Spotlight (TV channel)

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Launched May 28, 1981
Closed February 1, 1984
Owned by Times-Mirror
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
(primarily on Dimension Cable Television systems)

Spotlight was an American premium cable television network that was owned by Times Mirror Cable Television. The channel focused mainly on theatrically released motion pictures,[1] with the only non-movie programming being monthly previews of films airing on the channel.


Spotlight launched on May 28, 1981, as a competitor to premium movie channels Cinemax, The Movie Channel and Home Theater Network. The channel was owned by Times-Mirror's Dimension Cable Television unit,[2] and was available primarily on the company's own cable systems; it originally operated on a 12-hour-a-day schedule.

In 1982, Spotlight began broadcasting 24 hours a day (Cinemax broadcast on a 24-hour schedule from its August 1980 sign-on, while Showtime and The Movie Channel went to a 24-hour schedule earlier and HBO went to a 24-hour schedule on weekends in September 1981, which was then expanded to weekdays three months later in late December 1981).[2] Tele-Communications, Inc., Cox Broadcasting and Storer Broadcasting served as investors in the channel.[3]

Spotlight's initial spokesperson was singer Robert Goulet, who hosted the rollout of the channel. Spotlight initially featured a flip-flop movie schedule. The channel would broadcast a movie at 7 p.m. and another around 9 p.m. and then the next night, the channel would show the same two films in a "flip-flop" schedule, with the late movie from the other night shown first. As with most premium channels at the time, the channel maintained little exclusivity for many of the same movies, experiencing a sizeable amount of same-month duplication with its film inventory with Showtime, The Movie Channel and HBO.

Spotlight's network identifications and feature presentation bumpers utilized a big band-type theme, with a sequence featuring an animation that zoomed into the "O" of the Spotlight logo, accompanied by a whistling sound. The channel's initial slogan was "Spotlight, shining bright, day and night, we light up the stars for you!" Spotlight suffered from insufficient cable carriage (outside of Dimension Cable Television systems) throughout its existence, and ultimately shut down on February 1, 1984. After Spotlight shut down, Times Mirror replaced the channel on most of its systems with Showtime, which was largely unavailable on Dimension Cable Television's service areas prior to Spotlight's demise, and its subscriber base was turned over to Showtime and The Movie Channel.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "United States: Cable Television". Encyclopedia of Television. Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Cable Networks". Encyclopedia of Television. Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Mitchell, Kim. "Encore debuts in four TCI systems", Multichannel News, April 8, 1991. HighBeam Research. (February 23, 2011).

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