|Type||Digital broadcast television network
(Movies, classic television series, children's programs)
|Availability||Nationwide via OTA digital television
(covering 85% of the U.S.)
|Founded||July 28, 2008|
|Slogan||It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This
This is Your Movie Network
(both owning 50%)
(President of Programming, Tribune Broadcasting)
|November 1, 2008|
|Affiliates||List of affiliates|
This TV (also known as "This TV Network" or "this", and alternately stylized as "thisTV") is an American digital broadcast television network that is operated as a joint venture between the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of Tribune Media, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This TV maintains a large programming emphasis on movies, but also airs other limited general entertainment content in the form of classic television series and children's programming.
The network is available in many media markets via broadcast television stations, primarily on their digital subchannels, and on select cable providers through carriage of a local affiliate (primarily on digital tiers). This TV broadcasts 24 hours a day in 480i standard definition. This TV's programming and business operations are headquartered at the Tribune Tower in Chicago; MGM handles advertising sales for the network through its offices in New York City.
Film and television studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Chicago, Illinois-based television station owner Weigel Broadcasting announced the formation of This TV on July 28, 2008, with a launch planned for that autumn. The "This TV" name was chosen as a branding and marketing avenue for the network and its stations, with slogans such as "THIS is the place for movies", "THIS is what you’re watching" and "It doesn't get any better than THIS!" proposed for use in on-air promotions.
This TV formally launched at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on November 1, 2008, with the 1986 Spike Lee film She's Gotta Have It as the network’s first program. However, some initial affiliates may have "soft launched" the network one day earlier – on October 31, 2008 – to carry some Halloween-themed programming that was provided by This TV.
The network's operations were overseen under Weigel part-ownership by Neal Sabin, who in his role as Weigel Broadcasting's executive vice president oversaw the national launch of Me-TV, a classic television network similar to This TV. Jim Marketti, president/CEO of Marketti Creative Group, was hired in August 2008 as This TV's creative director, focusing on the network's marketing and promotion.
On May 13, 2013, Weigel Broadcasting announced that it would be leaving the This TV partnership in order to focus on Movies!, a similar film-oriented multicast network that Weigel launched in partnership with Fox Television Stations in January 2013. Tribune Broadcasting, owners of the classic television multicast network Antenna TV, took over daily operations of This TV on November 1, 2013; concurrently, the network moved its affiliation in Chicago from the fifth digital subchannel of Weigel flagship station WCIU-TV (channel 26) to a newly created third subchannel of Tribune's television flagship WGN-TV (channel 9). Sean Compton, president of programming for Tribune Broadcasting, began overseeing operations for the network as a result of the transaction.
This TV's program schedule relies on the extensive library of films and television programming currently owned by MGM and subsidiary United Artists (notably excluding the pre-May 1986 MGM film and television library, the Associated Artists Productions (a.a.p.) library, Gilligan's Island and its animated spin-offs, and the U.S. rights to the RKO Pictures library, whose rights are currently held by Time Warner through its Turner Entertainment subsidiary). No originally produced programming appears on the network, although the use of on-air presenters had once been considered for This TV's movie broadcasts; the network is also devoid of informercial programming. However, the network does display an on-screen logo bug during its programs, and affiliates are inclined to include regional descriptors reflecting the station's primary broadcast area or the station's own logo underneath the network bug.
The network did not utilize a split-screen credit sequence to promote upcoming programs during the closing credits until Tribune took over operations (these appear in the style used by many of Tribune's television stations and co-owned WGN America, with one or two network promos appearing on the top left of the screen on films that feature the credits running at normal or accelerated speed, framed by a text/background only graphic referencing the next program or promoting the network's website or social media accounts). Films broadcast on the network do feature commercial interruption, and breaks during its programming primarily consist of direct response advertisements for products featured in informercials and, particularly during This TV's children's programming, public service announcements. The network's first continuity announcer was Milwaukee radio personality and Miller Park PA system announcer Robb Edwards, who was replaced later in the Weigel era by Jim Cummings; Andy Geller, the primary promo voice of ABC through the 2000s, took over when Tribune assumed partial ownership of This TV.
This TV's daily schedule consists largely of feature films, which air on Monday through Saturdays from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m., and Sundays from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m., 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 to 4:00 a.m. Eastern Time (sometimes starting earlier or ending later depending on the length of the films). The film roster does not concentrate on films from any specific era (although the network's film slate primarily focuses on releases made after 1960), meaning any film from the Depression era to contemporary times, and films made for either television, home video/DVD or theatrical release can be featured.
