A new classic TV channel – with a twist

It’s time to get Cozi.

As first scooped by Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder on October 17, NBCUniversal confirmed today it was changing the name of its dot-two digital subchannels from NonStop to CoziTV, adding classic TV shows and movies from the NBCUniversal library and other studios to the mix, while retaining the lifestyle programming NonStop is currently airing, with some being produced by NBC’s LX TV unit. The makeover is scheduled to take place in early 2013.

Locally, NonStop is known as NonStop Chicago on WMAQ-Channel 5.2, and Xfinity Channel 341.

This is the third incarnation for NBC’s dot-two’s – the stations were originally part of NBC WeatherPlus, which closed in 2008 shortly after NBCUniversal purchased The Weather Channel. After a few months as a placeholder channel (with a moving radar), it was relaunched as NonStop, gradually rolling out market-by-market. On January 1, 2012, another digital subchannel carried by NBC-owned stations (Universal Sports) was closed and moved to DirecTV.

In addition to its owned stations, NBC is also looking for other groups to carry the channel.

Cozi will compete with other digital sub nets in the retro TV genre, including Antenna TV, MeTV, and RTV, which Cozi has a real good chance to steal affiliates from as the Luken Communications-owned channel continues to struggle financially.

Cozi plans to air programs such as Lassie, Magnum P.I., Marcus Welby, M.D., The Six Million Dollar Man, Highway To Heaven (which is already airing at Noon weekdays) and Knight Rider, among others – plus television shows and movies that haven’t been seen in syndication – or other channels – in years (here’s hoping they can strike a deal with Warner Bros., as its the only studio who doesn’t have a deal with any of the diginets.)

Terms to carry Cozi are quite favorable: NBCUniversal gets five minutes per hour to sell to national advertisers with stations keeping the rest of the ad inventory to sell locally; and stations can easily customize the schedule to their markets. For example, WMAQ can continue to carry locally produced programming (such as their version of The Talk) and sports (Chicago Fire games.) On their NonStop channels, WNBC in New York City and WRC in Washington, D.C. both carry reruns of MGM’s syndicated Cash Cab.

With the NBC-owned stations on board, Cozi is already cleared in 27 percent of the country. Here’s a video with NBC VP of Multi-Station Programming Meredith McGinn explaining the Cozi concept:

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