Plus… Mundo Max is done; CW makes schedule schedules for mid-season; Marvel to debut new Inhumans; The end is near for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
It what could be the fastest launch ever for a diginet (digital subchannel), Fox Television Stations and MGM are launching Light TV, a new channel devoted to faith-based and family-oriented programming headed by MGM President Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, who heads LightWorks Media, a faith-based division of MGM.
The new diginet has cleared seventeen markets, including all Fox-owned stations consisting of WFLD and WPWR in Chicago. Light TV is expected to air on WFLD’s newly-created digital subchannel 32.2.
Programming on the channel includes family-friendly shows such as Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader (produced by Burnett and aired on Fox and syndication), Touched By An Angel (which starred Roma Downey), and Highway To Heaven (which previously aired on rival diginet Cozi.). In addition, films featured on the channel are mostly from the MGM library (post-1986) including All Dogs Go To Heaven, Fame (a 1980 film and TV series MGM retained the rights to), Hoosiers, The Pink Panther, and more.
Contrary to what’s on the tube these days, a channel like this is very much welcome.
While we await the arrival of Light TV, one diginet is departing: MundoMax, the Spanish-language channel positioned as an alternative to Univision and Telemundo, is reportedly closing down at the end of the month. The move comes as the channel lost numerous affiliates and the pipeline of programming dried up. The channel was once known as MundoFox, but changed its name after 21st Century Fox pulled out as a partner last year, resulting in Fox-owned WPWR-TV pulling the network from one of its digital subchannels.
Its main Chicago affiliate (WOCK) recently dropped the channel and replaced it with infomercials. MumdoMax was owned principally by RCN, a Colombian-based broadcaster (not rated to RCN, a cable MSO operating in parts of the Chicago area.)
MundoMax joins the ranks of failed digital subchannels, including long-forgotten channels NBC Weather Plus, The Tube, Universal Sports, and Live Well Network (which is still active in a few markets, including Chicago.)
The CW announced Wednesday its midseason and there are some notable changes – for one, the addition of highly-anticipated drama Riverdale, which debuts on January 26 out of Supernatural, both scheduled for Thursday nights. Legends of Tomorrow will shift to Tuesdays out of The Flash, but will be replaced by a returning iZombie in April. Also, The 100 returns on Wednesdays, out of Arrow. Fridays sees The Vampire Diaries return for its final season in February, to be replaced in March by the show it spun off from, The Originals. Reign moves into Friday 9 p.m. ET slot, also in February.
Got all that?
As a result of the changes, two ultra low-rated freshmen series – Frequency and No Tomorrow – are not getting back-orders with reruns moving to Netflix this winter. Also not on the mid-season schedule are Jane The Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Their fates are unknown.
Marvel Television announced last week a new eight-episode series based on The Inhumans for ABC for next fall, with the first two episodes being screened at IMAX theatres. ABC Studios is producing the series for Marvel, which is scheduled to debut next fall.
This is the first time a television series has debuted in IMAX theaters; the series is also being shot entirely in IMAX, which is a bonus for those who have 4K (Ultra HD) TV sets as the technology continues to develop.
Based on the comic book series created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The Inhumans are a group of superhumans with ordinary and unique powers. ABC’s version will feature the story behind Black Bolt and the royal family, which has never been told before.
Though there is a storyline on this season’s Marvel’s Agent Of Shield, there is no relation between this project and the existing television series, which has struggled in the ratings for the last two seasons. Earlier, ABC canceled Agent Carter after two lackluster seasons. Marvel of course, has had more success on Netflix with well-received dramas Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and new drama Luke Cage.
The latest on the FCC: Don’t look for Chairman Tom Wheeler to be hanging around the agency much longer – or conducting much business. At the urging of GOP leaders (and to the chagrin of Democrats and consumer advocates), Wheeler pulled items from the FCC’s meeting menu last Thursday, which lasted all of two minutes. Wheeler didn’t have much to say to the press either, saying he didn’t know when he would step down from his position with a new administration coming in.
Among the items that were to be discussed was a business data systems proposal cable Internet service providers were opposed to.
An item in Bloomberg suggests the new Trump administration will relax station (TV and radio) ownership and eliminate the cross-ownership rule, which currently prevents television station and newspapers from common ownership in the same market – which could put smaller TV owners at risk. Broadcasters and newspaper trade groups are challenging the current rules in court, saying the caps are unconstitutional.