TV Land

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This article is about the American cable specialty channel. For the Canadian cable specialty channel known as TV Land Canada from 2001-2010, see Comedy Gold (TV channel).
TV Land
TV Land 2012.svg
Launched April 29, 1996 (1996-04-29)
Owned by Viacom Media Networks
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Slogan Laugh More
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters New York City, New York
Sister channel(s) MTV, VH1, CMT, Nickelodeon, TeenNick, Nick Jr., Nicktoons
Timeshift service TV Land East
TV Land West
Website www.tvland.com
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV Channel 304 (HD/SD)
1304 (VOD)
Dish Network Channel 106 (SD only)
C-Band - H2H/4DTV AMC 18 - Channel 215 (until October 12, 2011)
Cable
Verizon FiOS Channel 741 (HD)
Channel 244 (SD)
Available on most other U.S. cable systems Consult your local cable provider for channel availability
IPTV
AT&T U-verse Channel 1138 (HD)
Channel 138 (SD)

TV Land (stylized as TVland and originally known as "Nick at Nite's TV Land" from April to December 1996) is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by the MTV Networks Entertainment Group, a unit of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom. Originally consisting exclusively of classic television shows, the channel now airs a combination of recent and classic television series (ranging from the 1960s to the 2000s), original scripted and reality series, and theatrically released movies. The network is headquartered at One Astor Plaza in New York City.

As of August 2013, TV Land is available to approximately 96,282,000 pay television households (84.31% of households with at least one television set) in the United States.[1]

History[edit]

TV Land launched on April 29, 1996,[2] as a 24-hour offshoot of Nickelodeon's successful nighttime classic television block Nick at Nite, which debuted in July 1985. The network initially featured a mix of a classic and short-lived television series from the 1950s through the 1980s – many of which came from the Paramount Television library, which was owned at the time by network parent Viacom as a result of its 1994 purchase of Paramount Pictures (Paramount's programming library is now owned by CBS Corporation through CBS Television Distribution) – including situation comedies, dramas and variety series.[3] The phrase "TV Land" was originally coined on the 1960s animated series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,[citation needed] in which Bullwinkle often introduced his "Bullwinkle's Corner" segments with the greeting, "Hello out there in TV Land!"; a soundbite of Bullwinkle's phrase was occasionally used in TV Land's on-air promotions. The phrase was then used by Nick at Nite in the 1980s as the name of the fictional place where the channel received its classic programming block, and was utilized in slogans such as "Nick at Nite: Hello Out There From TV Land!" for much of that decade. However, Nick at Nite quit using the term in its own branding campaigns once the TV Land network launched, in order to prevent viewers from confusing the two separate channels.

TV Land's original logo used from April 29, 1996 to December 31, 2000; the "Nick at Nite's" prefix accompanied it in full-time usage until December 31, 1996, and was used sparingly thereafter.
TV Land logo used from January 1, 2001 to November 23, 2009.
TV Land logo used from November 24, 2009 to May 8, 2012.

Programs featured on the network during its inaugural year included Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, The Ed Sullivan Show, Gunsmoke and The Honeymooners. TV Land also initially ran a block of detective series every Saturday, including Honey West, Dog and Cat, Burke's Law, the 1981 Nero Wolfe series and Ace Crawford, Private Eye. The channel also ran a block of westerns that aired on the network for several years called "TV Land Goes West", which featured shows such as Shane, Barbary Coast, Have Gun, Will Travel and Best of the West. It also aired two comedy blocks: "Hooterville Saturday" featuring episodes of Petticoat Junction and Green Acres; and "Sunday in the Barracks," featuring military-themed sitcoms The Phil Silvers Show and Hogan's Heroes.[4]

Although the channel launched during a time when retransmission consent was becoming more common amongst cable networks and broadcast television stations nationwide due to a provision in the 1992 Cable Act, MTV Networks chose to offer TV Land to cable providers for free for its five years of operation, as long as they added the channel to their expanded basic tiers during the 1996 calendar year.[5]

Shortly after TV Land's debut, MCA filed a lawsuit against Viacom.[6] Because MCA's original agreement with Paramount Pictures to operate USA Network prohibited either partner from operating other cable networks outside the joint venture, Viacom had been in breach of contract ever since the company bought Paramount in 1994, because it had operated MTV Networks (whose holdings include Nickelodeon, MTV and VH1) since its founding in 1983 and Showtime Networks (owners of Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix, all of which are now owned by CBS Corporation) since it was founded in 1985. MCA claimed that the intention of TV Land was to compete directly with USA (this turned out to be true[7]). Viacom claimed that the matter had already been settled when Sumner Redstone released Frank Biondi from his contract to let him work at MCA.[8] The suit was eventually settled when Viacom agreed to sell its 50% stake in USA Networks to MCA (MCA later became Universal Studios, formerly just a subsidiary, which eventually merged with NBC and later, Comcast).

