50% each)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTV sets)
Slogan Hollywood Starts Here
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide (available in most areas)
Headquarters Hollywood, California
Formerly called Electronic Program Guide (1981–1993)
Prevue Guide (1988–1993)
Prevue Channel (1993–1999)
TV Guide Channel (1999–2007)
TV Guide Network (2007–2013)
Sister channel(s) Via CBS Corporation:
CBS
The CW
Showtime
The Movie Channel
Flix
Smithsonian Channel
CBS Sports Network
Via Lionsgate:
Epix
Website www.tvgn.tv
video.tvguide.com
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV Channel 273 (SD)
Dish Network Channel 117 (SD)
Cable
Verizon FiOS 694 (HD)
194 (SD)
Available on many other U.S. cable systems Consult your local cable provider for channel availability

TVGN (an initialism for the channel's former name "TV Guide Network") is an American cable and satellite television channel that is operated as a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Lions Gate Entertainment. Originally conceived as a channel that provides television program listings for cable and some satellite providers, TVGN now primarily programs a general entertainment format featuring a mix of original series, television- and entertainment-related specials, feature films, and acquired sitcoms and drama series.

As of August 2013, TVGN is available to approximately 77,294,000 pay television households (67.68% of households with at least one television set) in the United States.[1]

Overview[edit]

In keeping with both the original concept and the present-day refocusing of the channel, TVGN allows cable providers to offer the channel in one of two optional formats: one version of TVGN's programming feed allows the inclusion of a scrolling grid that is shown at the bottom third of the screen, listing the channels available on that particular television provider (for cable providers, the channels listed are usually those part of the provider's expanded basic tier, along with select channels on its digital service), coupled with the titles of the television programs and films those channels are currently showing and are expected to show in the following hour. Appearing in the top three-quarters of the screen is the network's programming, currently consisting mostly of reruns of television series from the 1980s to the 2000s as well as original series and specials; prior to 2012, TVGN primarily focused on entertainment-based programs featuring movie previews and celebrity news. For the gridded version, the majority of the network's audience consists of channel surfers looking to see what's on, and what's coming on next, on their respective cable and satellite providers' channel lineups.

Although its bottom-screen program listings grid continues to be the major feature of the channel, TVGN has attempted to reposition itself as a destination channel for television news and information, through its original series and specials. This is because internet-based TV listings websites, mobile applications and the on-screen interactive program guides (IPGs) built directly into most of today's cable and satellite set-top terminals, as well as into digital video recorders like TiVo, have mostly eliminated the need for a dedicated television listings channel by providing the same information in a speedier manner, and often in much more detail and with greater flexibility. TV Guide offers its own IPG software for digital cable boxes, called TV Guide Interactive, which is visually similar in its presentation to TVGN's bottom-screen program listings grid.

A gridless version of the channel, which displays all of the channel's programming full-screen, is offered to cable and satellite operators providing only digital television service and whose digital set top receivers already include integrated IPGs; though some digital cable providers use the scrolling grid version even if they use IPGs integrated within set top boxes. Optionally, some providers that offer both analog and digital television services may carry TVGN's full-screen feed through the provider's digital service, while the program grid is shown on a local origination channel for analog customers.

Most systems that use the gridded version of TVGN's programming carry the channel on a basic service (available at minimum on a "limited basic" programming tier – alongside local broadcast stations and public, educational and government access channels), though in some markets, the channel is only available from within the digital tiers of certain cable providers. As its programming is considered non-critical, many cable providers also use TVGN's channel space as a default Emergency Alert System conduit for transmitting warning information applicable to their local service areas, or as channel space for an alternate or overflow feed of a regional sports network for sports rights conflicts, though as dedicated HD channels have launched for the RSNs and new TVGN carriage agreements preclude EAS or RSN overflow use, this use has been negated.

History[edit]

1980s[edit]

Electronic program guide[edit]

Electronic Program Guide (EPG Sr).

Launched in 1981 by United Video Satellite Group, TVGN began its life as a simple electronic program guide (or EPG) software application sold to cable system operators throughout the United States and Canada. Known simply as the Electronic Program Guide, or the EPG for short, the software was designed to be run within the headend facility of each participating cable system on a single, custom-modified consumer-grade computer supplied by United Video. Its scrolling program listings grid, which cable system operators broadcast to subscribers on a dedicated channel, covered the entire screen and provided four hours of listings for each system's entire channel lineup, one half-hour period at a time. Because of this, listings for programs currently airing would often be several minutes away. Additionally, because the EPG software generated only video, cable operators commonly resorted to filling the EPG channel's audio with music from a local FM radio station, or with programming from a cable television-oriented audio service provider such as Cable Radio Network.

