Nick at Nite
|Nick at Nite|
|Launched||July 1, 1985|
|Owned by||Viacom Media Networks
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
|Slogan||The All New Nick at Nite|
|Broadcast area||Nationwide (with international versions in Latin America, India, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Southeast Asia)|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
(channel space shared with Nickelodeon)
|DirecTV||Channel 299 (East; SD/HD)
Channel 300 (West; SD only)
1885 VOD (HD)
|Dish Network||Channel 170 (East; SD/HD)
Channel 171 (West; SD only)
|C-Band||AMC 11 – Channel 64 (4DTV Digital)
AMC 18 – Channel 28 (H2H 4DTV)
|Verizon FiOS||Channel 252 (SD)
Channel 253 (Nick 2; SD)
Channel 752 (HD)
|Available on most other U.S. cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability|
|AT&T U-verse||Channel 314 (East; SD)
Channel 315 (West; SD)
Channel 316 (Nick 2; SD)
Channel 1314 (East; HD)
Channel 1315 (West; HD)
Nick at Nite (stylized as Nick @ Nite) is an American programming block that broadcasts nightly over the channel space of Nickelodeon. It broadcasts on Sundays through Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., Thursdays from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., and Saturdays from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. (Eastern and Pacific Time).
Although it shares channel space with its parent channel, Nielsen counts Nick at Nite as a separate channel from Nickelodeon for ratings purposes. Both services are sometimes collectively referred to as "Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite," due to their common association as two individual channels sharing the same channel space.
Nick at Nite appeals to adult and/or adolescent audiences with a lineup of mainly live-action sitcom reruns and a limited amount of original programming. However, because it shares channel space with Nickelodeon (prefiguring Cartoon Network and Adult Swim), some of Nick at Nite's programming – mainly programs that lead off the lineup each night – is aimed at preteens and adolescents between 8 and 16 years of age. The content on Nick at Nite (though looser in regards to profanity and suggestive dialogue compared to the children's-oriented Nickelodeon) is not as raunchy or violent as content on other primetime networks, encouraging a crossover audience between it and Nickelodeon viewers. Due to its reliance on sitcom reruns whose cable syndication rights are limited to a certain part of the day owing to contracts with studios and/or distributors (for instance, the network holds the exclusive nighttime rights to run Friends, while TBS holds exclusive daytime rights to said series), Nick at Nite's cable provider video on demand service exclusively features only their original series, where available.
After the Hearst Corporation, NBC and ABC announced in the summer of 1984 that they would spin off A&E (which occupied the timeslot formerly occupied by the Alpha Repertory Television Service prior to its merger with The Entertainment Channel earlier that year) into a separate 24-hour cable channel and cease transmitting its programming over Nickelodeon's channel space to take better advantage of valuable satellite time, MTV Networks President Bob Pittman asked Nickelodeon general manager Geraldine Laybourne to develop programming to fill the time period that would be vacated (once A&E became a separate channel in January 1985, Nickelodeon simply displayed a test pattern screen after the network signed off). After futile attempts at original program development, Laybourne asked programming and branding consultants Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert of Fred/Alan Inc. (successful as the original branders of MTV, and for Nickelodeon's extensive 1984 rebranding) to come up with programming ideas.
After being presented with over 200 episodes of The Donna Reed Show (a 1950s sitcom which Laybourne despised), Goodman and Seibert conceived the idea of the "first oldies TV network." They modeled the new evening and overnight programming block on the successful oldies radio format, "The Greatest Hits of All Time," and branded the block with their next evolution of MTV- and Nickelodeon-style imagery and bumpers. Head programmer Debby Beece led the team to the name "Nick at Nite" for the new block; a logo originally conceived for the block was based on Nickelodeon's "pinball" logo introduced in 1981, which was discontinued with that network's rebrand. Fred/Alan developed the original logo with Tom Corey and Scott Nash of Boston advertising firm Corey McPherson Nash, creators of the well-recognized Nickelodeon orange logo (Nick at Nite's logo design would maintain a separate visual appearance from its parent network).