In 1997, TV Land partnered with TV Guide for a feature in the magazine and a special on the network, ranking the 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 1999, TV Land entered into a deal with Universal Television that allowed the channel to "cherry-pick" from a variety of series including Emergency!, Kojak and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.

In February 1999, according to Nielsen ratings data, TV Land's averaged a 1.0 share during primetime, tying ESPN for 10th place among all cable networks. Its siblings, MTV and VH1, respectively tied for 17th and 26th place. Columnist John Dempsey reported in Variety, "That February rating put TV Land into the top 10 for the first time since it began operating, and opened the eyes of the cable industry to the rich vein of golden-oldie TV shows that distributors are mining for an audience of nostalgia buffs and kids who are stumbling across the series for the first time."[9]

In the early 2000s, TV Land aired special program blocks on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day (beginning on December 31, 2001): the final day of the year revolved around final episodes of classic television series, and the first day of the new year exclusively featured pilot episodes. On January 1, 2001, the network introduced a streamlined logo, which traded the uneven-ness of the original design for a more rigid form, and restricted the wedge serif type to the "TV" and the sans serif type to the "LAND" in the logo. TV Land celebrated its 10th anniversary on April 29, 2006. On December 17, 2006, MTV Networks (which was renamed Viacom Media Networks in 2011) began operating TV Land as part of its Kids & Family Group unit, with Nickelodeon taking over operational duties for Nick at Nite, which in turn had previously maintained oversight of TV Land since its launch.

The network's original continuity announcer was DJ Dan Ingram; Ingram was replaced by Harry Shearer, who served as the primary announcer for the network's promotions from 2001 to 2010. In 2008, TV Land added a three-hour block of infomercials to its morning lineup, airing Monday through Fridays from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. As such, TV Land became only the fourth cable channel operated by Viacom and its MTV Networks division to air infomercials (the only others being CMT, Comedy Central and Spike); TV Land removed one hour of the infomercial block in May 2010, reducing it to 6:00 to 8:00 a.m., with reruns filling the 8:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) hour.

On November 23, 2009, the network changed its logo to a more simplified form, keeping the double-trapezoidal outline, but removing the outlines around each letter and simplifying the fonts. An overhauled logo was introduced on May 8, 2012, which not only features a revised design and different typeface (although it retained the double-trapezoidal outline, which was now placed on the top left side), but also sets the "Land" part of the name to the adjacent right of the "TV" moniker.

Programming[edit]

Christmas version of the TV Land logo used from 2004 to 2008.

TV Land's programming originally focused on series (both filmed in black and white and color) from the 1950s to the early 1980s. During its early years, the channel's lineup prominently featured variety series and dramas. Many of its charter shows such as The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and The Ed Sullivan Show were dropped from the lineup by the late 1990s (one early series that aired in reruns on the network, The Flip Wilson Show, however ran on TV Land until 2004). It also ran many sitcoms from the 1960s and 1970s, particularly series from Filmways that were produced prior to the rural purge of the late 1960s. Early on, TV Land would often air weekend marathons that were devoted to a single program (the channel continues to air marathons, occasionally in the form of catch-up marathons of its original series, as well as on marathons of certain series on certain holidays). Since the network's inception, westerns (such as Gunsmoke and Bonanza among others) have also been a prominent part of the lineup.

The channel also aired classic commercials during its breaks for several years, under the banner "TV Land Retromercials" (incidentally during its early years, TV Land did not air recent advertisements for products in existence at that point). Among those featured included Alka-Seltzer's "Mamma mia, that's a spicy meatball!," Dannon's "In Soviet Georgia" and the animated Tootsie Pop ad (in which a young boy asks "how many licks" it takes to get to the center of one). Some of these "retromercials" included early roles of celebrities such as Judd Hirsch, Rene Russo, Roy Scheider and Jodie Foster. Interspersed with the classic commercials were fictional retro-style commercials for various substances, almost always using the brand "Twip". These, along with the classic commercials, were dropped by 2004. The network also ran segments of CBS News' In the News from the 1970s and 1980s during breaks.

