Tuned In: Catching Up

It’s been awhile since my last post, so let’s get caught up on some classic TV news:

  • Weigel Broadcasting has launched a spinoff of its popular diginet MeTV Network. H&I (Heroes and Icons) showcases action, police and western programming, including Batman, Kung Fu, The Untouchables and The Wild Wild West. It is currently available on the digital subchannels of Weigel stations in Chicago, Milwaukee and South Bend IN.
  • Speaking of digital broadcast networks, Grit TV will soon increase its coverage to nearly 75% of United States TV households. Sinclair Broadcast Group is adding the male-focused diginet to 47 stations across the country, including stations in Seattle, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Nashville. Grit airs mostly action and adventure movies from such studios as Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros.
  • Classic TV diginet MeTV is adding 5 new affiliates to its network. They include WHIO Dayton OH, WJRT Flint MI, KEZI Eugene OR, KERO Bakersfield CA and WKTV Utica NY. The total number of MeTV affiliates is now 166, reaching 92% of the U.S.
  • CBS is now offering a subscription streaming service that includes most current programs and a number of classics from the CBS library. CBS All Access claims to offer over 6,500 episodes, including such classic shows as The Andy Griffith Show, The Brady Bunch, Hawaii Five-O, I Love Lucy, Mission: Impossible, Perry Mason, Star Trek, Taxi and The Twilight Zone. The service costs $5.99 a month.
  • We said goodbye to several classic TV friends within the past month. Actress Polly Bergen guested on such classic shows as Dr. Kildare, The Love Boat and Wagon Train. She was a panelist on the original version of To Tell The Truth and most recently had a recurring role on the ABC drama Desperate Housewives. Bergen is perhaps best known for her role as Gregory Peck’s wife in the 1962 film Cape Fear. Also passing away recently: writer Sam Hall (he wrote for ABC daytime dramas Dark Shadows and One Life to Live) and actor-director Geoffrey Holder. Holder guested on It Takes A Thief and Tarzan (starring Ron Ely), but many remember him for his role in a series of commercials for the soft drink 7UP.

Tuned In: MeTV Fall Additions, New Diginets Coming This Month

  • Classic TV digital network MeTV’s Fall 2014 lineup kicks off Monday September 1, Labor Day. Although the full schedule hasn’t been released yet, MeTV is now promoting airtimes for some new and returning shows. Cop drama CHiPs (1977-83) will air weeknights from 6-7PM Eastern (replacing The Rifleman), while sitcom Cheers (1982-93) takes over the 11PM slot (now occupied by The Twilight Zone). New additions to the weekend schedule include Superman (Saturdays 6-7PM), Black Sheep Squadron (Sundays 7-8PM), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Sundays 10-11PM) and Mission: Impossible (Sundays 11PM-12M). Those moves displace Adam-12, Kojak, Thriller and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, respectively.
  • Two new digital broadcast networks are scheduled to launch later this month. Katz Broadcasting (Bounce TV) will soon flip the switch on Escape and Grit. Escape will target a female audience, airing a mix of movies and off-cable series including Forensic Files, Snapped and Unsolved Mysteries. Grit will target men, airing a fully-loaded schedule of western, war and action movies. Both Escape and Grit have already cleared deals with stations reaching over 50% of the country.
  • A pair of classic TV contributors passed away recently. Veteran TV writer Rick Mittleman worked on such classic shows as Bewitched, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Flintstones, Gomer Pyle USMC, The Odd Couple, The Red Skelton Hour, Sanford & Son and You Asked for It. Animator David Weidman did background art on classic cartoons like Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, Mr. Magoo, Popeye and Wacky Races. His artwork has most recently been featured on the AMC drama series Mad Men.