Nick at Nite debuted at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on July 1, 1985, as a block on Nickelodeon. Its initial programming (running from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., seven days a week) was a mix of sitcoms, movies and one drama series, led by Dennis the Menace, and accompanied by The Donna Reed Show, the offbeat comedy Turkey Television (which, like Dennis, also aired on Nickelodeon), and Route 66. A nightly film presentation, branded as the Nick at Nite Movie, aired at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time through the end of the decade, and included such classic films as the 1947 film The Red House and the 1937 film A Star Is Born. The same five-hour block of programs originally repeated from 1:00 a.m. and ran until Nickelodeon began its broadcast day at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time. As Nick at Nite grew, it would add to its library of shows – branching out to rerun sketch comedy, such as episodes from the early seasons of Saturday Night Live as well as the Canadian series SCTV. It also briefly reran the 1970s mock local talk show Fernwood 2 Night. As the years went by, the channel's sitcom library swelled to over a hundred shows. For the channel's 20th birthday celebration in June 2005, TV Land aired an episode from almost every series that had appeared on Nick at Nite.
By the early 1990s, Nick at Nite began running a full schedule of programming, with overnight hours filled by a mix of secondary runs of shows airing on its evening schedule and series that were no longer shown on the evening lineup. In 1995, Nick at Nite celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a week-long event, in which the channel aired "hand picked episodes" of almost every series that had aired on Nick at Nite since its July 1985 debut. Each episode was introduced with its history, episode number, and references to the individual program's original run on Nick at Nite. A special 10th Anniversary on-screen bug was shown at the bottom left corner of the screen for 10 seconds once per half-hour show, and was used for the entire 1995 calendar year, much in the same manner as the 20th Anniversary logo in 2005 (in contrast, Nick at Nite did not make any acknowledgment of its 25th Anniversary in 2010).
In March 2004, Nielsen began splitting up Nick at Nite and Nickelodeon in its primetime and total day ratings reports, due to the different programming, advertisers and target audiences between the two services; this caused controversy among executives of some cable channels who believed that this move manipulated the ratings, given that Nick at Nite's broadcast day takes up only a fraction of Nickelodeon's programming schedule. Nickelodeon's and Nick at Nite's respective ratings periods encompass only the hours they each operate under the total day rankings, though Nick at Nite is rated only for the primetime ratings; this is due to a ruling by Nielsen in July 2004 that networks have to program for 51% or more of a particular daypart to qualify for ratings for that daypart.
In 2006, the coloring of Nick at Nite's logo was changed from blue to orange, in order to match the coloring of Nickelodeon's logo. On September 1, 2007, the network introduced a new logo based on Nickelodeon's longtime "splat" logo, with the orange "splat" formed in the shape of a waxing gibbous moon – this effectively integrated the Nickelodeon branding onto Nick at Nite for the first time, as the varied logos that were used from its 1985 launch utilized variants of the Futura Condensed font (the 1984 to 2009 Nickelodeon logo designed by Seibert and Goodman used the Balloon typeface) with various shape backgrounds and a small circle with the word "at" (replaced by an "@" symbol overlaid on a circle background in March 2002 for visual symmetry, owing to the character's building ubiquity from the Internet and eventually into general pop culture) lodged between and staggering the "I"'s. The updated logo debuted in promos in March 2002. However, the Up Next bumpers, station idents, and on-screen bug did not begin using the updated logo until September 1, 2002.
