The Movie Channel
- This article is about the sister premium channel of Showtime. For the unrelated, defunct television channel in the United Kingdom, see The Movie Channel (UK). For the programming format of television channels specializing in movies, see movie channel. Not to be confused with the Canadian premium television service The Movie Network.
|The Movie Channel|
|Launched||April 1, 1973
(original launch, as Star Channel)
December 1, 1979
(relaunch, as The Movie Channel)
|Owned by||Showtime Networks
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
|Slogan||Movies for Movie Lovers|
Spanish (via SAP audio track; some films may be broadcast in their native language and subtitled into English)
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|Formerly called||(Warner) Star Channel (1973–1979)|
|Sister channel(s)||Showtime, Flix,
|Timeshift service||The Movie Channel East,
The Movie Channel West,
The Movie Channel Xtra East,
The Movie Channel Xtra West
|DirecTV||The Movie Channel:
553 (east; HD/SD)
554 (west; SD)
TMC Xtra: 555 (HD)
TMC On Demand: 1553
|Dish Network||The Movie Channel:
327 (east; HD/SD)
329 (west; SD)
The Movie Channel Xtra:
328 (east; SD)
330 (west; SD)
|Available on most U.S. cable systems||Consult your local cable provider or program listings source for channel availability|
|Verizon FIOS||The Movie Channel:
East: 385 (SD), 885 (HD)
West: 386 (SD)
The Movie Channel Xtra:
East: 387 (SD), 887 (HD)
West: 388 (SD)
|AT&T U-verse||The Movie Channel:
East: 882 (SD), 1882 (HD)
West: 884 (SD), 1884 (HD)
The Movie Channel Xtra:
East: 883 (SD), 1883 (HD)
West: 885 (SD), 1885 (HD)
The Movie Channel is an American premium cable and satellite television network that is owned by the Showtime Networks subsidiary of CBS Corporation. Its programming features mainly first-run theatrically released and independently produced motion pictures, along with softcore adult erotica, special behind-the-scenes features and movie trivia. The channel's name is occasionally abbreviated as "TMC", which remains a common informal name and is therefore intermittently used below for brevity.
- 1 History
- 2 Channels
- 3 Programming
- 4 Branding
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Early history (1973–1979)
The Movie Channel traces its history back to the development of Gridtronics, a pay movie service which delivered videotaped movies to cable television systems around the United States. The concept was originally developed by Television Communications Corporation executives Alfred Stern and Gordon Fuqua in the late 1960s, as part of a multi-channel service that was designed to include channels focusing on arts, instructional programming and medical programs. The video-to-cable movie delivery concept was presented by Fuqua and Stern at the 1969 National Cable Television Association convention; over the course of the next several years, the two subsequently discussed carriage agreements with other cable providers and engaged in discussions with various film studios to provide the service with film content. TVC, a multiple system operator, was purchased by Warner Communications in 1972, and gave the service the financial funding and content it needed to launch.
Warner Communications launched the Gridtronics service on April 1, 1973. Shortly after its launch, it was renamed the Warner Star Channel (the "Warner" was subsequently excised from the name). Cable providers sometimes experienced technical problems trying to broadcast the delivered tapes to viewers, especially when the tapes jammed during playback. Star Channel was eventually brought into the company's joint venture with American Express, Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment. The channel was initially offered on systems operated by Warner Cable Communications, and later on Warner-Amex's experimental QUBE interactive service.
National expansion as The Movie Channel and operational merger with Showtime (1979–1985)
In January 1979, Star Channel became a nationally distributed service after it was uplinked to satellite. Beginning in April of that year, it shared channel and transponder space with Warner's newly launched children's network Nickelodeon (an outgrowth of its former Pinwheel programming service); this resulted in the latter service switching to an encrypted signal during the regularly scheduled network transition at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time on weekdays and 8:00 p.m. on weekends.