EPG Jr. unit featuring an Atari 130XE.

By 1985 and under the newly formed Trakker, Inc. unit of United Video Satellite Group, two versions of the EPG were offered: EPG Jr., a 16KB EPROM version which ran on various Atari models including the 130XE and 600XL, and EPG Sr., a 3½ bootable diskette version for the Amiga 1000. Raw program listings data for national cable networks, as well as for regional and local broadcast stations, were fed en masse from a mainframe based in Tulsa, Oklahoma to each EPG installation via a 2400 baud data stream on an audio subcarrier of WGN by United Video (the nationwide satellite distributor of the WGN superstation feed). By cherry-picking data from this master feed for only the networks its cable system actually carried, each EPG installation was able to generate a continuous visual display of program listings customized to its local cable system's unique channel lineup (data describing the unique channel lineup each EPG was to display also arrived via this master feed).

Both the EPG Jr. and EPG Sr. allowed cable operators to further customize their operation locally. Among other functions, the listings grid's scrolling speed could be changed, and local text-based advertisements could be inserted. Each text-based advertisement could be configured to display as either a "scroll ad" (appearing within the vertically scrolling listings grid between its half-hour cycles)[2] or as a "crawl ad" (appearing within a horizontally scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen).[3] If no advertisements were configured as "crawl ads," the bottom ticker would not be shown on-screen. The on-screen appearances of both the Jr. and Sr. versions of the EPG software differed only slightly, due primarily to differences in text font and extended ASCII graphic glyph character rendering between the underlying Atari and Amiga platforms.[4]

Because neither version of the EPG software was capable of silent remote administration for its locally customizable features, cable company employees were required to visit their headend facilities in order to make all necessary adjustments to the software in person. Consequently, EPG channel viewers would often see its otherwise continuous listings interrupted without warning each time a cable company technician brought up its administrative menus to adjust settings, view diagnostics information, or hunt-and-peck new local text advertisements into the menus' built-in text editor.[5]

The Atari-based EPG Jr. units were encased in blue rack enclosures containing custom-made outboard electronics, such as the Zephyrus Electronics Ltd. UV-D-2 demodulator board, which delivered data decoded from the WGN data stream to the Atari's 13 pin Serial Input/Output (SIO) handler port (the EPG Jr. software's EPROM was interfaced to the Atari's ROM cartridge port).

Split-screen electronic program guide[edit]

By the late 1980s, a software upgrade "option" was offered by United Video for the Amiga 1000-based EPG Sr. This updated version featured a program listings grid identical in appearance to that of the original EPG Sr. version, but confined it to the lower half of the screen. In this new split-screen configuration, which was the forerunner to Prevue Guide, the upper half of the screen displayed static or animated graphical advertisements and logos created locally by each cable system operator. Up to 64 such ads were supported by the software. Locally created text-based advertisements were still supported, however, they now also appeared in the top half of the screen – support for showing them within the listings grid as scrolling ads, or beneath it as crawling banner ads, had been removed.

Although most cable systems kept the original, full-screen EPG in operation well into the early 1990s, some systems with large numbers of subscribers opted for this upgraded version of EPG Sr. in order to exploit the revenue potential of its graphical local advertising capabilities. The Atari-based EPG Jr. was never afforded this split-screen upgrade and fell out of favor during the late 1980s as cable systems migrated to the full- or split-screen Amiga 1000-based EPG Sr., and later to the Amiga 2000-based Prevue Guide. However, the EPG Jr. remained in service as late as 2005 on a few small cable systems, as well as on a number of private cable systems operated by various hotel chains and certain housing and apartment complexes.

Prevue Guide[edit]

In 1988, United Video Holdings' Trakker, Inc. unit was renamed Prevue Networks, Inc. The split-screen version of the EPG Sr. software was further updated and renamed "Prevue Guide". Now running on the Amiga 2000, it displayed a split-screen listings grid visually identical to the upgraded EPG Sr.'s, but also supported – along with up to 128 locally inserted top-screen graphical advertisements – the display of video with accompanying sound in the top half of the screen.[6] Primarily promos for upcoming television shows, films and special events, these videos appeared in either the left or right halves of the top portion of the screen, coupled with supplementary information concerning the advertised program in the opposing halves (program title, channel, air date and time).

Prevue Guide Amiga 2000 unit (decommissioned).

