|Type||Digital broadcast television network
(classic television series, movies)
|Availability||Nationwide via OTA digital television
(covering 75% of the U.S.)
|Slogan||TV How It Was Meant to Be!|
|January 1, 2011|
|Affiliates||List of affiliates|
Antenna TV is an American digital multicast television network that is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of Tribune Media, which primarily features classic television series from the 1950s to the 1990s and some feature films, with most of the network's programming coming from the Sony Pictures Entertainment library, along with a few shows from the Universal Studios and post-1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer libraries. Antenna TV's programming and advertising operations are headquartered in the Tribune Tower in Chicago, Illinois. The network's operations are overseen by Sean Compton, who serves as the president of programming for Tribune Broadcasting.
The network is available in many media markets via digital subchannels of over-the-air broadcast television stations, and on select cable television providers through a local affiliate of the network. Antenna TV broadcasts 24 hours a day in 480i standard definition. Antenna TV is a sister network to the movie-oriented multicast service This TV, which Tribune Broadcasting maintains a 50% ownership stake.
Tribune Broadcasting announced the formation of Antenna TV on August 30, 2010, with a planned target date of January 1, 2011, for the network's launch; it was originally intended to launch on January 3, 2011, though the launch date was later pushed two days ahead of schedule.
Antenna TV was launched on January 1, 2011, at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time (the late evening of December 31, 2010, in other U.S. time zones), initially debuting on seventeen Tribune-owned stations and thirteen stations owned by Local TV (an Oak Hill Capital Partners-controlled holding company that Tribune had been co-managing since 2008 and was acquired by the company in December 2013). The first program to air on Antenna TV was the Three Stooges ' first short "Woman Haters" as part of a marathon of short films involving the comedy trio (which has since become an annual New Year's Day tradition on the network, originally airing as an all-day marathon before being reduced to airing only on New Year's Day morning in 2013).
On October 1, 2011, Antenna TV introduced block scheduling for most of its programs, organized by genre and the decade of their original broadcast; it included a weekday afternoon block of sitcoms from the 1950s, a weekend afternoon block of 1960s sitcoms (including the early 1970s sitcom, The Partridge Family), a Saturday night lineup of drama series (a genre of television programs which had previously aired on the network in very limited form on Sunday mornings only), an overnight block of classic television series from the black-and-white era of the 1950s and early 1960s, a Sunday prime-time lineup of sitcoms from the 1990s, and a weeknight prime-time lineup of comedies from the 1970s; with the exception of the black-and-white program block (which was reduced to once a week and moved to Friday nights, where it remained – except for a brief sabbatical from January to April 2013 – until being dropped completely in November 2013) and the Saturday night drama block (which was reduced to Saturday evenings only, and was later replaced by movies in September 2013), most of these blocks were dropped on March 26, 2012.
Antenna TV's program schedule relies on the extensive library of films and television programming currently owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, which comprises more than 270 television series and over 4,000 films. The network does not air a split-screen credit sequence (one of only two Tribune television properties not to do so, alongside the Food Network, which is 30% owned by the company) or feature voice-overs promoting upcoming programs on the network during the closing credits (borrowing a format common in local broadcast syndication), nor does it display an on-screen logo bug during its programs, although affiliates are inclined to display their own on-screen logo bug during Antenna TV programming if they choose to incorporate it (many that do decide to display station logos use modified versions from past eras; for example, WPHL-TV in Philadelphia uses a variant seen during its 1970s/'80s branding, as "Channel 17, The Great Entertainer").
As is common with digital multicast networks, advertisements featured during commercial breaks on Antenna TV primarily consist of direct response advertisements for products featured in infomercials and particularly during its Saturday morning children's programming, public service announcements; satellite provider Dish Network and insurance company Progressive are currently the network's primary national sponsors. The network's primary continuity announcer was disc jockey and voice actor Gary Owens of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In fame, who was with the network since its launch until his death on February 13, 2015 (however, promotions voiced by Owens prior to his death continue to air the network in the interim); voice actor John B. Wells, also co-host of Premiere Networks' syndicated radio program Coast to Coast AM, has served a secondary continuity announcer for Antenna TV since November 2011.
Antenna TV also runs occasional marathons of either its series or feature films that it has rights to on major national holidays as well as during the Super Bowl (movie marathons only run during Valentine's Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day (until 2013), and the date of the Super Bowl, with series airing in marathon form on other occasions). Among the marathons regularly carried by the network are those of Hazel and Father Knows Best that have respectively aired on Mother's Day and Father's Day annually since 2011; it also airs a 48-hour marathon of holiday-themed episodes of its various series from Christmas Eve until Christmas night, interrupted on Christmas morning by a four-hour broadcast of The Yule Log (a film loop of logs burning inside a fireplace at Gracie Mansion set to a soundtrack of Christmas music, which originated on New York City affiliate WPIX in 1966).