On December 1, 1979, the network was relaunched as The Movie Channel; the first feature film to be broadcast on the relaunched service was the 1953 comedy Roman Holiday. Following its launch, TMC became the first premium channel to show R-rated films during the daytime hours (HBO continues to not air any R-rated films on its primary channel before 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time as of 2015[update], except for occasional day-behind repeats of its Saturday movie premieres airing on Sunday late afternoons; TMC sister network Showtime, Cinemax, and now-defunct rival Spotlight did not run R-rated films during the daytime hours at the time with the former two not incorporating them onto their morning and afternoon lineups until the late 1980s/early 1990s, while another now-defunct rival Home Theater Network never ran any R-rated films as it was formatted as a family-oriented service). In January 1980, TMC ended its time-lease arrangement with Nickelodeon (then a sister network under the Warner, and later Viacom umbrellas) and became a 24-hour standalone service.
In 1981, The Movie Channel became one of the first television channels to broadcast movies in stereophonic audio. As the standard for television broadcasts in stereo was a few years away, cable operators simulcast the multichannel audio feed as an FM radio signal. Breaks between films during the 1980s featured interstitial segments such as Behind the Scenes (featuring biographies and interviews with actors appearing in films set to air on the network or be released in theaters), The Heart of Hollywood (borrowing its name from TMC's slogan used concurrently with the segment's run from 1985 to 1988, and featuring more in-depth interviews with film stars), Reel Shorts (a showcase of live action and animated short films) and Reel Hits (featuring music videos for songs featured in films of that period and their accompanying soundtracks).
In November 1982, MCA Inc. (then-owner of Universal Pictures), Gulf+Western (then-owner of Paramount Pictures) and Warner Communications banded together for a proposed joint acquisition of TMC, in which the three companies would acquire a controlling 75% interest in the struggling service from Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment. Subsequently in January 1983, Viacom added itself as a partner and proposed a merger of The Movie Channel with the company's own competing premium service Showtime, with the four studios owning 22.58% and American Express owning 9.68% of the two networks. However, the deal ran into problems since Warner, Universal and Paramount received 50% of their respective total revenue from film releases and licensing fees from premium services; furthermore, Showtime and TMC combined would control about 30% of the pay cable marketplace, creating an oligopoly with HBO (which controlled 60% of the market).
In hearings regarding the planned purchase, the U.S. Department of Justice (which had blocked a similar attempt by MCA, Gulf+Western, 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures to create a competing pay service called Premiere two years earlier) asked Warner and American Express to restructure the deal. After submitting two other plans to the Justice Department for consideration, Warner and American Express restructured the purchase to include only Viacom as a partner. The deal was greenlighted by the Justice Department later that year, with Warner Bros., American Express and Viacom ultimately folding the operations of The Movie Channel and Showtime into a new holding company called Showtime/The Movie Channel, Inc.
Transfer to Viacom (1985–2005)
In 1985, Viacom acquired Warner-Amex's ownership interest in Showtime/The Movie Channel, Inc., giving the former company exclusive ownership of both networks (Viacom owned Showtime alone or jointly with other companies from the time it launched in July 1976). The subsidiary was renamed Showtime Networks, Inc. in 1988. Ironically, Warner-Amex co-owner Warner Communications would eventually acquire rivals HBO and Cinemax, when the company merged with Time Inc. in 1989 to form Time Warner.
In May 1986, TMC began incorporating regular on-air hosts to present the channel's afternoon and evening films and provide backstory on its production; this stemmed from the network's use of celebrity guest presenters for special showcase stunts in the fall of 1985. Hosts appearing on the channel between the late 1980s and the mid-1990s included Robert Osborne (then also working as a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, and who also hosted the channel's Heart of Hollywood interstitials), Michelle Russell, Lauren Graham and Joe Bob Briggs (the pseudonym of actor and film critic John Irving Bloom, and host of the popular Saturday evening B-movie showcase Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater).