On July 5, 2009, Nick at Nite extended its programming hours to end at 7:00 a.m. seven days a week (the weekend lineup ended one hour earlier from April to June 2010 and from January to May 2011) and to begin at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday through Thursday nights and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday nights (the Saturday lineup continues to have a 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time start time due to the presence of the long-running Saturday primetime comedy lineup on Nickelodeon). Nick at Nite's times of operation have changed several times over the years, to at one point (between 1998 and 2000) beginning as late as 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday through Thursdays and ending as early as 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
Nick at Nite overhauled its on-air appearance on September 28, 2009, as part of Nickelodeon's universal rebranding effort – the new logo, also based on Nickelodeon's logo, stylized the network's name as "nick@nite" (rendered as one word in lower case letters within the new network logo). The network also stopped airing the production closing credits for most of its programs (except for those that have tag scenes during the end credits, and originally some series that aired on the network prior to the rebrand that rejoined the network afterward, such as Full House) and began employing network-uniform closing credits – which Nickelodeon had been utilizing since at least 2000 (both Nick at Nite and Nickelodeon often omit end tag scenes or blooper reels of some shows using this format).
In 2013, Nick@Nite overhauled its logo again; the "@nite" part was changed to orange, making Nick@Nite match with the current 2009–present Nickelodeon logo for the first time since 2007.
Nick at Nite is known as the "first classic TV network," having originally aired older classic television programs from the 1950s through the early 1970s throughout its nighttime schedule. The time range of Nick at Nite's programming has shifted over the years, to the point where by the early 2000s, its classic series consisted primarily of shows from the late 1970s to the late 1990s, and also included series from the early and mid-2000s by the end of that decade and into the early 2010s. The early success with classic television series, as well as the eventual shift away from series made prior to 1985, eventually led to the creation of digital broadcast networks similar to Nick at Nite's original format such as the Retro Television Network, Antenna TV and Me-TV (which have featured many shows formerly seen on Nick at Nite). Nick at Nite's lineup presently includes reruns of comedy series from the early 1990s to 2000s such as Full House, Friends, George Lopez, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which are currently the only programs that air on the channel as of 2016. The network also airs occasional movies, as well as some Nickelodeon original programs (some of which are produced by Nickelodeon Productions for the Nick at Nite lineup) such as See Dad Run and Instant Mom during early primetime hours.
Nick at Nite airs virtually all of its programming in hour-long (and sometimes two-hour) blocks, which were branded under the "Double Takes" banner from 2002 to 2007; typically series that air back-to-back are scheduled in two blocks, one in primetime and one in late night. Also typically, series that have been airing on Nick at Nite for at least three years are often moved exclusively to the overnight schedule in order to make room for newly acquired series (though in the past, entire broadcast runs of a few series such as Perfect Strangers and Charles in Charge have aired in an overnight graveyard slot for a short period of time following their debut on the network). For about a year-and-a-half prior to the September 28, 2009 rebrand, Nick at Nite aired marathons of programming from midnight to 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
Nick at Nite is one of the few basic cable channels in the United States that continues to sign off for scheduled satellite maintenance, occurring on a Wednesday morning from 5:30 to 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time on a bi-monthly basis, with color bars being displayed during the sign-off period (Viacom-owned sister channels Nick Jr., Nicktoons, MTV and its spinoff channels, VH1, and VH1 Classic also sign off for a half-hour on a bi-monthly basis at the same time as Nick at Nite for the same reason); it is also one of only a handful of cable channels to have discontinued airing infomercials. Nick at Nite ran infomercials in some overnight timeslots from 1987 to 1998 (it is only one of two Viacom-owned networks to have removed paid programming from its schedule; sister channel BET had discontinued infomercials in 1997, replacing them with religious programming in overnight/early morning timeslots).
On May 16, 2011, Nick at Nite began scheduling programs airing from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time in an "off-the-clock" format, in which the network runs extended commercial breaks of as much as seven minutes in length to allow additional advertising spots (a method that has drawn viewer criticism due to the length between the start of each commercial break and the start of the next segment of a program), allowing the programs to be broadcast in a longer timeslot each half-hour until 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time, when start times return to a half-hourly format. This format was originated by sister network TV Land beginning in 2010, and has since been adopted by other Viacom networks including MTV, BET and Spike around the same time as Nick at Nite. The side effect that results from this scheduling and expanded advertising is that one full half-hour of programming is lost, therefore the overnight schedule features only a single episode of one series whereas most other Nick at Nite programs air in double episode blocks.