Making the video integration possible were the Amiga 2000's native video compositing capabilities. All video (and associated audio) content was provided live by Prevue Networks via a special analog C-band satellite backhaul feed from Tulsa. This feed contained a national satellite listings grid in the bottom half of its picture (strictly as a courtesy for the era's C-band dish owners), with the top half of its picture divided horizontally in two, both halves showing promos for unrelated telecasts on different networks (sound for each half was provided in monoaural on the feed's respective left and right audio channels).

Within each cable system's headend facility, meanwhile, the Amiga 2000-powered Prevue Guide software overlaid the bottom half of the satellite feed's video frame with its own, locally generated listings grid. It also continuously chose which of the two simultaneously available promos in the top half of the satellite feed's picture to let local cable subscribers see, patching its audio through to them while visually blocking out the other promo (usually with text mentioning the title of the program that the promo was for, in addition to mentioning the cable channel and airtime the promoted program could be seen on locally). During periods where both of the satellite feed's simultaneous promos were for cable networks not carried by a local cable system, the local Prevue Guide software blocked out both, filling the entire top half of the screen with a local text or graphical advertisement instead (either an ad for a local or national business, or a promotion for a channel that the cable provider carried – displaying that channel's logo and supplementary information on the opposing sides in the upper half). The satellite feed's national scheduling grid was never meant to be seen by cable subscribers. On occasion, however, when a cable system's local Prevue Guide software crashed into Amiga Guru Meditation mode, subscribers would be exposed to the satellite feed's full video frame, letting them see not only the two disparate promos simultaneously running in its upper half, but perhaps more confusingly, the satellite transponder-oriented national listings grid in its lower half.[7]

Commercials – often for psychic hotlines – and featurettes produced by Prevue Networks, such as Prevue Tonight, that were voiced by Larry Hoefling[8] (who served as the network's announcer from 1989 to 1993), were also delivered via this satellite feed. For commercials, the top half of the feed's video frame would be completely filled out, with local cable system Prevue Guide installations letting it show through in full. The satellite feed also carried a third audio channel containing Prevue Guide theme music in an infinite loop. Local Prevue Guide installations would switch to this audio source during the display of local top-screen advertising, and when they crashed. Prevue Guide could additionally signal cable system video playback equipment to override the Prevue Networks satellite feed entirely with up to nine minutes of local, video-based advertising per hour. Few cable systems utilized this feature, however, owing to the need to produce special versions of their local advertisements wherein, as with the satellite feed itself, all action occurred only within the top half of the video frame.

Other features of Prevue Guide that were unavailable in the earlier full- and split-screen EPG Sr. versions were colorized listings backgrounds and program-by-program channel summaries. Between its already colored grid lines, which alternated blue, green, yellow and red with each half-hour listings cycle, each cable operator could choose to enable either red or light blue (rather than black) background colors for multiple channels of its choice. These backgrounds were usually used to highlight premium movie channels and pay-per-view services. Additionally, program-by-program channel summaries with light grey backgrounds, for up to four channels of each cable operator's choice, could be included within the scrolling grid. Appearing between each four-hour listings cycle, the names of channels (rather than times) would scroll up and slide into the grid's header bar one at a time, each followed by up to four hours worth of program-by-program listings for that channel alone. Prevue Guide could also display graphical weather icons, accompanied by local weather conditions, within its scrolling grid (as part of a segment known as Prevue Weather). These inserts were available to cable operators for an additional fee and appeared after each four-hour listings cycle.

By the early 1990s, United Video began encouraging cable systems still using either the full- or split-screen versions of the Amiga 1000-based EPG Sr. to upgrade to the Amiga 2000-based Prevue Guide. Active support for the Amiga 1000-based EPG Sr. installations was discontinued in 1993. Like the Amiga 1000-based EPG Sr., Prevue Guide also ran from bootable 3½ diskettes, and its locally customizable features remained configurable only from the local keyboard, subjecting viewers to the same on-screen maintenance-related interruptions by local cable company employees as before[9] (silent remote administration of locally customizable features would not be added until the "yellow grid" appeared shortly after the beginning of the TV Guide Channel era, when the Amiga platform was fully abandoned). To support Prevue Guide's new, satellite-delivered video and audio, each Amiga 2000 featured a UV Corp. UVGEN video/genlock card for the satellite feed's video and a Zephyrus Electronics Ltd model 100 rev. C demodulator/switching ISA card for manipulating the feed's audio. Also included were a Zephyrus Electronics Ltd. model 101 rev. C demodulator ISA card for the WGN data stream, and a Great Valley Products Zorro II A2000 HC+8 Series II card (used only for 2 MB of Fast RAM with SCSI disabled).[10] The 101C fed demodulated listings data at 2400 baud from a DE9 RS232 serial connector on its backpanel to the Amiga's stock DB25 RS232 serial port via a short cable. The 101C also featured connection terminals for contact closure triggering of external cable system video playback equipment.