The network also marks the occurrence of an actor's recent death (either an established or character) with an "in memoriam" bumper shown during breaks between certain programs, and an occasional afternoon-long marathon showcasing episodes of that artist's television series roles, either guest appearances, episodes of series in which the person was a regular cast member, or both. Episodes of series on the network's regular schedule that would normally air next in broadcast order and are pre-empted by some of the marathons are usually skipped over entirely as a result, with the next episodes that were broadcast afterward airing instead; the pre-empted episodes are held over until the next broadcast cycle.
Antenna TV has program licensing agreements with Sony Pictures Entertainment (which includes series produced by Columbia Pictures Television, TriStar Television and their merged production unit Columbia TriStar Television (which was reorganized as Sony Pictures Television in 2002), Screen Gems and ELP Communications (including predecessors Tandem Productions, T.A.T. Communications and Embassy Communications) and DLT Entertainment). The network also shares broadcast rights to classic television programs from the NBCUniversal Television Distribution and 20th Television libraries with competing Weigel Broadcasting-owned digital broadcast network and primary rightsholder Me-TV (with Antenna TV gaining access to Universal's program library in the fall of 2011, after those shows were removed from the Retro Television Network, and access to 20th Television's library via its April 2012 acquisition of WKRP in Cincinnati with other series from the library being added in January 2015) and rights to select program titles from MGM Television (which includes series produced by Filmways) with Antenna TV sister network This TV.
The network's series programming primarily covers sitcoms – along with some select drama series – from the 1950s to the 1990s and includes shows such as All in the Family, Leave It to Beaver, Bewitched, McHale's Navy, Sanford and Son, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Mr. Belvedere, I Dream of Jeannie, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, The Patty Duke Show, and Good Times; while several series on the network have been widely syndicated on other television outlets in the United States and abroad, some series featured on the network (such as Hazel, Evening Shade, Doogie Howser, M.D., Small Wonder, and Father Knows Best) have not been seen on television – at least, in the U.S. – for several years or have been syndicated on a fairly inconsistent basis.
Drama series, which occupied a limited amount of the network's schedule for the first few months on the air, later expanded with an October 2011 programming realignment, with crime drama, mystery and suspense programs airing in an evening block on Saturdays, which included It Takes a Thief, Adam-12, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, S.W.A.T. and Suspense Theater; some of these programs are also aired during the week in limited form during the late afternoon and overnight hours. The Saturday drama block was dropped in September 2012, with drama series on Saturdays being moved to the late afternoon hours and movies replacing them on Saturday nights. Drama series now air sporadially within the schedule, with most of the handful of programs of that genre it currently runs (with the exception of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which airs seven nights a week) airing in various weekend timeslots. In a rarity for television, Antenna TV has rotated a television series and its spinoffs on its schedule in the same hour, airing the shorter-lived spinoffs of Three's Company (The Ropers and Three's a Crowd) with the parent show being relegated to the first half-hour of the hour-long block (differing from the network's normal double-episode scheduling for its series) once they cycle back onto the schedule (the cycling of The Ropers and Three's a Crowd ended with a January 2015 programming realignment that saw both series given their own separate weekend-only runs on the network).
As of January 2015, Antenna TV broadcasts feature films weekend mornings from 5:00 to 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time (sometimes starting earlier or ending later depending on the length of the films), branded under the umbrella title of Antenna TV Theater. In addition to access to television series owned by Sony Pictures Television, the agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment also includes access to movies from the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group film library (including Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Screen Gems, Triumph Films, and the television rights to the Embassy Pictures library). The film roster does not concentrate on films from any specific era, meaning any film from the 1930s to as late as the early 2000s can be featured on the network's schedule, although since 2014, the vast majority of the films airing on the network have been pre-1980s releases.
Since 2013, Antenna TV has gradually scaled back its film telecasts in favor of additional blocks of classic television series (particularly on weekday mornings, where Antenna TV Theater originally ran as a six-hour block at the network's launch; movies were eliminated from weekdays outright as part of a January 2015 schedule revamp). During 2014, the network shared film content with sister network This TV (a movie-oriented broadcast network, whose transfer of operational control and partial ownership to Tribune from Weigel Broadcasting in November 2013 has partly influenced Antenna TV's removal of films); on certain occasions, a movie that aired on Antenna TV's film block would air on This TV on the same day or during the same week in different timeslots.
Antenna TV provides four hours of programming aimed at children on Saturday mornings, consisting of shows originally distributed for syndication by Bellum Entertainment Group (presently made up of Animal Atlas, Safari Tracks, On the Spot, Family Style with Chef Jeff, and The Coolest Places on Earth), which complies with weekly requirements for educational children's programming (and in turn, exceeding the three minimum hours) defined in the Federal Communications Commission's Children's Television Act.