On June 25, 2012, Nick at Nite began airing Nickelodeon programs for the first time, airing reruns of All That and Kenan & Kel from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time weeknights. Two weeks later, the two series were replaced with reruns of Victorious, before being replaced by the teen novela series Hollywood Heights, which would move to TeenNick halfway through its first (and only) season due to low ratings. Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite currently share the 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time timeslot on weeknights.
In addition to running sitcom reruns, Nick at Nite has also experimented with airing movies in early primetime; after the 1985 to 1989 run of the Nick at Nite Movie showcase, the channel did not air movies on its schedule again until the summer of 2007, when it aired films each week on Tuesday nights. The channel has aired films occasionally since then, and have begun to air them periodically since February 2010 on Sunday nights, beginning that month with telecasts of the Nickelodeon Movies-produced Good Burger, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, and The Rugrats Movie.
Some movies and special presentations that Nick at Nite aired during 2010 and 2011 had occasionally aired over what is normally Nickelodeon's broadcast time (for example, the February 21, 2010 premiere telecast of the special School Gyrls aired at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, though Nickelodeon typically does not turn over its channel space to Nick at Nite until 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday nights), which is unusual as some of these special presentations are aimed at Nickelodeon's preteen target audience; however until May 2010, when the network began promoting its film telecasts as airing on Nick at Nite, promos for these films did not acknowledge whether they were to be broadcast on Nick at Nite or Nickelodeon (an issue as promos for scheduled primetime films were cross-promoted with Nickelodeon), with the only reference as to the film's airing on Nick at Nite coming from the logo bug that is shown during the film.
Some of the movies that has Nick at Nite in recent years have included the Back to the Future trilogy, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Baby's Day Out, Pretty in Pink, National Lampoon's Vacation, Ghostbusters (and its sequel Ghostbusters II), Jurassic Park, The Nutty Professor, and Legally Blonde. Film telecasts have become more common on Nick at Nite since the fall of 2012, often airing on a near-weekly basis, typically on Sunday evenings. As of 2013, many films broadcast on the channel Thursday nights at 8:00 pm.
Nick at Nite has also occasionally experimented with creating its own programs, sometimes with bizarre and surrealistic results. On December 5, 1987, the channel ran a contest called the Do It Yourself Sitcom Special, which was billed as the first time that real people ever had their own television shows. Viewers submitted their own sitcom ideas and the winner would supposedly get their own show. In 1988, the channel aired a half-hour animated Christmas special from Ralph Bakshi, which served as the pilot for a proposed animated series titled Tattertown. The program was never picked up to series, but the special, later renamed Christmas in Tattertown, aired on Nick at Nite every Christmas for several years. In 1990, the channel briefly aired a satirical comedy series called On the Television, a mock critic show hosted by Siskel and Ebert-type characters that featured bizarre, sometimes disturbing clips from parodied television shows supposedly beginning that week.
In the early 1990s, the channel ran a one-time special featuring old television commercials; this idea would be rehashed by the network on several other shows and eventually become a staple of offshoot channel, TV Land, as part of the "Retromercials" segment that aired during commercial breaks until the mid-2000s. Another special aired by Nick at Nite was promoted as a TV dad quiz, in which the host walked through a "typical TV Home," and quizzed viewers at home with trivia about classic TV dad clichés. At one point, the host told viewers to connect pictures of TV dads with their appropriate TV wives displayed on the screen with a magic marker. At the end of this segment, he mentions that he forgot to tell the viewers to place a piece of plastic over their screen while doing this and made jokes about the viewers futilely trying to clean the magic marker off their screens for the rest of the show.
In 1991, Nick at Nite debuted its own sitcom based around the rerun genre it had pioneered. The short-lived Hi Honey, I'm Home! (titled after the cliché phrase that male lead characters in some classic sitcoms said to their wives when returning home from work) focused on a 1950s sitcom family called the Nielsens, whose show has been removed from syndication, forcing the family to leave TV Land and move into a real 1990s suburban neighborhood, repeatedly confronting the family with culture shock. The series aired on Fridays as part of ABC's TGIF lineup, with the episode being "rerun" on Nick at Nite in primetime on the following Sunday.