1990s[edit]

Prevue Channel[edit]

Prevue Channel used from 1993 to 1999.

Beginning in late March 1993, Prevue Networks overhauled the Prevue Guide software once again, this time to modernize its appearance. Still operating on the same Amiga 2000 hardware, the old grid's black background with white text separated by colored lines gave way to a new, embossed-looking navy blue grid featuring 90 minutes of scheduling information for each channel. Arrow symbols were added to listings for programs whose start or end times stretched beyond that timeframe, and for viewer convenience, local cable operators could now configure the grid's scrolling action to momentarily pause for up to four seconds after each screenful of listings. Additionally, local cable operators could enable light grey sports and movie summaries within the grid. Appearing between each listings cycle, these showed all films and sporting events airing on any channel during the next 90 minutes.

The light grey program-by-program summaries for individual channels, red and light blue channel highlighting, and graphical "Prevue Weather" forecasts that were previously available to cable systems as optional grid features and inserts remained available in the same manners as before. Closed captioning, MPAA movie rating and VCR Plus+ logos were additionally introduced by this version of the software, and unlike in prior versions, large graphical Prevue Guide logos appeared within its grid, between listings cycles. The old, synthesized interstitial music that had been used since 1988 was also replaced with a more modern piece called "Opening Act," from the defunct James & Aster music library.

By late 1993, Prevue Guide was rebranded as "Prevue Channel", and an updated channel logo was unveiled to match. Beginning in early 1994 and up until its first couple of years as the TV Guide Channel, the network licensed production music (first at one minute lengths, later at 15- and 30-second lengths) from several music libraries for use as interstitial music. In 1996, the Prevue Channel logo was given a new eye-like design, and two years later, the classic Dodger-style typeface its logo had incorporated since 1988 was replaced with an italicized Univers, though Sneak Prevue continued to use the original logo font until it shut down in 2002. In 1997, Prevue Channel became the first electronic program guide to show formalized TV ratings symbols for Canada and the United States, which appeared alongside program titles within the listings grid, as well as in the supplementary scheduling information overlays accompanying promo videos in the top half of the screen.

During the mid-1990s, Prevue Networks also expanded beyond its Prevue Channel operation. In 1996, Prevue Networks introduced its first set top terminal-integrated digital IPG, Prevue Interactive, designed for the General Instruments DCT 1000. It was launched as part of TCI's first digital cable service offerings. In 1997, Prevue Networks and United Video Satellite Group also launched Prevue Online, a website providing local television listings, audio/video interviews and weather forecasts. Another website, PrevueNet, was also launched to provide more history and useful information for the Prevue Channel, as well as for Sneak Prevue, UVTV, and superstations WGN/Chicago and WPIX/New York City.

The new navy blue grid version of the Prevue Channel software was as crash-prone as previous ones. Flashing red Amiga "guru meditation" errors (with the raw satellite feed's dual promo windows and national satellite listings grid showing through from behind them) remained a frequent sight on many cable systems throughout the United States and Canada. While Prevue Networks' software engineers released regular patches to correct bugs, it simultaneously became clear that an entirely new hardware platform would soon be needed. New Amiga 2000 hardware was no longer being manufactured by Commodore, which filed for bankruptcy in 1994, and Prevue Networks began resorting to cannibalizing parts from second-hand dealers of used Amiga hardware in order to continue supplying and maintaining operational units. During periods where Amiga 2000 hardware availability proved insufficient, newer models such as the Amiga 3000 were used instead.[11] However, as those models' stock cases would not accept the company's large existing inventory of Zephyrus ISA demodulator cards, only their motherboards were used, in custom-designed cases with riser card and backplane modifications.

Towards the end of the decade, on February 9, 1998, Prevue Channel's programming was entirely revamped. New short-form "shows" were introduced to replace Prevue Tonight, FamilyVue and Intervue. These included Prevue This, Prevue Family (which like FamilyVue, focused on family-oriented programming), Prevue Sports (focusing on sports events and also included schedules for the day's sports events), Prevue TV, Prevue News and Weather (featuring national and international news headlines, and local weather forecasts) and Prevue Revue. Each segment lasted only a couple of minutes, but were shown twice every hour.[12]

TV Guide Channel[edit]

On June 11, 1998, News Corporation sold TV Guide to Prevue Networks parent United Video Satellite Group for $800 million and 60 million shares of stock worth an additional $1.2 billion (this followed an earlier merger attempt between the two companies in 1996 that eventually fell apart).[13][14][15] At midnight on February 1, 1999, the Prevue Channel was officially renamed to the "TV Guide Channel", and new graphics were implemented. With the rebranding, the hourly segments featured on the channel were revamped, with some being retitled after features in TV Guide magazine – including TV Guide Close-Up (which profiled a select program airing that night), TV Guide Sportsview (which maintained the same format as Prevue Sports, making the segment more similar in format to the listings section's sports guide than the color column of that name in the magazine) and TV Guide Insider (a segment featuring behind-the-scenes interviews).