The network's film telecasts usually, by far, are "television" cuts meant for broadcast syndication which feature content edits, dubbing or muting of profanities (including some that may otherwise be permissible on broadcast television) and some time edits by removing superfluous plotting or adult scenes toned down to fit within a two-hour timeslot with commercials. The use of the "television" cut means that most of the network's films are also presented in a pan and scan format (which has become somewhat less common in syndication in favor of "television" cuts presented in the 16:9 format used in the film's original release that are suitable for widescreen television sets) and are not shown with letterboxing. This differs from competing movie services Movies! and GetTV, which usually air the original theatrical cut of most films with some titles airing in a letterboxed or widescreen format, and maintain a scheduling format more akin to premium cable networks that forego fixed airtimes – as used by This TV – in favor of those in variable five-minute increments. However, a very limited number of film titles that have aired on This TV under Tribune part-ownership have been "television" cuts of post-2005 films presented in a letterboxed format, and do go over This's usual two-hour timeslot for films.
Films featured on This TV consist of releases from network co-parent Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and its subsidiaries United Artists (post-1952 films) and The Samuel Goldwyn Company (pre-1997 films), as well as films produced by now-defunct film studios Orion Pictures (post-1981 films and its Orion Classics division), Cannon Group (except for those co-produced with Warner Bros.), American International Pictures, and the Mirisch Company (all of which were acquired by MGM); in addition, films produced by Polygram Filmed Entertainment (which was not acquired by MGM at the time Polygram folded in 1999, although MGM holds distribution rights to its pre-1996 films) are also featured on the network.
All About Eve, which was released by 20th Century Fox, became the first non-MGM film to be aired on the network on February 6, 2011. In addition to 20th Century Fox, the network has acquired broadcast rights to recent and classic movies from Paramount Pictures (through Trifecta Entertainment & Media), Universal Pictures (including among them Abbott and Costello movies), Miramax Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Anchor Bay Entertainment. During instances where a film concludes more than five minutes short of the end of their allotted timeslot, This TV airs Pink Panther cartoon shorts to pad out the remainder of the timeslot.
This TV also commonly features themed movie presentations, with the entire day's schedule consisting of films from a particular genre once a week throughout the month (such as Mondays, which feature drama and romance films under the theme "From the Heart;" and Wednesdays, which feature action and western films under the theme "Wednesdays Are Wild"). On certain days, the network may air differing genres of films separated by daypart (for example, crime dramas during the day and comedies at night). The network also broadcasts a featured movie in primetime at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday through Friday nights. Until October 31, 2013, the weeknight prime movie presentations were typically replayed later in the evening (usually at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time, depending on the length of the film that preceded it), which allows viewers which have This's primetime pre-empted by a secondary network to watch those films. From the network's launch until October 26, 2013, This TV ran a family film block preceding the network's Saturday morning "Cookie Jar Toons" lineup called "This Family Friendly"; under Tribune part-ownership, this block was discontinued in favor of airing a wider variety of films (mostly targeted at an adult audience) on Saturday mornings; however, family-oriented films remain part of the network's schedule, only airing on certain days in random timeslots and depending in part on the titles selected for that month's film slate. During 2014, the network shared select older film titles with sister network Antenna TV (which ran its own movie block until January 2015), with some films airing on both networks at different times during the same day or week.
The network's daily early morning and Sunday early afternoon and evening lineups feature vintage series – a mix of comedies and drama series from the 1950s to the early 2000s; weekdays feature such shows as Highway Patrol and Sea Hunt, and weekends feature blocks of episodes of classic series such as The Addams Family, In the Heat of the Night, Stargate SG-1 and The Outer Limits. After Tribune Broadcasting assumed operations of This TV, three series formerly seen on the network – The Patty Duke Show, Mister Ed and Green Acres – were moved from the network to new sister network Antenna TV.
Under Weigel's co-ownership, This TV featured a daily morning block of children's programs seven days a week (including shows that met the Federal Communications Commission's educational content requirements) that was handled by Toronto-based Cookie Jar Entertainment, then by DHX Media when it purchased Cookie Jar in 2012. It also featured a Weigel-produced program originally meant for local broadcast in the Chicago market, Green Screen Adventures (now seen only on Me-TV). The block's non-E/I programming was branded under the banner name "This is for Kids", while the E/I programming was branded under the name "Cookie Jar Toons". Children's programs featured in the blocks included library content from CJE entities DiC Entertainment and Cinar Films, as well as recent originally produced content by Cookie Jar.
In addition to the This TV blocks, Cookie Jar Entertainment had also produced two other children's program blocks that feature E/I-compliant children's programming: the Cookie Jar Kids Network, a syndication block that was discontinued in 2012 which featured mostly Cinar-produced programming from the 1990s, and was formerly known as the DiC Kids Network until a September 2009 rebranding; and the CJE-run Cookie Jar TV Saturday morning block for CBS which aired until September 2013 (when it was replaced by the CBS Dream Team under an agreement with Litton Entertainment).