In 2008, the channel announced that it was developing a family-oriented remake of the 1990s game show Nickelodeon GUTS titled My Family's Got GUTS, as well as a dog competition show. My Family's Got GUTS eventually premiered on Nickelodeon in September 2008. On August 17, 2009, Nick at Nite debuted a new stop-motion claymation series called Glenn Martin DDS, which ran for two seasons. Scripted programming returned to Nick at Nite in 2012, with the June 11 debut of the telenovela-based Hollywood Heights, followed on October 6 with the premiere of See Dad Run, though the former re-located to TeenNick midway through its run due to low ratings and branding confusion.
Marathons and blocks
Programming marathons were an innovation that began with Nick at Nite in 1985, eventually leading to the phenomenon of "binge-watching". Working together at college radio station WKCR-FM while attending New York City's prestigious Columbia University, Fred/Alan, Inc. founders Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert saw the ratings success of radio marathons featuring music from Ludwig van Beethoven, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. As the Nick at Nite "oldies" format was adapted from radio, they suggested the multi-hour (sometimes multi-day) marathon might also work with television programming. The marathon format proved successful and became a ratings boosting staple of cable television networks for over two decades.
During the week of Halloween in late October 1990, the network held a special contest, hosted by game show host Wink Martindale, during a marathon of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Viewers at home were supposed to keep a running total of the total number of deaths on the show. At the end of the marathon, the persons who had gotten the correct total were entered into a drawing to win a prize. As Martindale said, "it's kind of like guessing the number of jelly beans in a jelly bean jar, but instead of jelly beans, you're using cadavers!"
When new shows are added to the lineup, they are usually accompanied by some kind of marathon that is sometimes hosted by a star from the show. For instance, when Newhart joined Nick at Nite in the early 1990s, the channel also acquired Bob Newhart's short-lived third sitcom Bob, and ran a block branded "Bob's Bob, Bob Newhart, Newhart Marathon", featuring the two shows along with The Bob Newhart Show (which it already had the rights to broadcast), in an event hosted by Bob Newhart. Nick at Nite's debut of The Mary Tyler Moore Show was called the "Marython". When I Love Lucy joined Nick at Nite in 1994, a week-long marathon called "Nick at Nite Loves Lucy" aired, showcasing every one of Lucille Ball's sitcoms that aired between 1951 and 1986 (I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, and Life With Lucy). When some older shows were retired, Nick at Nite would also frequently have a marathon send-off. For instance, when Mister Ed was finally retired from the network in January 1993 after a seven-year run, Nick at Nite ran a weekend-long marathon of the show called "Au Revoir Mister Ed!"; a similar send-off for The Donna Reed Show, which ran on the channel for nine years beginning with Nick at Nite's July 1985 debut, also ran that year. My Three Sons was sent off the night Daylight Saving Time ended in October 1991 with a marathon called "Nite of the Setting Sons," permitting two extra episodes in the marathon due to the one-hour time shift.
During the summer months from the mid-to-late 1990s, the channel for a while ran a program block called "Vertivision" (later known as "Block Party Summer"), during which a different series was shown in a three-hour block each night of the week. In its first year, network promos referred to the nights featured in the special lineup as "Mary Mondays" (for The Mary Tyler Moore Show), "Lucy Tuesdays" (for I Love Lucy), "Bewitched Be-Wednesdays" (for Bewitched), "Jeannie Thursdays" (for I Dream of Jeannie), and "Sgt. Joe Fridays" (for Dragnet). With the passing years, the summer blocks shifted to include series recently added to Nick at Nite's program inventory.
