Well, we have our first blatant ripoff of Chicago’s MeTV and Retro Television Network.
Tribune announced today it is launching a new classic TV digital network titled Antenna TV on January 3, 2011. The network plans to air classic series from the Sony library and from syndicator D.L. Taffner, Ltd., which (still!) holds the rights to sitcoms Three’s Company and Too Close For Comfort.
Those two sitcoms will air on Antenna TV in addition to Sony product ranging from Bewitched to The Nanny to All in the Family and Married… With Children. Some of these series have been out of general syndication for many years.
Antenna TV will compete with fellow diginet RTV (formerly Retro Television Network), which mainly airs classic TV programming from NBC Universal’s library.
In Chicago, Antenna TV is likely to air on WGN-DT 9.2, which was previously the home for the now-defunct The Tube Music Network and LATV, which shifted to a subchannel of low-power outlet WOCK-TV.
It is not known what impact this will have on Weigel’s classic TV channels MeTV and MeToo, which owns the local Chicago rights to much of the classic Sony product, including all of the above and The Three Stooges, which has been a signature show for MeTV and WCIU. Rights to Sony’s products are also held by other broadcast outlets, including WADL-TV in Detroit and WPCH-TV (Peachtree TV) in Atlanta.
Tribune exec Sean Compton said the channel is meant to complement fellow diginet This TV, which Tribune has rights to in some markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Indianapolis. In Chicago however, Weigel’s WCIU airs on digital subchannel 26.4. Weigel is co-owner of This along with MGM.
Antenna TV plans to air movies in daytime, sitcoms in early fringe, prime access, and primetime, with older (thinks 1950’s and 1960’s sitcoms) airing in overnight hours.
Thought: This idea – already done to perfection by Weigel with MeTV and by Retro Television Network is too little, too late, which is always the case with the buffoons who run Tribune. Is anyone out there really clamoring to see reruns of Too Close For Comfort or The Ropers again? (Too Close was a laugh riot back in the day, but its humor did not hold up over time, and The Ropers were never funny.)