As of January 2015, Antenna TV has current or pending affiliation agreements with television stations in 94 media markets encompassing 21 states and the District of Columbia, covering 75% of the United States. The network is offered to prospective affiliates on a barter basis, an agreement in which the station will get the programming at little or no cost in exchange for giving a certain amount of commercial time to the network. Despite this barter offer, some large television markets without stations owned by Tribune have yet to affiliate with the network. As of February 2015[update], Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the largest television market without an Antenna TV affiliate.
Tribune Broadcasting planned to launch Antenna TV in all markets with stations owned by Tribune and, as part of a co-management agreement with the company that existed until Tribune acquired it outright at the end of 2013, Local TV. Tribune's flagship station WGN-TV in Chicago serves as the de facto flagship station of the network. In Denver and St. Louis, two of the markets where Tribune maintains duopolies, the Antenna TV affiliation went to digital subchannels of Local TV-owned Fox affiliates KDVR and KTVI, rather than on Tribune-owned CW affiliates KWGN-TV and KPLR-TV – which were operated alongside KDVR and KTVI under local marketing agreements – in order to address bandwidth concerns as the two Tribune outlets already maintained subchannels carrying This TV (Fox stations transmit their main signals by default in 720p, which provides a lower bitrate adequate for multiplexing of up to three subchannels, while the main channels of CW stations are usually transmitted in the higher resolution 1080i format, which utilizes a larger bitrate size that is more succeptible to causing pixellation of multiple subchannels).
However, not all of the charter affiliates added the network at its launch either to allow stations to reconfigure their bandwidth or to assure the affiliated subchannel's carriage on cable providers when Antenna TV launched locally. Fox affiliate KSTU in Salt Lake City, NBC affiliate WHO-TV in Des Moines (both owned by Local TV at the time) and CW affiliate WDCW in Washington, D.C. (owned by Tribune) debuted the network on their digital subchannels later during January 2011; while NBC affiliate KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City did not carry the network until April 21, 2011 on a new third digital subchannel (it has since been moved to that station's second subchannel). The final Tribune/Local TV market to add the network was Fort Smith, Arkansas, where the network began to be carried on Fayetteville-based MyNetworkTV affiliate KXNW on January 5, 2012 as an overnight secondary service; Antenna TV was unable to launch in the market before the KXNW purchase due to existing syndicated programming rights on sister CBS affiliate KFSM-TV's MyNetworkTV-affiliated second subchannel (which now acts as a KXNW simulcast) and a 1080i signal, which precluded a launch of a third subchannel without affecting picture quality. Some affiliates such as KTLA in Los Angeles aired previews of Antenna TV prior to the launch date on their primary channel. In the wake of Universal Sports converting from a digital broadcast to a cable and satellite service on January 1, 2012, most of these stations have signed affiliation agreements with Antenna TV (or Me-TV) as a replacement for that network.
Individual programs aired by the network may be substituted if a station other than the Antenna TV affiliate holds the local syndication rights; as an example, KTLA's Antenna TV subchannel replaced an hour-long block of Married... with Children on Monday through Thursdays (which aired at 8:00 p.m. local time until November 2013, in an earlier time slot, but airing simultaneously as the remainder of the country as Antenna TV operates only on an Eastern Time Zone schedule), with a rebroadcast of that station's weeknight 6:00 p.m. newscast due to the program's rights being held by another Los Angeles area outlet, independent station KDOC-TV. When the sitcom Soap was added to the network's lineup in May 2011 during Married...'s original run on Antenna TV, the Sunday night rebroadcast of KTLA's early evening newscast was removed and Soap was cleared to air locally (the news rebroadcast on KTLA-DT2 returned in April 2012).
So far, Antenna TV has had two instances of switching affiliates in the same market. In Honolulu, Hawaii, the Antenna TV affiliation moved from the market's original affiliate KUPU (which was one of only two stations carrying the network on its primary channel, the other station and the only one still doing so being KXNW) to the second digital subchannel of NBC affiliate KHNL in May 2012 due to KUPU not being available on cable television throughout the state outside of the Honolulu metropolitan area, whereas KNHL has widespread cable penetration. The original affiliate for the Charlotte, North Carolina market, WJZY, dropped the network and replaced it with Movies! (a network part-owned by Fox Television Stations, which bought WJZY in April 2013) on its second subchannel on July 1, 2014; on August 15, WCCB (which, incidentally, took the CW affiliation from WJZY as a result of the latter's switch to Fox on July 1, 2013) began carrying Antenna TV on its second digital subchannel.
Antenna TV, which is now available on 94 affiliates across the U.S. reaching 75 percent of TV households