|Type||Digital broadcast television network
(Movies, classic television series, children's programs)
|Availability||Nationwide, though not in every market|
|Founded||July 28, 2008|
|Slogan||It Doesn't get any Better Than This
This is Your Movie Network
(both owning 50%)
|Key people||Sean Compton
(President of Programming, Tribune Broadcasting)
|Launch date||November 1, 2008|
|Picture format||480i (SD)|
This TV (also known as "This TV Network" or "this") is an American television network that is operated as a joint venture between the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Company, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This TV features a general entertainment programming format with a large emphasis on movies, along with some limited classic television series and children's programming.
The network is available in many media markets via broadcast television stations (primarily on their digital subchannels), on select cable providers, and on free-to-air C-band satellite via SES-1 at 101 W in DVB-S format. This TV broadcasts 24 hours a day in the 480i standard definition broadcast format.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Chicago-based television station owner Weigel Broadcasting announced the formation of This TV on July 28, 2008, with a planned launch that autumn. The network formally launched on November 1, 2008, though some stations may have "soft launched" the network one day earlier – on October 31, 2008 – to carry some Halloween-themed programming that was provided by the network.
The "This TV" name was chosen as a branding and marketing avenue for the network and its stations, with proposed slogans such as "THIS is the place for movies", "THIS is what you’re watching" and "It doesn't get any better than THIS!". This TV officially launched on November 1, 2008 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time with the 1986 Spike Lee film She's Gotta Have It as the network’s first program.
This TV’s operations were overseen under Weigel part-ownership by Neal Sabin, who in his role as Weigel Broadcasting’s executive vice president launched Me-TV, a classic television network similar to This TV. Jim Marketti, president/CEO of Marketti Creative Group was hired in August 2008 as This TV’s creative director, focusing on the network's marketing and promotion. MGM handles sales for the network through its offices in New York City.
On May 13, 2013, Weigel Broadcasting announced that it would be leaving the This TV partnership in order to focus on its new network, Movies!. Tribune Broadcasting, owners of the classic television multicast network Antenna TV, took over daily operations of the network on November 1, 2013; concurrently, the network moved its affiliation in Chicago from the fifth digital subchannel of Weigel flagship station WCIU-TV (channel 26) to a newly created third subchannel of Tribune flagship station WGN-TV (channel 9). Sean Compton, president of programming for Tribune Broadcasting, now oversees operations for the network.
This TV's program schedule relies on the extensive library of films and television programming currently owned by MGM and subsidiary United Artists (notably excluding the pre-May 1986 MGM film and television library, the a.a.p. library, Gilligan's Island and its animated spin-offs, and the U.S. rights to the RKO Pictures library, whose rights are currently held by Time Warner through its Turner Entertainment subsidiary). No originally produced programming appears on the network, although the use of on-air presenters had once been considered for This TV's movie broadcasts; the network is also devoid of informercial programming. However, the network does display an on-screen logo bug during its programs, and affiliates are inclined to include regional descriptors reflecting the station's primary broadcast area underneath the logo.
The network did not utilize a split-screen credit sequence to promote upcoming programs during the closing credits until Tribune took over operations (these appear in the formats used by Tribune's television stations and co-owned WGN America, with one or two network promos appearing on the top left of the screen on films that feature the original credits at normal speed and a text/background only graphic referencing the next program for series). Films broadcast on the network do feature commercial interruption, and breaks during programming primarily consist of direct response advertisements for products featured in informercials and particularly during This TV's children's programming, public service announcements. The network's first announcer was Milwaukee radio personality and Miller Park PA system announcer Robb Edwards. Later in the Weigel era, Jim Cummings voiced the network's continuity; Andy Geller, more known as the current voice of ABC, took over when Tribune assumed partial ownership of This TV.
This TV's daily schedule consists largely of feature films, which air on Monday through Saturdays from 6 a.m.–4 a.m. and Sundays from 6–9 a.m., 2–6 p.m. and 2–4 a.m. ET (sometimes starting earlier or ending later depending on the length of the films). The film roster does not concentrate on films from any specific era, meaning any film from the Depression era to contemporary times and films made for either television, home video/DVD or theatrical release can be featured.