From 1988 to 1997, The Movie Channel featured trailers for current and upcoming theatrically released feature films during promotional breaks inserted between films; it also produced a 15-second daily entertainment news interstitial focusing on the film industry called The Movie Channel News that ran until 1992, featuring stories read by a continuity announcer – which depending on the segment – over a segment title graphic. In August 1993, The Movie Channel began limiting breaks between films (which sometimes ran as long as 20 minutes, and even up to 25 minutes in rare cases, depending on the scheduled start time of the following film – which was denoted on a ticker graphic that persisted within breaks during the period) to a length of five minutes or less. This followed an on-air test of the strategy during February and March of that year that saw an increase in audience retention for other films with the strategy; TMC abandoned the break limits in 1997.
Although TMC was carried by most cable providers, there were some systems that did not have agreements to carry the channel, even if a provider already carried Showtime; for example, now-defunct satellite provider Primestar never carried The Movie Channel, although it announced plans to add it in January 1999 before Primestar's assets were sold to Hughes Communications (then-owners of competitor DirecTV) shortly thereafter. In May 1994, Tele-Communications Inc. dropped The Movie Channel from more than 30 of the cable provider's service areas. The removal of the channel occurred following an antitrust lawsuit filed by Viacom against TCI, which accused the provider of a "conspiracy to eliminate" Showtime and its sister channels, including TMC. Viacom accused TCI of using the issue of a carriage contract that expired in January 1993, into pressuring Viacom to settle its lawsuit; Viacom reportedly stated that TCI threatened to hurt both Showtime and TMC unless Viacom agreed to purchase an ownership stake in Encore, which Viacom claimed to have first conceived the concept of four years earlier during failed negotiations that would have had TCI purchase 50% of Showtime Networks. The local TCI systems said that the decision to remove The Movie Channel from their channel lineups were made at the local level and was not a company-wide decision.
In August 1997, TMC underwent an extensive rebranding effort that resulted in the channel briefly premiering its own original movies (which were produced through Showtime), along with the addition of daily movie marathons set around a specific theme and a companion block known as the Double Vision Weekend, a monthly weekend-long marathon of movies. In addition, TMC also started running movie and celebrity trivia segments during breaks between films (originally known as TMC Fun Facts and later TMC Reel Stuff), along with inserting trivia during promos for movies that were scheduled to air on the channel. In October of that year, The Movie Channel launched The Movie Channel 2 as its sole multiplex service (it was later renamed The Movie Channel Xtra in 2001).
In March 2001, The Movie Channel began premiering movies that did not previously receive a theatrical, home video or DVD release (branded as "TMC First-Run Movies"). It also began airing softcore pornographic films during late night time periods. The channel also produced a series of two-minute sketches called The Pitch, starring character actor Sean Smith as a movie executive who listens as people pitch him ideas for films (the segment was tongue-in-cheek in nature as the pitches were for well-known existing feature films such as Cliffhanger and The Terminator).
Under CBS Corporation ownership (2005–present)
On June 14, 2005, Viacom decided to separate itself into two companies (only six years after the company's acquisition of CBS), both of which would be controlled by Viacom parent National Amusements, amid stagnation of the company's stock price. The original Viacom was restructured as CBS Corporation and acquired Showtime Networks along with CBS' broadcasting assets, Paramount Television (now the separate arms CBS Television Studios for network and cable production, and CBS Television Distribution for production of first-run syndicated programs and off-network series distribution), advertising firm Viacom Outdoor (renamed CBS Outdoor), Simon & Schuster, and Paramount Parks (which was later sold); the new Viacom kept Paramount Pictures, the MTV Networks and BET Networks cable divisions, and Famous Music (the latter was sold off in 2007).
On May 3, 2006, The Movie Channel adopted a new on-air look including a new logo and slogan (Movies For Movie Lovers). Bumpers that introduced films were dropped entirely (instead starting the film with the customary intermediate bumper providing rating and content information). The channel's website – which only featured a programming schedule with up to one month of data in advance – was also revamped with the addition of special features including an online store, a streaming video player and previews of films set to air on the channel (TMC still features movie trivia interstitials between films on the linear channels and on its video-on-demand service, though it directs viewers to the channel's website for answers to the trivia questions).