From 1996 to 1998, the channel ran a series of original shorts called "Sixty Second Sitcoms," minute-long parodies of sitcoms from various eras which also contained fake opening and end credits, and concluded with a "This has been a TV Land Presentation" vanity card. Among the parodies included in the shorts were The Gaveltons (a black and white segment based on Father Knows Best-type comedies, concerning a family that uses the law to solve typical sitcom problems) and Spin & Cutter (a parody of Perfect Strangers-style 1970s and 1980s buddy comedies that featured characters saying lines such as "What could possibly be worse than this?," followed by a spin wipe that cuts to a scene featuring another added element and the other character saying "You had to ask, didn't you?"). Each of the series had several segments and ran alternatingly with the retromercials.

When a program deemed particularly important was airing on another network – such as the series finales of Friends in 2004 and Everybody Loves Raymond in 2005, TV Land aired filler programming that was nonsensical in nature (such as footage of staff members holding signs or wearing T-shirts) to encourage viewers to watch the network program. Similarly, the network went dark during the 1998 series finale of Seinfeld.

Recent programming direction[edit]

In 2007, the network began adding series from 1980s and later in an effort to attract viewers in the 18 to 49 age demographic favored by advertisers (by rerunning shows familiar to younger audiences). As such, TV Land no longer labels itself as a "Classic TV" network (this role has since been filled by over-the-air rivals Retro Television Network, Cozi TV, Antenna TV and most notably, Me-TV, all of which have carried programs that have aired on TV Land in previous years). The network began airing its first original programs in 2008 with the reality series High School Reunion (a revival of the former WB series, which features reunions of older ex-classmates than the original series – usually those between 40- and 50-years-old, compared the original series' focus on classmates that were between 25- and 30-years-old at the time of filming) and She's Got the Look (a modeling competition for women over 40). Accompanying this strategy was a refresh of the network's graphic identity, which was designed and conceived by Trollback + Company, who also developed its 2000 to 2008 graphical identity.

From October 2008 to 2011, the network ran a late-evening block that aired weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time, called "TV Land Prime", which depending on the night featured the network's original series, movies or newer archive programming that TV Land was airing at the time. The block utilized drastically different brand imaging than that otherwise featured the network; the "dot" logo accompanying the "Prime" logo was replaced by TV Land's standard logo in November 2009; some programs featured in the block incorporated the "TV Land Prime" bug when aired in other timeslots.

The logo for TV Land's Prime programming block, which was launched in October 2008; the standard TV Land logo was added to the "Prime" logo in November 2009.

Since 2009, TV Land has also added more recent series from the 1990s and 2000s, such as those already or formerly aired on Nick at Nite (from which TV Land has acquired several of its programs since its inception) like The Cosby Show, Roseanne, Who's the Boss?, The Nanny and Friends, and shows that had not aired its former parent network like Murphy Brown, The Golden Girls, Everybody Loves Raymond, Sex and the City and The King of Queens. However, the network continues to air series from older decades throughout its schedule, mainly during the daytime and overnight hours.

The network first forayed into original scripted programming in 2010 with the debut of the sitcom Hot in Cleveland (starring established sitcom starts Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick and Betty White), which premiered in June 2010 to 4.75 million viewers, a record audience for the channel[10] (the success of that series led to a spin-off The Soul Man, which debuted in June 2012). This was followed by the January 19, 2011 debut of Retired at 35.[11] 2011 saw the expansion of its original sitcoms with the June 15 debut of the Fran Drescher comedy Happily Divorced and the November 30 debut of The Exes. 2013 and 2014 also saw the debuts of Kirstie (which reunited Kirstie Alley with former Cheers co-star Rhea Perlman and also stars former Seinfeld co-star Michael Richards) and Jennifer Falls.

TV Land Awards[edit]

Main article: TV Land Awards

The TV Land Awards is a two-hour event that has been held annually since its inception in 2003, that is broadcast live on the network to the Eastern and Central Time Zones (with a three-hour delayed broadcast on its Pacific Time Zone feed). The awards telecast celebrates past classic television series and television stars. From the inaugural show in 2003 until 2007, the TV Land Awards were also simulcast on Nick at Nite.