This TV also commonly features themed movie presentations, with the entire day's schedule consisting of films from a particular genre once a week throughout the month, such as Wednesdays – which feature action and western films under the theme "Wednesdays Are Wild". The network also broadcasts a featured movie in primetime at 8 p.m. ET on Monday through Friday nights. Until October 31, 2013, the weeknight prime movie presentations were typically replayed later in the evening (usually at 12 a.m. ET, depending on the length of the film that precedes it). From the network's launch until October 26, 2013, This TV ran a family film block preceding the network's Saturday morning "Cookie Jar Toons" block called "This Family Friendly"; under Tribune part-ownership, this block was discontinued in favor of airing a wider variety of films (mostly targeted at an adult audience) on Saturday mornings; however, family-oriented films remain part of the network's schedule, only airing on certain days in random timeslots.
The network's films usually, by far, air using the "television" cut meant for broadcast syndication which features content edits, dubbing or blanking of profanities (including some that may otherwise be permissible on broadcast television) and some time edits by removing superfluous plotting or adult scenes toned down to fit within a two-hour timeslot with commercials. The use of the "television" cut means that most of the network's films are also presented in a pan and scan format and not shown with letterboxing. Films which run under the allotted timeslot have Pink Panther cartoon shorts filling the remainder of the timeslot.
Films featured on This TV consist of releases from network co-parent Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and its subsidiaries United Artists (post-1952 films) and The Samuel Goldwyn Company (pre-1997 films), as well as films produced by now-defunct film studios Orion Pictures (post-1981 films and its Orion Classics division), Cannon Group (except for those co-produced with Warner Bros.), American International Pictures, and the Mirisch Company (all of which were acquired by MGM); in addition, films produced by Polygram Filmed Entertainment (which was not acquired by MGM at the time Polygram folded in 1999, although MGM holds distribution rights to its pre-1996 films) are also featured on the network.
All About Eve, which was released by 20th Century Fox, became the first non-MGM film to be aired on the network on February 6, 2011. In addition to 20th Century Fox, the network has acquired broadcast rights to classic movies from Paramount Pictures (through Trifecta Entertainment & Media), Universal Pictures (including among them Abbott and Costello movies), Miramax Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Since January 2014, the network has begun to share film content with sister network Antenna TV (which runs its own movie block that currently airs on weekday mornings, and Friday and Saturday evenings); at times, This TV will air a film on the same day or week as its telecast on Antenna TV.
Classic television series
The network's daily early morning and Sunday afternoon lineups feature vintage series – a mix of comedies and drama series from the 1960s to the early 2000s; weekdays feature shows such as Highway Patrol and Sea Hunt, and weekends feature blocks of episodes of classic series such as The Addams Family, In the Heat of the Night, Stargate SG-1, and The Outer Limits. After Tribune Broadcasting assumed operations of the network, three series formerly seen on the network – The Patty Duke Show, Mister Ed and Green Acres – were moved from This TV to new sister network Antenna TV.
Under Weigel's co-ownership, This TV featured a daily block of children's programming each morning (including shows that meet the FCC's E/I content requirements) that was handled by Toronto-based Cookie Jar Entertainment, then by DHX Media when it purchased Cookie Jar in 2012. It also featured Weigel's Chicago-based program originally meant for local viewing, Green Screen Adventures (now seen only on Me-TV). The block's non-E/I programming was branded under the banner name "This is for Kids", while the E/I programming was branded under the name "Cookie Jar Toons". Children's programs featured in the blocks included library content from CJE entities DiC Entertainment and Cinar Films, as well as recent originally produced content by Cookie Jar.
This differs from two other children's program blocks from Cookie Jar Entertainment that feature E/I-compliant children's programming: Cookie Jar Kids Network, a block that was discontinued in 2012 that featured mostly Cinar-produced programming from the 1990s, formerly known as the DiC Kids Network until a September 2009 rebranding; and the CJE-run Cookie Jar TV Saturday morning block for CBS which aired until September 2013.
With the switch to Tribune part-ownership, children's programs were removed from the network's weekday and Saturday morning schedules, coinciding with discontinuance of the network's agreement with Cookie Jar/DHX (effectively ending This's status as the only digital multicast network and one of only two broadcast networks, alongside The CW, to carry a traditional entertainment-based children's block rather than a strictly educational-based lineup); the former Cookie Jar Toons/This is for Kids block was replaced with a single three-hour unbranded Sunday block of E/I programming originally distributed for syndication from Bellum Entertainment, presently made up of Animal Atlas, Zoo Clues and On the Spot, all of which air two half-hour episodes each week.