List of channels
Depending on the service provider, The Movie Channel provides up to four multiplex channels – two 24-hour multiplex channels, both of which are simulcast in both standard definition and high definition – as well as a subscription video-on-demand service (The Movie Channel On Demand). The Movie Channel broadcasts its primary channel and multiplex service The Movie Channel Xtra on both Eastern and Pacific Time Zone schedules. The respective coastal feeds of each channel are usually packaged together (though most cable providers only offer the east and west coast feeds of TMC's main channel), resulting in the difference in local airtimes for a particular movie or program between two geographic locations being three hours at most.
Showtime and Flix, which are also owned by CBS Corporation, operate as separate services. Although The Movie Channel is frequently sold together in a package with Showtime, TMC subscribers do not necessarily have to subscribe to the other two services. Prior to the advent of digital cable, many providers often sold The Movie Channel separately from Showtime. Showtime began offering all of its channels, including TMC, Flix and Sundance Channel (now owned by AMC Networks), in a single package by the early 2000s; this resulted in most providers (with the exception of Comcast, DirecTV and Dish Network) ceasing to sell or promote The Movie Channel separately from Showtime (Dish Network and DirecTV offer both TMC and TMC Xtra optionally as either a package with the remainder of the Showtime multiplex, or as part of a separate movie tier to subscribers that do not already have Showtime; both The Movie Channel and Encore are the only U.S. premium channels to be offered to subscribers that do not subscribe to their co-owned premium services).
|Channel||Description and programming|
The Movie Channel
|The "flagship" channel; TMC carries blockbuster and smaller first-run films, independent films and late-night erotica. The channel broadcasts a featured movie around 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time each night and has one regularly-scheduled movie block: the weekly horror movie double feature "Splatterday on Saturday" on Saturday evenings at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.|
The Movie Channel Xtra
|A secondary channel providing more movie choice for viewers, that is counterprogrammed with The Movie Channel with a largely separate schedule (outside of some common titles shared between the two channels during each month, which are shown in different time slots). TMC Xtra features a nightly feature movie around 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and rebroadcasts TMC's "Splatterday" block from the previous week on Friday nights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Launched in October 1997, the channel was formerly known as The Movie Channel 2 until March 2001.|
The Movie Channel HD
The Movie Channel HD is a high definition simulcast feed of The Movie Channel that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format. The simulcast launched on December 1, 2003. In addition to its main channel, TMC also operates a high definition simulcast feed of The Movie Channel Xtra; both services broadcast a moderate-to-large schedule of programming in HD, with films generally being broadcast in their native aspect ratio. The Movie Channel HD is carried by most of the major American pay television providers: including Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Xfinity by Comcast, Cablevision, AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon FiOS.
The Movie Channel On Demand
The Movie Channel operates a subscription video-on-demand television service called The Movie Channel on Demand, which is available at no additional charge to new and existing subscribers of The Movie Channel. The service launched on December 1, 2003, with a subscriber base of two million homes. The Movie Channel On Demand offers program content available in standard or high definition based on the following genres: action and adventure films, dramas, comedies and softcore pornographic films. It also offers special feature content consisting of film trivia and behind-the-scenes features including interviews. The Movie Channel on Demand's rotating program selection incorporates select new titles that are added each Friday, alongside existing program titles held over from the previous one to two weeks.
As of August 2013, The Movie Channel – through Showtime – maintains exclusive first-run film licensing agreements with network sister company CBS Films (since 2007), The Weinstein Company (since 2009, including releases by Dimension Films; Netflix will assume the rights to The Weinstein Company's films starting in 2016; ironically, TWC owns 25% of rival premium channel Starz), DreamWorks (featuring only live-action releases through Touchstone Pictures, as part of a distribution agreement with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures), IFC Films, Miramax Films (including films released by Dimension Films), Summit Entertainment (for films released prior to 2013), WWE Films, Magnolia Pictures, First Look Studios, and Anchor Bay Entertainment (ironically owned by Starz).