TV Guide Channel unit (WinNT PC-based).

On October 5, 1999, Gemstar International Group Ltd. purchased United Video Satellite Group.[16] Finally, throughout December of that year on cable systems nationwide, a new yellow grid began replacing the navy blue grid that had presented channel listings to viewers for the past six years. The old navy blue grid was completely phased out by early January 2000. With the arrival of TV Guide Channel's yellow grid, all remaining vestiges of Prevue Channel had been eliminated: its Amiga-based hardware infrastructure was decommissioned, and purpose-built, Windows NT/2000 PCs employing custom-designed graphics/sound expansion cards were installed. With this new infrastructure additionally came the ability for local cable companies to perform silent remote administration of all their installations' locally customizable features, making live, on-screen guide maintenance interruptions by cable system technicians a thing of the past.

The yellow grid also eliminated the optional red and light blue background colors local cable operators were formerly able to assign various channels of their choices. In their place, universal, program genre-based background colors were introduced. Sporting events appeared with green backgrounds, and movies on all networks were given red backgrounds. Pay-per-view events additionally appeared with purple backgrounds. The light grey backgrounds which had formerly appeared in channel- and program genre-based summaries were also eliminated, with the aforementioned red, green, and purple color-coding now applying to those summaries as well.

Despite its elimination as the branding for the cable channel, the Prevue brand continued to be present in Canada in the form of various Prevue Interactive services, most of which were simply rebranded versions of TV Guide Interactive products;[17] as well as on the channel's pay-per-view barker service Sneak Prevue.

2000s[edit]

TV Guide Channel with its second blue grid (2003-2004).

A few years after Prevue Channel completed its transition to TV Guide Channel, the programming it featured changed drastically. Full-length shows were added, moving away from the typical model of showing television previews and other information. Starting in 2005, Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa Rivers began providing coverage for televised awards ceremonies such as the Emmy Awards and the Academy Awards. In 2007, the mother-daughter duo were unceremoniously dropped by TV Guide in favor of Lisa Rinna. Later, in 2007, Rinna was joined by fellow Dancing with the Stars alumnus Joey Fatone during awards coverage. On July 29, 2009, TV Guide announced that Rinna and Fatone had been replaced by the hosts of the channel's entertainment news program Hollywood 411, Chris Harrison (host of The Bachelor) and Carrie Ann Inaba (who serves as a judge on Dancing with the Stars).

Also with the transition from Prevue Channel to TV Guide Channel, the nature of the service's scrolling listings grid began to change. During broadcasts of the channel's original primetime series as well as during red carpet awards ceremony coverage, programming started appearing almost entirely full-screen, with a translucent, non-scrolling, two-line version of the channel's regular listings grid occupying only the extreme bottom of the frame. Semi-regular stylistic redesigns of the grid also occurred, and support was added for the display of locally inserted provider logos and graphical advertisements within it. Starting in 2004, light blue backgrounds began to appear on listings for children's programming, complimenting the red, green and purple background colors already applied to listings for films, sporting events, and pay-per-view programming respectively.

Because of Gemstar-TV Guide's dominant position within the television listings market, listings for TV Guide Channel's own original programming began to appear on the topmost lines of most television listings websites to which the company provided listings data, regardless of which channel number any given cable system carried it on. This also became the case with the print version of TV Guide (which had first begun including the channel in its log listings upon the 1999 rebrand to TV Guide Channel, before moving it exclusively to the grids in 2004, where it remained after the magazine switched to national listings the following year).

Rather than purchasing TV Guide Channel carriage rights, some services such as IO Digital Cable and Bright House Networks created their own scrolling listings grids, with IO's occasionally being interrupted by full-screen commercials, and otherwise featuring banner ads accompanied by music. Bright House's version featured a video inlay of a local news station instead of banner ads, with its overall on-screen presentation otherwise matching that of IO's. Other cable providers that did not carry TV Guide Channel carried a similar television listings channel provided by entertainment and listings website Zap2It. DirecTV did not begin carrying the TV Guide Channel until 2004, and began carrying it in an entirely full-screen format (without the bottom listings grid) in 2005. This was also the case with Dish Network, which aired the network in full-screen format to avoid duplication of its set top receiver-integrated IPG, also provided by Gemstar-TV Guide (another satellite provider, Primestar, had also carried the channel with the grid included, until it merged with DirecTV in 1999 shortly after the rebrand to TV Guide Network).

