|Type||Digital broadcast television network|
|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
|Parent||MGM Domestic Television Distribution LLC
(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" with company name, ThisTv, LLC) is an American digital broadcast television network that is operated as a joint venture between the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of Tribune Media, and MGM Domestic Television Distribution LLC of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer group. This TV maintains a large programming emphasis on films (those primarily sourced from the library of part-time owner Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), 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 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. 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. At launch, Cookie Jar Entertainment provided educational programming.
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 MeTV, 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 primarily on the library of films with some television programming currently owned by MGM and subsidiaries United Artists. 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 notably devoid of infomercial programming so as to help the network get carried on cable systems. Local stations are given a number of preemptions to add local programming, sports, news and weather and may move programming over their other subchannels.
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 MeTV). 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.
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", "Stay here for This" and "This is the channel!" proposed for use in on-air promotions.
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 MeTV). 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.