Rewind this: Another new multicast network to launch filled with reruns

Nexstar spin-offs a network from Antenna TV 

Usually in TV land, we have spin-offs of shows, some of the most successful being Gomer Pyle, USMC; Facts Of Life; Maude; Good Times; and Laverne & Shirley. 

Now for the first time, we have a spin-off of an entire channel. On September 1, Nexstar is launching Rewind TV, featuring 1980s and 1990s sitcoms currently airing on Antenna TV, the multicast network it acquired in the Tribune Media acquisition in 2019. 

The split leaves Antenna TV focusing on 1960s and 1970s programming, making the network more of a competitor against Weigel’s MeTV and Decades channels, though both also air dramas and variety fare as opposed to Antenna’s predominately sitcom fare and Johnny Carson Tonight Show reruns. 

“This year marks Antenna TV’s 10-year anniversary, and it continues growing and finding new audiences,” said Sean Compton, president of Nexstar Media’s Networks Division. “To complement Antenna TV’s strong following with baby boomers, we created Rewind TV to give Gen X viewers a network dedicated to their own nostalgic comedy classics.”

The lineup of programs on Rewind includes The Drew Carey Show, Wings, Family Ties, 227, and others. Coming in 2022 is The John Laraquette Show and Suddenly Susan in 2022.

Rewind TV is expected to replace Court TV on Nexstar stations. Just three years ago, Tribune struck a deal with Scripps’ Katz Communications to carry the reboot for the former cable network, but that was before owner Scripps purchased Ion Networks, as they recently decided to move all of their digital subchannels in-house with Ion to reduce distribution costs. Six months after launching, Court TV replaced This TV on Tribune stations, a channel the company once had a stake in. This has since replaced another Katz/Scripps channel (Laff) on the ABC-owned stations. 

In the last year, we’ve seen the debut of several new multichannel networks as competition in the space is heating up as the revenue generated have enticed even initial holdouts Nexstar and CBS hop on board. And more are on the way.

The selection of programming Rewind TV is offering is hugely disappointing. One of the worst sitcoms of the 1990s, the inane Drew Carey Show (which previously ran on Laff) is the centerpiece, and I can’t possibly explain the inclusion of the even more head-in-the-toilet vomit known as Suddenly Susan, which you shouldn’t confuse with the equally inane She’s The Sheriff (whose pilot was once known as Suddenly Sheriff.) The rest of the lineup isn’t so bad, but like ’80s music, these titles are quite burned out. 

Even more disappointing is outside of 227 and perhaps Designing Women and Diff’rent Strokes is the lack of shows featuring mostly minority casts on Rewind TV – a common theme popping up when it comes to streaming services and other channels. Missing are sitcoms such as Martin, Living Single, The Jamie Foxx Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, Roc, and a few more. But of course, they have room for Carey, and Brooke Shield’s dumb show. Hopefully, Rewind TV adds more shows in the future because their initial list is not impressive.  

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