TV Guide Network[edit]

On April 30, 2007, Gemstar-TV Guide announced that beginning on June 4, 2007, TV Guide Channel would be rebranded as the "TV Guide Network". According to its press release, the move was intended to reflect "the continued evolution of the Channel from primarily a utility service to a more fully-developed television guidance and entertainment network with a continued commitment to high quality programming."

On May 2, 2008, Gemstar-TV Guide was acquired by Macrovision (now Rovi Corporation) for $2.8 billion.[18] Macrovision, which purchased Gemstar-TV Guide mostly to boost the value of its lucrative VCR Plus+ and electronic program guide patents, later stated that it was considering a sale of both TV Guide Network and the TV Guide print edition's namesake to other parties. On December 18 of that year, Macrovision announced that it had found a willing party for TV Guide Network in private equity firm One Equity Partners. The transaction included tvguide.com, with Macrovision retaining the IPG service.[19][20]

At the beginning of January 2009, the print edition of TV Guide quietly removed its listings for TV Guide Network (and several other broadcast and cable networks) over what the magazine's management described[21][22] as "space concerns". In actuality, the two entities had been forced apart by their new, individual owners, with promotions for the network ending in the magazine, and vice versa. TV Guide magazine journalists also no longer appeared on TV Guide Network. The top-line "plug" for the network did, however, remain intact on the websites of internet-based listings providers using TV Guide's EPG listings.

On January 5, 2009, Lionsgate announced its intent to purchase TV Guide Network and TV Guide Online for $255 million in cash. Lionsgate closed the transaction on March 2, 2009.[23] The following April, Lionsgate announced plans to revamp the network into a more entertainment-oriented channel, including plans to discontinue the bottom-screen scrolling program listings grid that has been a part of the channel since its inception in late 1981;[24][25][26] Following the announcement, Mediacom announced that it would be dropping the network.[27] Time Warner Cable also dropped the network from its Texas systems.[28]

2010s[edit]

Former TV Guide Network logo, used from March 2010 to April 14, 2013.

On July 1, 2010, TV Guide Network's scrolling grid was given an extensive facelift; the grid was shrunk to the bottom one-quarter of the screen, the channel listings were reduced from two lines to one (with the channel number now being placed to the right of the channel ID code), the color-coding for programs of specific genres (such as children's shows, movies and sports) was removed, synopses for films were dropped and much like with the featured included in the Amiga 2000-generated grid, a four-second pause for the grid's scrolling function was added after each listed row of four channels. Despite the change, the non-scrolling grid (which was the same height as the restyled scrolling grid) continued to be used for primetime programming for a time.

Later that month on July 24, TV Guide Network introduced a new non-scrolling grid used for primetime programming, which was later dropped with providers using the scrolling grid during the time period. On August 3, 2010, the scrolling grid was changed once again, with the pausing function being applied to each channel, and size of the listing rows returning to two lines (in some areas, the grid with remained three lines, thus cutting off half of the second listing). On October 17, 2010, the color of the scrolling grid was changed to black the listing rows reverting to one line (although some cable systems still use the previous grid as of March 2014).

By May 2009, 35% of households carried the network's programming without the grid; by late 2011, 75% of the systems carrying the channel were showing its programming full-screen.[29] By January 2013, that number increased to 83%, and it is expected that by the following year, 90% of households will be viewing the network in full-screen mode, without the grid listings.[30] In 2011, TV Guide Network dramatically overhauled its programming, abandoning most of its original shows and switching its focus to reruns of programming primarily from the 1990s and 2000s.