The Movie Channel also shows sub-runs – runs of films that have already received broadcast or syndicated television airings – of theatrical films from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (including content from subsidiaries Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, and former subsidiary and current independently operated studio Miramax), Samuel Goldwyn Films, Universal Studios (including content from subsidiary Focus Features), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (including content from subsidiaries United Artists, Orion Pictures, and The Samuel Goldwyn Company), Relativity Media (after Netflix's pay television window for its individual releases concludes), Paramount Pictures, and Lions Gate Entertainment (sub-run rights with the latter three studios are for films released prior to 2008). Although it does not hold the pay television rights to telecast recent films from 20th Century Fox – which are held by HBO, as of 2015[update] – The Movie Channel does run independent films to which that studio owns the home video rights, regardless as to whether they were released theatrically. In 2006, Showtime Networks entered into a partial deal with Rogue Pictures to broadcast select films released by the studio (especially those originally produced for home video release).
Many lesser-known film titles (particularly those released as independent films) that have either not received a theatrical release or were released on DVD or home video are also commonly broadcast on TMC. The window between a film's initial release in theaters and its initial screening on Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix is wider than the grace period leading to a film's initial broadcast on HBO, Cinemax or Starz. Films that Showtime has pay cable rights to will usually also run on The Movie Channel and sister channel Flix during the period of its term of licensing.
Future licensing agreements
On October 1, 2013, Showtime Networks announced that it entered into a four-year film licensing agreement with Open Road Films to broadcast feature films released by the studio between 2017 and 2020.
On January 20, 2015, Showtime announced that it entered into a multi-year premium television output deal with film, television and multimedia studio STX Entertainment. The deal encompasses all films distributed theatrically by the studio through 2019, which will be shown exclusively on Showtime Networks and its multiplex channels.
- Splatterday: In May 2006, The Movie Channel introduced a weekly block called Splatterday on Saturday (also known as simply "Splatterday"). The block, which airs on Saturday nights starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, is a double feature of horror movies (however until late 2008, the now-defunct Showtime series Masters of Horror aired within the block, as the only television series to ever air on The Movie Channel). Both films airing in that week's initial late evening block are rebroadcast on TMC's primary channel following the conclusion of the second film, the entire block is also rebroadcast on The Movie Channel Xtra the following Friday evening – the night prior to that week's block on The Movie Channel – at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
- The Good Stuff: The Movie Channel introduced a weeknight block called "The Good Stuff" in May 2006, showcasing critically acclaimed theatrical and independent films as part of its late night schedule, usually airing around 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
- Midnight Madness: Running from 1983 to 1988, the block originated as the "The Saturday Special," a showcase of comedy and musical films on Saturday late nights at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The block, maintaining the same format and time slot, was renamed "Friday Movie Madness" upon its move to Fridays in 1984, before being renamed "Midnight Madness" in 1985.
- Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater: Originally debuting in 1984 as The Movie Channel's Drive-In Theater, airing on Fridays, the presentation featured a mix of cult films and B movies (two per week). In 1986, the program was moved to Saturday nights with the appointment of a regular host, Joe Bob Briggs (the pseudonym of actor and film critic John Irving Bloom), who standardly wore cowboy attire and a ten-gallon hat. Among the many recurring gags featured in the wraparound segments seen prior to and following the films within the retitled Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater include Briggs' unique way of introducing movies (including referencing exactly how much violence and nudity was included in each movie) and his signoff "this is Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die". Bloom's work as the Joe Bob character also extended as host of The Movie Channel's Midnight Madness block during the second half of the 1980s. Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater ended its ten-year run on TMC on February 24, 1996, with Bloom reprising the Joe Bob Briggs character as host of TNT's MonsterVision horror film block from 1997 to 2000.