In addition to Weigel-owned stations in Chicago (WCIU), Milwaukee (WDJT-TV), and South Bend, Indiana (WCWW-LD), This TV reached agreements with several ownership groups to add the network to some of its stations in 2009. The group list included stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting, Hearst-Argyle Television, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Post-Newsweek Stations, Fisher Communications, Raycom Media and Belo. This TV's affiliation agreement with Tribune Broadcasting was renewed in May 2010, a move that brought the network to additional Tribune-owned stations in markets such as Los Angeles, New York City, Miami and San Diego and helped This TV's coverage reach 85% of the U.S., making This TV the largest subchannel network by percentage of the population reached (a status that has since been surpassed by former sister network Me-TV). A number of NBC affiliates added This TV as a replacement for the now defunct NBC Weather Plus service, which shut down at the end of 2008. Additionally, Equity Media Holdings selected This TV as a replacement for the Retro Television Network on some of its stations after Equity dropped its relationship with RTN in January 2009 due to payment disputes; the Equity-owned stations have since been sold, with several disaffiliating with This TV or going off the air completely.
Stations that carry This TV have the option to air select programming from the network on their main channels; they also have the option to preempt This TV programs, running alternate programming in place of certain shows from the network's national schedule (some stations may even switch to scheduled alternate programming while a film is in progress), either via a secondary affiliation deal with another network such as The CW or MyNetworkTV (this is particularly common with This TV affiliates in smaller markets), substitutions by locally produced programming, or in the most common case, moving network programming to the This subchannel to accommodate local sports or breaking news coverage on the main channel.
With Tribune Broadcasting taking over operational responsibilities for the network, This TV became one of the few television networks to move its flagship station from one station to another; the network moved from WCIU to a digital subchannel of Tribune's Chicago flagship WGN-TV (which until November 1, 2013 was the largest Tribune-owned station by market size not to carry This TV). WDJT-DT3 will remain with the network for the time being, though Tribune is currently in the process of acquiring Milwaukee's Fox affiliate, WITI, which also carries sister network Antenna TV, while its status on WCWW will likewise not change immediately (partly due to the fact that Tribune does not own a station nor is purchasing one in that market). WITI and the other stations owned by Local TV – which Tribune bought in July 2013 – will likely affiliate with the network at some point after the purchase is finalized (for non-duopoly stations, This TV may be carried on a tertiary subchannel; for duopoly stations, This may be carried on a station that does not have any existing secondary subchannels, requiring one to be created to serve as the affiliate); in most markets where Local TV owns a station, and the existing Tribune stations in four markets where the network is not carried (KIAH/Houston, KCPQ-KZJO/Seattle, KTXL/Sacramento and WPMT/Harrisburg), however, This TV has existing affiliation deals with stations owned by another station group via national carriage deals; it is possible that Tribune will wait until these affiliation contracts lapse before moving the network to those affected stations.
- Movies! - competing digital broadcast network which is a joint venture between Weigel Broadcasting and the Fox Television Stations, specializing in movies.
- GetTV – an American digital multicast television network owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment specializing in classic movies.
- Me-TV - competing digital broadcast network, owned by Weigel and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, specializing in classic TV series from the 1960s to the 1980s.
- Retro Television Network - competing digital broadcast network owned by Luken Communications specializing in classic TV series from the 1950s to the 1970s.
- Antenna TV - sister network specializing in classic TV programming.
- Bounce TV - competing network specializing in films and select classic programming aimed at the African-American community.
- "SES 1 at 101.0°W". Lyngsat. February 27, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
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- "MGM, Weigel Launching This TV Diginet", from TVNewsDay, July 28, 2008
- MGM Takes Digital Leap, Variety.com, July 28, 2008
- Weigel, MGM Hope "This" Thing's a Hit, Broadcasting & Cable October 27, 2008
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- Malone, Michael (September 22, 2009). "Belo's WFAA, KTVK Add This TV". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
- Malone, Michael (May 25, 2010). "Tribune Teams with MGM's This TV For the Long-Term". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
- "Exclusive: MGM Launching New Digital Channel", Broadcasting & Cable, July 28, 2008.
- "Acquisition to make Tribune Co. largest U.S. TV station operator". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 July 2013.