Other seasonal scheduling blocks were also not uncommon such as Christmas-themed blocks during late December, Thanksgiving-themed blocks in November, and Valentine's Day-themed episodes in February. Each New Year's Eve from 1989 to 1998, the channel would host "Nick at Nite's (year) Rerun/Classic TV/TV Hits Countdown" hosted by longtime countdown radio DJ, Casey Kasem. Kasem would spend the period from noon (11:30 a.m. in 1990) until New Year's Day at 12:30 a.m. Eastern Time counting down the 25 "most classic" episodes of the series airing on Nick at Nite at that time as determined by viewers at home, with the #1 episode being revealed at midnight.
Another well-known lineup was the "Lucy: Queen of Comedy" block which ran on Saturday nights from June 4, 1994 to May 3, 1996, which consisted of I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, which were all airing on the network at that time (a similar block called "A Whole Lotta Lucy" aired on Saturday nights from 1996 to 2001, featuring only I Love Lucy, and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour). In the mid-1990s, another Saturday night programming block titled "Very, Very Nick at Nite" centered around a different theme each week, such as "Very Very Mary" with four classic Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes. In summer of 2008, Nick at Nite aired a marathon called Battle of the Sexes, which featured episodes of their regular programs that involved conflict between men and women.
Nick at Nite generally broadcasts a marathon of their programming on holidays (such as the "Luck of the Lopez" marathon of George Lopez that aired on Saint Patrick's Day in March 2008). For two years in a row, in October 2007 and 2008, Nick at Nite broadcast the Shocktober marathon (branded as Shocktober 2 for the 2008 event), featuring Halloween-themed episodes of the regularly scheduled program. Other holidays that the network often features themed marathons include Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Christmas. In November 2006, regular Nick at Nite programming was preempted for Nickelodeon's "Best Day Ever", a 24-hour marathon of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes which, at the end of the event, led to the premiere of a new episode of the same name. Nick at Nite programming was again preempted to continue Nickelodeon's 48-hour "SpongeBob SpongeBash" marathon in July 2009.
Branding and commercials
Nick at Nite has used a myriad of unusual and unorthodox commercials, logos and promotions. Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert assembled a team of highly imaginative writer/producers, modeled on their original 1981 creative team that had launched sister channel MTV. The group – which included Scott Webb, Jim Levi, Dave Potorti, Jay Newell, Will McRobb, and Tom Hill – was guided towards creating a series of internal campaigns to emphasize the seeming paradox of a contemporary network setting that programmed reruns from the 1960s and earlier. A series of five "promises" were organized into four 30-second spots each hour, each emphasizing an attribute of the innovative programming format.
In 1986, the channel began running a few different animated 10-second channel identifications (produced by Eli Noyes, Kit Laybourne and the Fred/Alan agency) that were repetitive in nature, but all had vastly different endings (similar to the "watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat" gag from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show). In one such ID, the first chord of "A Hard Day's Night" would be heard strummed, as a man began to hang up a Nick at Nite logo and common living room objects such as a chair and a television set. Once the man sat down in front of the TV set and clicked the remote, a bizarre incident would happen, such as a gorilla coming out of the set. Before a promo ended, the Nick at Nite logo would appear, somehow tied to its premise. Other IDs included either a woman setting up her backyard behind a "city" background, which was made of cardboard, or a couple setting up their living rooms. These idents were used in many different variations until they were discontinued in 1991, and replaced with updated and newer idents.
Throughout most of the 1990s (beginning particularly in 1991), Nick at Nite started running a wide variety of IDs. These were made with almost every imaginable technique from limited animation, to claymation and stop motion, to original live action and stock footage. Almost every commercial had a different jingle professing Nick at Nite as being "A TV Viewer's Dream" for "the TV generation" and as coming from a place called "TV Land" ("Hello Out there, from TV Land!"), promoting "Better Living Through Television", and proclaiming itself curator of "Our Television Heritage", although these claims were always somewhat tongue in cheek. There were also sarcastic promotions created for shows airing on the network: an announcer's voice would discuss the series, accompanied by clips and music, and sometimes the show's theme song. The commercials would use an actor's line or expression and take it out of context to create a new subversive meaning. The channel still uses this technique today, although often in a more hybrid way. A popular take-off of the Michelob Light commercial, "The Nite Belongs to Nick" ran for a short period of time before being discontinued due to copyright issues. One series of promos had Dick Van Dyke (whose eponymous 1960s sitcom was a mainstay of the channel in the 1990s) depicted as "Chairman of Nick at Nite" (this idea was later recycled by one of Nick at Nite's sister networks, TeenNick, which depicted actor and television personality Nick Cannon as the "Chairman of TeenNick" in a series of promos that began airing in 2009).