- Salute to the Academy Awards: The Movie Channel aired the "Salute to the Academy Awards" (a month-long block similar to Turner Classic Movies' present-day 31 Days of Oscar) from 1984 to 1997, which ran during the month proceeding the Academy Awards. It featured movies that have won or earned nominations for Academy Awards in various film and acting categories, with one Oscar-winning or Oscar-nominated film airing each evening.
- Tuesday Film Festival: Running from 1985 to 1987, the block was a prime time showcase of critically acclaimed feature films.
- VCR Theater/VCR Overnite/TMC Overnight: The channel launched a weekly feature called "The Movie Channel's VCR Theater" in the spring of 1986, which aired early Wednesday mornings at 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The block was created in response to the rise in consumer ownership of VCRs (particularly among the channel's subscriber base) during the 1980s. Films featured in the block were selections that the channel's programming department believed were worth recording for their subscribers to watch at a time of their choosing. The block was renamed "VCR Overnite" in 1988, and again in 1997 as "TMC Overnight"; it was discontinued in 2004.
- TMC Top Attraction: This block ran from 1988 to 1991, with a featured movie title being showcased each Friday night at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Encore rebroadcasts of the films were then aired two hours earlier from the prior prime time telecast on Saturday (at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time) and Sunday evenings (at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time).
- The Movie Channel's Weekend Multiplex: Running from 1988 to 1991, the "Weekend Multiplex" was an evening umbrella block encompassing several distinct themed film blocks on Friday through Sundays starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The Top Attraction and Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater were joined as part of the lineup alongside the "TGIF Movie" (a Friday early evening showcase featuring lighter film fare), "Friday Night Action" (a weekly showcase of action films), "The Early Show" (featuring a different feature film on Saturday early evenings), the "Sunday Star Movie" (a prime time feature movie) and "Critics' Choice" (a showcase of critically acclaimed feature films).
- The Movie Channel Challenge: This programming stunt ran from 1990 to 1997, in which approximately 400 movies were broadcast on The Movie Channel during the course of one month without any repeat showings. Airing during the summer, "The Movie Channel Challenge" was developed with the intent to set TMC apart from the scheduling format of most premium channels (including that of The Movie Channel itself) that typically feature repeat airings of most films several times during the calendar month. A set of movies starring a particular actor or focusing on a certain film genre would be aired at various points during the period.
- The Movie Channel Marathons: Following a major on-air rebrand of TMC in August 1997, the channel started airing movie marathons seven days a week, featuring three (or sometimes four) films that were tied to a specific subject (such as "Ouch" for crime dramas, or "The Eyes Have It" for films with the word "eyes" in their title such as Night Eyes 3) or actor (such as "Omar Goodness" for movies starring Omar Epps). These themed marathons which were discontinued in 2006.
- TMC Double Vision Weekends: In conjunction with the daily marathons, The Movie Channel ran "Double Vision Weekends" on a bi-monthly basis beginning in August 1997. These three-day long blocks featured three different movies starring a particular actor or actress with a different marathon block being shown following the previous block's conclusion. The "Double Vision Weekend" lineup typically lasted for longer than one of the network's typical movie marathons (the daily marathon lineups ran during the afternoon and/or evening hours). The "Double Vision Weekends" blocks were discontinued in 2006, along with the daily film marathons.
Over the years, TMC has used a myriad of unique, and sometimes bizarre logos and promotions. The channel's original logo under the "Movie Channel" name incorporated a star outline made up of film strips with folded sides, indirectly referencing its previous identity as Star Channel. In 1981, the text for the network's name changed from the Broadway typeface to a stylized all-uppercase font (with a slightly enlarged letter "M") augmented to the left and underside of the star. From 1983 to 1985, the network alternately used a script logo (which varied slightly in style, depending on the promo or ID it was displayed in), sometimes more often than its "star" logo. Between 1985 and 1988, TMC began airing somewhat clever graphics for their time such as a "tour of Hollywood" movie open which closed with a shot of the Hollywood skyline with a faint heart outline in the middle of the sky.
