|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Type||Digital broadcast television network|
(not available in all markets)
|Slogan||TV How It Was Meant to Be!|
(President of Programming, Tribune Broadcasting)
|January 1, 2011|
Antenna TV is an American digital broadcast television network that is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Chicago-based Tribune Media, which (since November 1, 2013) also holds a 50% ownership stake in fellow multicast network This TV. The network 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.
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.
Tribune Broadcasting announced the formation of Antenna TV on August 30, 2010, with a planned target date of January 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 midnight Eastern Time (the late evening of December 31, 2010 in other U.S. time zones), initially debuting on 17 Tribune-owned stations and 13 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). The network's operations are overseen by Sean Compton, who serves as the president of programming for parent company Tribune Broadcasting.
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 who do decide to display station logos use ones from past eras (for example, WPHL-TV in Philadelphia uses a variant of their 1970s/80s brand, 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 is disc jockey and voice actor Gary Owens of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In fame, who has been with the network since its launch; 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 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 36-hour marathon of holiday-themed episodes of its various series from Christmas Eve night until Christmas night. The network also marks the occurrence of an actor's recent death (either an established or character) with an 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 library with primary rightsholder and competing digital broadcast network Weigel Broadcasting-owned 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 rights to select program titles from MGM Television (which includes series produced by Filmways) with Antenna TV sister network This TV. In addition, Antenna TV also airs WKRP in Cincinnati, which is part of the 20th Television library (which Me-TV also holds primary rights to that distributor's library of classic television series).
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 The Partridge Family, Flipper, All in the Family, Diff'rent Strokes, Bewitched, McHale's Navy, Sanford and Son, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Monkees, I Dream of Jeannie, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Mister Ed 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, Bachelor Father and Father Knows Best) have not been seen on television for several years.
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 such programs 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, such as airing the shorter-lived spinoffs of Three's Company (The Ropers and Three's a Crowd) with the parent show airing alongside either once they debut on the schedule.
Antenna TV broadcasts feature films Monday through Fridays from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., and 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 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 film library of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group (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 majority of the films airing on the network have been pre-1980s releases.
Since 2013, Antenna TV has gradually scaled back its film telecasts (particularly on weekday mornings, where the Antenna TV Theater block had originally ran for six hours at the network's launch) in favor of adding additional classic television series. Beginning in January 2014, the network has shared film content with sister network This TV (which specializes in feature and made-for-home-video films); on certain occasions, a film that aired on Antenna TV during its weekday morning and weekend evening film blocks may air on This TV on the same day or during the same week in a different timeslot than that which it was scheduled on Antenna TV.
Antenna TV also airs three hours of programming aimed at children on Saturday mornings, consisting of shows such as Animal Rescue, Swap TV and Word Travels, which comply with the Federal Communications Commission's minimum weekly requirements for educational children's programming.
Tribune planned to launch Antenna TV in all markets served by a station owned by Tribune Broadcasting, along with stations owned by Local TV as part of that group's co-management agreement with Tribune that existed until it acquired the Local TV group at the end of 2013. Tribune's flagship station WGN-TV in Chicago serves as the de facto flagship station of the network. In the Denver and St. Louis markets, where Tribune operates a television station duopoly in each market, the network airs on the digital subchannels of Fox affiliates KDVR and KTVI (beginning when both stations were under Local TV ownership while its LMA partners were already owned by Tribune), rather than on CW affiliates KWGN-TV and KPLR-TV in order to address bandwidth concerns as Fox stations transmit their main signals by default in 720p, which allows plenty of room for a subchannel, while the main channels of CW stations are usually transmitted in the higher resolution 1080i format.
However, not all of the charter affiliates added Antenna TV programming on their digital signals on the network's launch date due to reconfiguration of their bandwidth or assurance that local cable carriage was lined up when they launched the network locally. Salt Lake City Fox affiliate KSTU, Des Moines NBC affiliate WHO-TV (both owned by Local TV at the time) and Washington, D.C. CW affiliate WDCW (owned by Tribune) debuted the network on their digital subchannels later in the month of 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.
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 acquire the network. 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 (or Me-TV) as a replacement for that network.
Not every program on the Antenna TV lineup is seen in all of the network's markets; as an example, in the Los Angeles area, KTLA's Antenna TV subchannel replaced an hour-long block of Married... with Children (which was seen 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 rights held by another local outlet (in this case, current local rightsholder, independent station KDOC-TV), though it was only affected on Monday through Thursdays. 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, KUPU was that market's original affiliate. KUPU 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). Because KUPU is not available on cable television throughout the entire state of Hawaii (only the Honolulu metropolitan area), the Antenna TV affiliation moved to the second digital subchannel of NBC affiliate KHNL in May 2012, which has widespread cable penetration. The original affiliate for the Charlotte, North Carolina market, WJZY, dropped the network from its second subchannel on July 1, 2014 and replaced it with Movies!. This was a result of WJZY being acquired by Fox Television Stations in April 2013, which owns 50% of the Movies! network. On August 15, 2014, Antenna TV launched on the second subchannel of WCCB. Antenna TV was also the second network to debut on WCCB that was previously on WJZY. The CW was originally on WJZY from its launch in 2006 to July 1, 2013 when it moved to WCCB.