Nick at Nite's mascot from the late 1980s until the early 1990s was a cartoon slug named "Chet, the Nick at Nite Slug". The early 1990s then saw him replaced with a new mascot for Nick at Nite, Dixie the TV Land Pixie. For a time, the network would also play a short bumper called "Milkman," about a milkman who would distribute wholesome advice to customers on his milk delivery route. In 1995, in honor of the network's 10th anniversary, Nick at Nite aired a tribute to the commercials throughout the network's existence and hosted by former network president Rich Cronin.
The channel also had a unique way of informing viewers about the show that was about to air next. Beginning as only an announcer reading off that evening's block of shows and their airtimes as music was played over an on-screen graphic, this simple concept would be revised and re-revised many times over. At one point, a television with objects and people from the show scrolling by (for instance, for Get Smart a shoe phone, gun, and Max and 99) would appear on the screen while the announcer read off the program title and time; the time that the show was scheduled to air would be displayed in another box; this continues to be changed and updated.
The station also had a wide variety of "bugs" or logos displayed in promos and in the lower left corner of the screen, the lower right from 1998 onward. The network also featured a variety of bumpers; from 1992 to 1998, the bumpers had a yellow diamond Nick at Nite logo with "[tonite]" displayed next to it. At the end of them, the announcer said "Nick at Nite: Classic TV with a capital C", or "Nick at Nite: Open all nite" (which had an animated background of a diner with the "Nick at Nite" name on top). The channel's secondary continuity announcer from the later months of 1985 until 1992 and the channel's primary continuity announcer from 1992 to 2007 (except for a short period from March 2001 until September 2002, in which he was replaced with a different Soul Train-esque announcer), Bill St. James, has also served as an announcer for the premium channels Showtime, The Movie Channel (both former sister channels to Nick at Nite), and HBO, among other television clients, as well as serving as the host of the radio shows Flashback and Time Warp (which focus on classic rock and oldies music). From 1996 to 1999, next ID's began with an image such as a cartoon drawing of a family watching TV, two tikis with a tucan and a TV, a barnyard with farmers, some animals, and a TV, picture frames scattered around curtains, a collage of colorful shapes, drawings of several TV sets, or a drawing of three guys in a taxi above the moons and stars. At the end, St. James would read "On the classic TV network", "It's Classic TV", or a similar phrase, before a woman's voice was heard saying "Nick at Nite" in a sing-song tone. Although introduced in 1996, it was used intact with the 1992 Nick at Nite "Classic TV" schedule bumper until 1998. The phrases were replaced starting in early 1998 with new phrases "On the place for TV hits" and "Your TV Hits". By 1995, Nick at Nite launched a new mascot named "Phil". Phil was seen doing several stunts, such as dressing up as a crab during Block Party Summer bumpers. In an ID usually seen when Nick at Nite signed on, Phil was seen working as technician to "try to get Nick at Nite up and running." He then tries to fix problems, but fixes the problems in a second and the Nick at Nite logo popped up with a voiceover saying "Welcome. Nick at Nite is on the air." Also, from December 1996 until January 1999, Nick at Nite used in its branding a mascot that had a TV for a head and the Nick at Nite logo for a body (officially named "Logobelly"), which was designed by cartoonist Mo Willems. He was seen doing various activities, such as playing a golf game. For the 1997 idents, he was seen on colorful backgrounds on TV sets interacting with past TV stars watching television sets (usually from Happy Days). In one ID from 1997, a Nick at Nite logo appeared with an announcer saying "Nick at Nite, all night, every night." before fading into a clip of a man turning on a TV set to watch Happy Days before Logobelly comes out of the set, turns to the viewer, and gives a wink. Also, newer idents featuring Logobelly debuted in 1997 and 1998. In one ID, named "Watch This", which first aired in 1998 and was usually seen when Nick at Nite signed on, he was seen changing a Nickelodeon logo into the Nick at Nite logo. Another station ID, named "No Quarter", featured Logobelly showing the viewers at home a US quarter coin with his eyes and mouth slapped on it. Also, in some design concept papers, he was also seen wearing bunny slippers and a nighttime gown hat. There were other idents featuring in the first 1998 set of Logobelly idents, which were named "Flub", "Boom", "Always Something On", and "Punch the Clock".