On May 1, 1988, The Movie Channel debuted its "eye and profile" logo, which utilized various designs incorporating facial expressions, with the channel's name rendered in Helvetica Extended on tilted black bars at the top and bottom of the logo; some viewers have commented on online blogs and video websites such as YouTube that this logo, due to the eyes being prominently displayed, had frightened them as young children (this logo was replicated somewhat when WGN America used a logo featuring a set of female eyes rimmed with green mascara from 2008 to 2009). The channel ran different computer-animated 10 second feature presentation opens and network IDs (among which included the logo changing facial expressions at the open of a curtain set to a bouncy keyboard tune, a grayscale version of the logo – which then winked – rotating to face the screen in front of a gray background accompanied by a steady drumbeat and a relatively longer movie opener (which mixed in live-action) set in a living room to Indiana Jones-style adventure music that begins with the strike of a match after which the eyes of the logo – which is printed on a newspaper that is being set afire as kindling in a fireplace – shoots lasers and escapes from the paper on a calamity-filled journey through a family's living room from the logo's point of view as it heads toward the safety of a TV set).
TMC adopted a very slick on-air look that predominantly used CGI graphics, with the debut of a new logo in August 1997, a 3D computer-animated green sphere with a tilted and lowercase "TMC" emblazoned on it, usually shown either to the right of the channel's full name or above the name (also rendered in lowercase type). Jeff Bottoms (who has since become The Movie Channel's longest-serving promo announcer, and also does promotions for sister channel Showtime) promoted upcoming programs between films with humorous, and tongue-in-cheek voiceovers. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, The Movie Channel started running a wide variety of network promotions from those akin to a movie trailer to typical promos that feature behind-the-scenes trivia relating to the film. The latter technique is still used by the channel today, often in a more hybrid way.
An extensively modified logo was introduced on March 5, 2001, featuring a one-dimensional circle with a lowercase "tmc" in Knockout type on it, surrounded with two lines on the corners framing the circle; the "movie" in the channel's name was rendered in bold. The Movie Channel's current logo was introduced on May 3, 2006, featuring three colored crescent-like sections in a circle framing the channel's name, rendered in the same Helvetica typeface variant used in the 1988-1997 logo. Online film reviewers were incorporated into promos for films to provide backstory on the movie at this point. On April 1, 2010, The Movie Channel and TMC Xtra began displaying digital on-screen graphic logos of the respective channels during its programming; the bug seen is an alternate version of the channel's logo with each segment of the channel's name appearing in a vertically stacked fashion.
- 1979–1983: "All Movies, 24 Hours a Day" (alternately "All Movies, Only Movies, 24 Hours a Day"; used as alternate slogan from 1985–1988)
- 1981–1983: "We're Taking the Movies to America"
- 1981–1983: "You've Got The Movie Channel, The Movies You Want to See(, 24 Hours a Day)"
- 1983–1984: "Anytime You Gotta Have A Movie" (commercial slogan)
- 1984–1988: "The Heart of Hollywood"
- 1988–1993: "A Movie Anytime You Want One"
- 1993–1997: "The Movie Channel, Where You're Never More Than 5 Minutes Away from a Movie"
- 1997–2001: "100% Pure Movies, 100% Pure Fun"
- 2001–2006: "The Stuff Movies Are Made of"
- 2006–present: "Movies for Movie Lovers"
- 2014: "Nobody has it Better than on The Movie Channel" (secondary slogan)
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- TMC commercial on YouTube on YouTube
- The Movie Channel Bumpers - (1989-1997) on YouTube
- July 1994 Pay TV Promos #2 on YouTube
- July 1981 Movie Channel promos on YouTube
- TMC commercial on YouTube on YouTube
- 1994 - Promo - Tonight on The Movie Channel on YouTube
- The Movie Channel promos 11-2007 on YouTube