In January 2012, upon Lionsgate's acquisition of Summit Entertainment, it was announced that the channel was for sale.[31] That year, CBS Corporation considered buying the network. In March 2013, CBS and Lionsgate entered into a 50/50 joint venture to operate the network, to coincide with the former firm's intention to buy One Equity Partners' share of its other TV Guide interests.[32] The deal, worth $100 million, closed on March 26, 2013.[33]

TVGN[edit]

In January 2013, it was announced that TV Guide Network would be renamed TVGN.[30] The name change and new logo, which de-emphasizes the channel's ties to TV Guide Magazine took effect on April 15, 2013. It is unknown with CBS's purchase of One Equity Partners' stake in the channel as to whether the TVGN rebranding will remain in place or if a new name will be brought forward over time. The immediate effect of the purchase by CBS saw the summer series Big Brother After Dark move from Showtime 2 to TVGN, along with same-day repeats of The Young and the Restless moving to the network from Soapnet, which ceased operations at the end of 2013. Fellow CBS soap The Bold and the Beautiful soon also joined the TVGN lineup, along with eventual same-week repeats of Survivor and The Amazing Race, and repeats of CBS event programming such as the Grammy Awards. CBS Television Distribution's syndicated newsmagazine Entertainment Tonight now packages and produces all of TVGN's red carpet coverage as a cable extension of that program, though TVGN's existing programming agreements with competing program/website PopSugar continue to be maintained.

A high definition simulcast feed of the network (broadcasting in the 1080i format) was also launched that year; it was added to various providers as part of the renewals of TVGN's carriage contracts. The high definition feed only carries the channel's entertainment programming, with no overlays or hardware used to provide listings information.

Color schemes[edit]

Genre color-coding[edit]

On TV Guide Network until July 1, 2010 and currently in Gemstar-TV Guide's set top box-integrated EPG service TV Guide Interactive, program genres are indicated on-screen by color:

  • General programming: Gray (displayed as dark blue in the EPG)
  • Children's shows: Light blue
  • Sports programming: Green
  • Movies: Purple on pay-per-view channels; red on broadcast stations, basic and premium channels (displayed as purple in the EPG, for all channels)
TV Guide Network uses various colors to differentiate different types of programming. Here, green indicates a NASCAR sports program while purple denotes a film, The Faculty.

On TVGN itself, during the weeks prior to the Emmys, shows that have been nominated were also highlighted in gold. The same gold highlighting could be seen during the lead-up to the Academy Awards, however only for movies that have won in the past. Titles for other special programs used various types of graphical treatment within the grid cells; for example, programs aired as part of the Discovery Channel's Shark Week event had a bubbly water graphical scheme; during the lead-up to Halloween, horror movie titles featured spiderwebs in their schemes, and holiday movie titles listed during December were blue and snow-covered. Similar important shows and/or premieres have had other special graphical schemes added to their grid cells.

Due to a restructuring of TV Guide Network's scrolling grid on July 1, 2010 that saw the grid being shrunk to the lower third of the screen, grey is now used as the color code for all programming with genre-based color-coding being relegated exclusively to the TV Guide Interactive IPG service.

Grid color history[edit]

On the TVGN channel, in its various iterations, the following colors have been used for the listings grid:

  • Black (during the Amiga-based EPG and Prevue Guide years prior to mid-1993)
  • Navy blue (during the Amiga-based Prevue Guide, Prevue Channel and TV Guide Channel years of 1993–2000)
  • Yellow (during the TV Guide Channel years of 2000–2003)
  • Blue (during the TV Guide Channel years of 2003–2004)
  • Teal (during the TV Guide Channel years of 2004–2005)
  • Grey (during the TV Guide Channel, TV Guide Network and TVGN years of 2005–present)

Between the late 1980s and 1999, local cable operators could configure listings for certain channels to appear with alternate background colors (their choice of red or light blue). Light grey backgrounds were additionally used for channel- and program genre-based listings summaries, when enabled by local cable operators. Beginning with the yellow grid in 1999, all such coloring was discarded in favor of program genre-based coloring which affected all channels and summaries. Listings for movies featured red backgrounds, pay-per-view events bore purple backgrounds, and sporting events featured green backgrounds. Starting in 2004, light blue backgrounds were additionally applied to listings for children's programming.

Programming[edit]

Network slogans[edit]

Prevue Guide and Prevue Channel[edit]

  • Just What You're Looking For. (1988–1992)
  • We Are What's On. (1992–1995)
  • Before You View, Prevue! (1993–1995, alternate; 1995–1999, primary)
  • Prevue...See What's On (1995–1997, secondary)
  • Prevue First! (1998–1999; secondary)

TV Guide Channel/Network[edit]

  • Change the Way You Channel (1999–2001)
  • Don't Miss a Thing (2001–2004)
  • Original Shows, Original Channel, TV Guide Channel. (2004–2007)
  • America's Television Headquarters (2007–2010)
  • Original Shows, Original Network, TV Guide Network (2007–2010, secondary)
  • Eat. Sleep. Watch. (2010–2013)

TVGN[edit]

  • Hollywood Starts Here. (2013–present)

Related service[edit]