Nick at Nite received a rebrand in January 1999 (which was used until March 2001) produced by Scott Stowell and Chip Wass (the latter person previously designed a set of CGI idents for the network in 1996). Idents at the time typically featured a female voice-over singing a jingle about the network which ended with "Nick at Nite, the place for TV hits", accompanied by a moving illustration by Chip Wass.
In March 2001, in an effort to cash in on the reality-TV boom, Nick at Nite underwent an extensive rebrand with the new theme of "Unreality", with idents and bumpers featuring clips from actual events then going to clips from TV shows inspiring the events and then ending with the Nick at Nite logo and slogan "100% Sitcoms, 100% Unreality". One bumper used during this era had the slogan "All Sitcoms, All Night Long".
Nick at Nite is ranked number one with Adults 18-49 for 2009 in total day, according to Nielsen Media Research (12/31/07-12/14/08) -- averaging a .6/655,000 A18-49 (up +20% in rating over last year), and marking its most-watched year in four years with A18-49.
According to MarketWatch, Nick at Nite is the top cable network with Adults 18-49. In total day, average ratings are about 1.5 million viewers. It is also the #1 cable network among women aged 18–49 averaging a 0.7 rating/415,000 total viewers.
On April 29, 1996, Viacom spun off a separate network from Nick at Nite, TV Land (originally branded as "Nick at Nite's TV Land" until 1999), which features a variety of rerun programming; the channel is usually carried on the basic tiers of cable, IPTV and satellite providers. On December 17, 2006, TV Land stopped operating under the control of Nick at Nite as Nickelodeon began overseeing that service under the MTV Networks Kids & Family Group, though TV Land continued to be operated as part of Viacom's MTV Networks (now Viacom Media Networks) division. During its early years, the channel ran classic television series from the early 1950s to the 1970s. In 2004, TV Land began to incorporate sitcoms from the 1980s and 1990s; reality shows and weekly movie presentations were added as the decade progressed. However, much of TV Land's programming continues to include series from the 1960s and 1970s.
Like Nick at Nite, TV Land airs some limited original programming, originally consisting of only original reality series and by 2010, the channel's first original scripted series Hot in Cleveland. The channel formerly ran a nightly programming block aimed at 40- to 55-year-olds called "TV Land PRIME", which aired from 9:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time from 2008 to 2010 (though shows that aired within the block that also aired in other timeslots displayed the block's logo bug). Many series that have been aired by Nick at Nite, such as Three's Company, The Cosby Show and Home Improvement, have either been shared between Nick at Nite and TV Land, or moved to TV Land entirely. As of January 2010, TV Land is one of only three Viacom-owned channels to air infomercials (the only others being CMT and Spike).
- Antenna TV – an American digital broadcast network owned by the Tribune Company, focusing on classic television series and movies from the 1950s to 1990s.
- Retro Television Network – an American digital broadcast network owned by Luken Communications, focusing on classic television series from the 1950s to 1980s.
- Me-TV – an American digital broadcast network owned by Weigel Broadcasting, focusing on classic television series from the 1950s to 1980s.
- Cozi TV – an American digital broadcast network owned by NBCUniversal airing classic television programs from the NBCU library, along with programming from forerunner network NBC NonStop.
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