TV Land HD[edit]

TV Land HD is a high definition simulcast feed of TV Land, which broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format; it launched in November 2011. It is currently available on cable and IPTV providers such as AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS, Cablevision and Charter Communications in select areas and nationally on satellite provider DirecTV.

TV Land statues of TV icons[edit]

Since the early 2000s, TV Land has honored iconic actors and television characters from classic television series with statues in various tourist attractions across the United States:

Series Statue Location
The Bob Newhart Show Bob Newhart Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois
The Mary Tyler Moore Show Mary Tyler Moore 7th Street and Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Honeymooners Jackie Gleason 40th Street and 8th Avenue, New York City, New York
The Andy Griffith Show Andy Griffith and Ron Howard Pullen Park, Raleigh, North Carolina
Andy Griffith Playhouse, Mount Airy, North Carolina
Bewitched Elizabeth Montgomery Salem, Massachusetts
Aloha from Hawaii Elvis Presley Neal Blaisdell Center Arena, Honolulu, Hawaii
Happy Days Henry Winkler as Fonzie (nicknamed the "Bronze Fonz") Milwaukee Riverwalk, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Network slogans[edit]

  • "Take Me to TV Land" (1996–1998)
  • "We're Crazy About Television" (1998–2001)
  • "TV Satisfaction. Guaranteed." (2001–2006)
  • "Here for the TV Generation" (2006–2007)
  • "Look Again" (2011)
  • "Laugh More" (2011–present)

International[edit]

Canada[edit]

On, 2001, Craig Media launched a Category 2 digital cable and satellite specialty channel called TV Land Canada,[12] through a brand licensing agreement with Viacom (which later acquired a minority ownership stake in the channel months after its launch). On August 2, 2010, TV Land was rebranded as Comedy Gold, reformatting the channel as an offshoot of The Comedy Network. The rebranded channel focuses primarily on sitcoms and sketch comedy programs from the 1970s to the 1990s.[13] Viacom sold back its stake in the channel to CTVglobemedia (which would later be acquired outright by minority shareholder BCE, Inc. on September 10 of that year to form Bell Media[14]) following the rebrand.[15]

Middle East[edit]

A TV Land channel was launched in Arabia in 1996, months after the launch of the U.S. service. However, it mostly focused more on sports and action than classic television series. TV Land Arabia shared channel space with Paramount Arabia on cable provider Gulf DTH. Both TV Land Arabia and Paramount Arabia ceased operations in 2000.

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. ^ Bianculli, David, "Oldies Net Loaded with Goodies"; New York Daily News, March 19, 1996
  3. ^ TV Land archives on Freewebs (1996–2004)
  4. ^ "Nick-at-Nite's TV Land joins U.S. Satellite Broadcasting Lineup"; Business Wire, April 30, 1996.
  5. ^ Brown, Rich. "Nick at Nite becoming Nick at Nite-and-Day; MTV Networks Inc.'s launching of classic TV channel called TV Land", Broadcasting & Cable, October 30, 1995. Retrieved March 1, 2011 from HighBeam Research.
  6. ^ "Mca, Viacom Sue Each Other"; Chicago Tribune, April 30, 1996
  7. ^ "Sumner Red-faced Over 'Embarrassing' Papers"; New York Daily News, November 5, 1996
  8. ^ "Mca, Viacom File Suits In Dispute Over Usa Network"; SunSentinel, April 30, 1996
  9. ^ Dempsey, John, "It's Boom(er) Time for TV Land"; Variety, March 8–14, 1999.
  10. ^ Betty White Lightning Strikes! “Hot In Cleveland” Draws Nearly 5 Million; Breaks Records TV by the Numbers, June 17, 2010
  11. ^ Nellie Andreeva TV Land finds cast for George Segal pilot; Hollywood Reporter, January 3, 2010
  12. ^ TV Land, MTV and Craig Broadcast Systems to Launch New Canadian Services in September; PR Newswire; 2001-08-21
  13. ^ CTV tweaks TV Land Canada's focus, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 June 2010
  14. ^ Bell Canada (2010-09-10). "Bell to acquire 100% of Canada's No.1 media company CTV". CNW Group. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  15. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]