Sneak Prevue[edit]

Main article: Sneak Prevue

In 1991, Prevue Networks launched Sneak Prevue, a spin-off barker channel that was exclusively used to promote programming on a provider's pay-per-view services; it displayed full-screen promos (augmented by graphics displaying scheduling and ordering information) and a schedule of upcoming films and events airing on each pay-per-view channel based on either airtime or genre. The channel was also driven by Amiga 2000 hardware, and its software was as crash-prone as the Prevue Guide software itself. TV Guide Network ceased operations of Sneak Prevue in 2002.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 23, 2013). "List of How Many Homes Each Cable Networks Is In - Cable Network Coverage Estimates As Of August 2013". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ Video: Electronic Program Guide (full-screen Sr. version) operating normally with scroll ads, YouTube
  3. ^ Video: Electronic Program Guide (full-screen Sr. version) operating normally with crawl ads, YouTube
  4. ^ Video: Electronic Program Guide (full-screen Jr. version) operating normally with scroll and crawl ads, YouTube
  5. ^ Video: Electronic Program Guide (full-screen Sr. version) interrupted by local cable technician adding text advertisement, YouTube
  6. ^ Video: Prevue Guide operating normally, YouTube
  7. ^ Video: Prevue Guide crashed, then rebooting, exposing raw satellite feed video, YouTube
  8. ^ "Local business owner familiar with book biz". Tulsa World. 2006-11-22. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  9. ^ Video: Prevue Guide interrupted by local cable technician adding text advertisement, YouTube
  10. ^ Forum posting: Prevue Guide Amiga 2000 hardware specifications, amiga.org
  11. ^ Forum posting: Prevue Guide Amiga 3000 hardware sighting, amiga.org
  12. ^ Prevue Channel 1998 Promo.
  13. ^ News Lite: TV Guide Deal Sets Up Broadcast Opportunity, Los Angeles Daily News, June 12, 1998. Retrieved on February 12, 2014 from HighBeam Research
  14. ^ The $2 Billion Acquisition of TV Guide, Folio, January 1, 1999. Retrieved on February 13, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
  15. ^ United Video, News Corp. call the whole thing off; TV Guide, Preview Guide merger collapses, Broadcasting & Cable, September 2, 1996. Retrieved on February 12, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
  16. ^ Electronic Rival To Buy TV Guide, The Washington Post, October 5, 1999. Retrieved on February 12, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
  17. ^ Prevue Interactive's "i-Guide", The Internet Archive (2007)
  18. ^ Macrovision to purchase TV Guide Gemstar fetches $2.8 billion, Oakland Tribune, December 8, 2007. Retrieved on February 12, 2014 from HighBeam Research.
  19. ^ Article: Macrovision finds willing partner for TV Guide Network in One Equity Partners, Macrovision (expired link)
  20. ^ "Macrovision, Allen Shapiro and One Equity Partners Announce Agreement for Sale of TV Guide Network". Macrovision. December 12, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  21. ^ Article: Dave on Demand: 'Mentalist' showed powers only in ratings, philly.com (expired link)
  22. ^ Schneider, Michael (January 12, 2009). Schneider, Michael (January 12, 2009). "TV Guide drops CW, MTV listings". Variety. Retrieved July 18, 2010. 
  23. ^ Article: Lionsgate, Macrovision Close TV Guide Network Deal; Multichannel.com; 2009-03-02
  24. ^ Article: Advertising Age: "TV Guide Channel to Ditch the Scroll: Revamp Includes Original Programming for TV Fans", 4/1/2009.
  25. ^ Article: MediaPost: "TV Guide Channel Plans Original Programming:, 4/2/2009.
  26. ^ Article: TV Week: "TV Guide Channel Expands Mandate With Series, Movies", 4/2/2009.
  27. ^ Article: Cable will drop Dubuque TV guide, TH Online
  28. ^ Article: Beaumont Enterprise: "Time Warner drops TV Guide Channel", 4/7/2009.
  29. ^ Reynolds, Mike (December 18, 2011). "TV Guide Network to Bow 'Hollywood Moms Night,' 'Wilson Phillips' Reality Series in 2012". Multichannel News. Retrieved December 19, 2011. 
  30. ^ a b Deadline.com
  31. ^ "TV Guide is shown the gate". New York Post. January 16, 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  32. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "CBS Poised To Buy Half Of TV Guide, Partner With Lionsgate." Deadline.com (March 22, 2013)
  33. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "It’s Official: CBS Acquires Half Of TV Guide, Partners With Lionsgate." Deadline.com (March 26, 2013)

External links[edit]