Once Tribune assumed part-ownership of This TV, the network removed its children's program lineups on weekday and Saturday mornings, coinciding with discontinuance of the network's agreement with Cookie Jar/DHX (effectively ending This's status as the only digital multicast network and one of only two broadcast networks, alongside The CW (which discontinued its own traditional children's block Vortexx in favor of the E/I-compliant One Magnificent Morning in October 2014), to carry a traditional entertainment-based children's block rather than a strictly educational-based lineup); the former Cookie Jar Toons/This is for Kids block was replaced with a single three-hour unbranded block on Sunday mornings that consists of E/I programming originally distributed for syndication from Bellum Entertainment Group (presently made up of Animal Atlas, Zoo Clues and On the Spot, all of which air two half-hour episodes each week).
In addition to its carriage on Weigel-owned stations in Chicago (WCIU-TV), Milwaukee (WDJT-TV) and South Bend, Indiana (WCWW-LD) at the network's launch, This TV reached affiliation agreements with several television station groups – including Tribune Broadcasting, Hearst Television, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Post-Newsweek Stations, Fisher Communications, Raycom Media and Belo – to add the network on the subchannels of some of their stations in 2009. A May 2010 renewal of its affiliation agreement with Tribune Broadcasting expanded the network to additional stations owned by the company in markets such as Los Angeles, New York City, Miami and San Diego, helping increase This TV's market coverage to 85% of the U.S. and making it the largest subchannel network by population reach percentage (a status that has since been surpassed by former sister network Me-TV). A number of NBC affiliates added This TV as a replacement for the now-defunct NBC Weather Plus service, which shut down in November 2008. Additionally, Equity Media Holdings selected This TV as a replacement for the Retro Television Network on some of its stations after the company terminated its relationship with RTN in January 2009 due to a payment dispute; the Equity-owned stations have since been sold, with several disaffiliating from This TV or ceasing operations completely.
Stations that carry This TV have the option to air select programming from the network on their main channels; they also have the option to preempt This TV programs, running alternate programming in place of certain shows from the network's national schedule (some stations may even switch to scheduled alternate programming while a film is in progress), either via a secondary affiliation deal with another network such as The CW or MyNetworkTV (this is particularly common with This TV affiliates in smaller markets), substitutions by locally produced programming, or in the most common case, moving network programming to the This subchannel to accommodate local sports or breaking news coverage on the main channel.
With Tribune Broadcasting taking over operational responsibilities for the network, This TV became one of the few television networks to move its flagship station; the network moved from WCIU to a digital subchannel of Tribune's Chicago flagship WGN-TV (which until November 1, 2013 was the largest Tribune-owned station by market size not to carry This TV). In Milwaukee, Weigel continued to carry the network on WDJT, though Tribune currently owns the market's Fox affiliate, WITI (which also carries sister network Antenna TV); in South Bend, its status on WCWW will likewise not change immediately, partly because Tribune does not own a television station in that market. On March 3, 2015, This was moved to WDJT's sister station, WMLW-TV on their DT3 subchannel and replaced with Weigel's Heroes & Icons network, which consolidates Weigel's owned spotlight networks onto WDJT but allows Weigel to fulfill their existing contract for This; no cable coverage for This was affected in the channel exchange.
WITI and the other stations owned by Local TV – which Tribune bought in July 2013 and finalized its purchase of that December – will likely affiliate with the network at some point in the long-term (in markets where Tribune owns only one station, This TV may be carried on a tertiary subchannel; in duopoly markets, a Tribune station without any existing secondary subchannels may be required to create one to serve as the local This TV affiliate); in most markets where Tribune owns a former Local TV station, and the existing Tribune stations in four markets where the network is not carried (KIAH/Houston, KCPQ-KZJO/Seattle, KTXL/Sacramento and WPMT/Harrisburg), however, This TV has existing affiliation deals with stations owned by other station groups via national carriage deals; it is possible that Tribune may wait until these affiliation contracts lapse before moving the network to those affected stations, though because many of those deals are with national groups such as Hearst carrying the network in overlapping Tribune markets (which is the case with the Sacramento and Harrisburg situations), they may be renewed without an immediate move to a Tribune station to maintain affiliate relations. The first Tribune station to affiliate with the network since its purchase of Local TV and assumption of the network's operations was KAUT-TV in Oklahoma City, which joined the network on December 24, 2014, after KSBI dropped its This-affiliated subchannel upon Griffin Communications taking over its operations earlier that month, citing low ratings.
In 2014, Tribune began to distribute This TV promotional advertisements for affiliates to air on their main signals (which are modified to allow stations to insert broadcast and cable channel information) in high definition.