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TV Land (originally Nick-at-Nite's TV Land) is an Americanmarker cable television network launched April 29, 1996. It is owned by MTV Networks, a division of Viacom, which also owns Paramount Pictures, and networks such as MTV and Nickelodeon.

Origins

Original TV Land logo used from April 29, 1996-September 1, 2001.
Building on the success and popularity of Nick at Nite, TV Land premiered in the first quarter of 1996, delivering classic situation comedies, dramas, variety shows and memorable TV programming 24 hours a day. The phrase "TV Land" was originally coined by Nick-at-Nite in the 1980s as the name of the fictional place whence the channel received its classic programming block, and it appeared in such slogans as "Nick-at-Nite: The best of TV Land" for much of the '80s. However, once the TV Land network spun-off, Nick-at-Nite quit using the term in its own slogans in order to prevent viewers from confusing the two separate channels. The new network featured a variety of television programming from the 1950s through the 1990s. Its inaugural season featured the Emmy-Award-winning "I Love Lucy", Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere and The Ed Sullivan Show, and the popular series Gunsmoke and The Honeymooners. Great detectives were featured every Saturday, with programs including Honey West, Dog and Cat, Burke's Law, Nero Wolfe (1981) and Ace Crawford, Private Eye. "TV Land Goes West" presented Shane, Barbary Coast, Have Gun, Will Travel and Best of the West. "Hooterville Saturday" featured Petticoat Junction and Green Acres; and "Sunday in the Barracks" laughed with the military in The Phil Silvers Show and Hogan's Heroes.

The network initially was a mix of classic TV and short-lived series, often from the Paramount library. In 1999, a deal with Universal provided the programmers the ability to "cherry-pick" from a variety of series including Emergency!, Kojak and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.

In February 1999 TV Land's primetime averaged a 1.0 in cable homes, tying ESPN for 10th place among all cable networks. Its siblings, MTV and VH1, tied for 17th and 26th place, respectively.

"That February rating put TV Land into the top 10 for the first time since it began operating," John Dempsey reported for Variety, "and opened the eyes of the cable industry to the rich vein of golden-oldie TV shows that distributors are mining for an audience of nostalgia buffs and kids who are stumbling across the series for the first time."

TV Land celebrated its 10th anniversary on April 29, 2006. Also in 2006, TV Land and Nick-at-Nite stopped operating together, making TV Land a channel in its own right.

TV Land often airs marathon weekends devoted to a single program. In the early 2000s, TV Land aired special programming blocks on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day: the final day of the year would revolve around final episodes of classic television series, and the first day of the new year would air exclusively pilot episodes.

Harry Shearer is the regular announcer for the network promos. The original announcer was DJ Dan Ingram.

Programming

Currently, TV Land's programming primarily consists of reruns of television series such as Roseanne, All in the Family, Leave it to Beaver, Star Trek, Sanford and Son, M*A*S*H, Good Times, The Andy Griffith Show, The Brady Bunch , Married... with Children, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Beverly Hillbillies, Little House on the Prairie, Hogan's Heroes, and Three's Company.

For several years the station broadcast classic advertisements, called "TV Land Retromercials." Examples of advertisements aired are the "Mamma mia, that's a spicy meatball!" from Alka-Seltzer and "In Soviet Georgia" from Dannon yogurt, as well as the animated Tootsie Pop owl. Some retromercials have included future stars like Judd Hirsch, Rene Russo, Roy Scheider and Jodie Foster. Interspersed with the classic commercials were fictional retro-style commercials for various substances, almost always brand named "Twip." These were dumped in recent years altogether. The Retro Television Network, a station with a similar premise to the early TV Land, but available in far fewer venues, uses a practice of showing retromercials. In early years, current commercials were not shown on TV Land. Also featured frequently during "commercial" breaks were CBS News' In the News segments from the 1970s and 1980s.

During its first three years the station broadcast original programming called "Sixty Second Sitcoms". These were minute long parodies of sitcoms from various TV eras which also contained fake opening and end credits, and concluded with "This has been a TVLand Presentation" logo. The shows included "The Gaveltons", (a black and white segment based on Father Knows Best type comedies, concerning a family that uses the law to solve typical sitcom problems), and "Spin & Cutter" (a parody of Perfect Strangers style 70s and 80s buddy shows that featured characters saying things like "What could possibly be worse than this?" followed by the picture spinning and a cut to a scene featuring another added element and the other character saying "You had to ask, didn't you?"). Each of the series had several segments and ran alternating with the Retromercials.

Starting in 2007, the network began targeting Generation X and their progeny, airing programming from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, along with an increase in "original programming" and the introduction of recent (1980s or later) movies on Saturday nights, essentially abandoning the Baby boomers and orienting the station to the first MTV watchers. The network no longer labels itself as a "Classic TV" network. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was acquired in August 2007, Just Shoot Me!, Mad About You, Designing Women, Murphy Brown, 3rd Rock From the Sun, and Scrubs were all recent shows acquired for 2008. The network began airing original programming in 2008 with a revival of The WB's High School Reunion (which features reunions of older classes than the original series) and a modeling show. Accompanying this strategy was a refresh of the network's graphic identity designed and conceived by Trollback + Company, who also created its earlier look in 2000. Original programing, has included Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg, TV Land Legends: The 60 Minutes Interviews and I Pity The Fool with Mr. T. Most of these series have lasted only a few episodes. However, this process failed miserably, and the network has since removed all of the above programs and once again relies mainly on pre-1980s programming and its originals, similar to its previous focus.

The logo for TV Land's Prime programming block, which was launched in October 2008.


When a program deemed particularly important is airing on another network, TV Land would sometimes air nonsense programming (such as footage of staff members holding signs or wearing T-shirts) to encourage viewers to watch the network programming. Recent examples include the series finales of Friends (2004) and Everybody Loves Raymond (2005). The network went dark during the last episode of Seinfeld (1998).

In October 2008, the network devoted their late primetime schedule to a new programming block called TV Land Prime, which featured the network's original programming efforts and newer archive programming such as 3rd Rock from the Sun, Scrubs, and Roseanne with a branding campaign which was drastically different than TV Land's general imaging. However the concept has seemed to not be a huge success, though the TV Land Prime branding remains during that time. Indeed, posters to the TV Land Current Programming Comments Forum have been warned not to put up messages requesting the station to return to an "all-classics" format, deeming such desires as "no longer appropriate for discussion" nor "relevant". Outside of the network's original programming, programs such as Roseanne, The Cosby Show, movies, and original programming now air during Prime as of June 2009, and Scrubs now only airs among the Viacom networks on Comedy Central and MTV. Roseanne began airing in the block in May 2009, moving from Nick at Nite. Up until June 29, 2009, Married... with Children (under contract to Viacom originally through Spike TV) joined the network, airing in its PRIME block. It is no longer on as part of the Prime lineup. On August 11, 2009, however, TV Land resumed reruns with Married... with Children during regular(not Prime) hours.

In 2008 TV Land added three hours of infomercials to the morning lineup, airing Monday through Friday from 6:00–9:00 am (ET). Beginning on August 5, 2009, TV Land Prime premiered two new reality shows, How'd You Get So Rich? (hosted by Joan Rivers), and Make my Day, a show where ordinary people meet celebrities for a day. Recently TV Land has acquired Everybody Loves Raymond, Home Improvement, The Nanny, and Boston Legal. All four shows are to begin airing in 2010.

In late November 2009 the network changed their logo to a more simplified form, keeping the double-trapezoidal outline, but removing the outlines around each letter and simplifying the fonts.

TV Land Awards

TV Land has been the broadcast home for the TV Land Awards show since the show's inception in 2003. The TV Land Awards are celebration of past classic TV shows and TV stars. The TV Land Awards previously broadcast simultaneously on Nick at Nite until 2007.

TV Land Statues of TV Icons

TV Land statue of Andy Griffith and Ron Howard, located in Pullen Park in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA














References

  1. Bianculli, David, "Oldies Net Loaded with Goodies"; New York Daily News, March 19, 1996
  2. "Nick-at-Nite's TV Land joins U.S. Satellite Broadcasting Lineup"; Business Wire, April 30, 1996
  3. TV Land archives on Freewebs (1996–2004)
  4. Dempsey, John, "It's Boom(er) Time for TV Land"; Variety, March 8–14, 1999
  5. "IMPORTANT READING FOR ALL -- Appropriate Discussions on this Board"


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