May 10, 2021

New TV Network Called "Rewind TV" Will Target Gen X Viewers

Readers of this blog may recall that I've chronicled the emergence of new, broadcast television stations which have taken over the entertainment space of the old TV show rerun circuit once dominated by Viacom CBS's TV Land cable network (itself evolving from the evening schedule of the old Nickelodeon network, with adult programming aimed at filling airtime in the evenings when their parents were more likely to tune in to a content it branded as "Nick at Nite"). Plus, TV Land itself has evolved in recent years with more original programming, hence it no longer relies exclusively on old reruns as it once did. One new TV channel I blogged about was NBC Universal's Cozi TV which launched in January 2013 (catch my blog post about that station when it launched HERE for more). 

Antenna TV happens to be the Nexstar Media Group's multicast network that launched on January 1, 2011 and was originally begun by Tribune Broadcasting which Nextstar acquired in 2019. Antenna TV currently airs in 151 broadcast TV markets across the U.S. reaching 93% of TV households, is reportedly launching a secondary companion network focusing on series from the 1980's and early 1990's. Officially, it will be called Rewind TV, a digital subchannel offering a slate of classic television sitcom hits from the 1980's and 1990's. More info about Rewind TV can be found at www.rewindtv.com and the station will launch starting on September 1, 2021 in select markets including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The press release can be viewed at https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210426005123/en/.

Currently, Antenna TV is a mixture of older TV programming from the 1950's to the 1990's aimed at the Baby Boomer audience, but the new Rewind TV will be focused on somewhat newer content which might resonate with people who came of age during the 1980's. Its a very similar station which targets Generation X and older Millennials rather than Baby Boomers who recall TV content from the 1950's and 1960's. The company has licensed the rights to air shows on both channels if it chooses to do so.

Rewind TV will air several series currently found in the Antenna TV library, but the new channel has also acquired the rights to broadcast a few new sitcoms including "The Drew Carey Show" (he is now the permanent host of the TV game show "The Price Is Right"), "Suddenly Susan", "The John Larroquette Show" and "Caroline in the City" which is coming after the new network launches. "Suddenly Susan" is planned for Rewind TV in 2022. "The Drew Carey Show" and "The John Larroquette Show" are totally new to the company, and will start airing in 2022 along with "Suddenly Susan". Joining "Caroline in the City" in September 2021 on Rewind TV are some Antenna TV favorites including "227", "Becker", "Dear John", "Designing Women", "Diff'rent Strokes", "The Facts of Life", "Family Ties", "Growing Pains", "Head of the Class", "The Hogan Family", "Mork & Mindy", "Murphy Brown", "My Two Dads", "NewsRadio", "Sabrina The Teenage Witch", "Who's the Boss", and "Wings" which all will migrate over to Rewind TV starting in September 2021. Some of these series are currently not airing on Antenna TV even though the media group has licensed the shows.

Nexstar's original companion digital network, Antenna TV, will continue to air some of the more popular programming from the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's, including weeknight reruns of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" as well as TV sitcoms such as "Three's Company", "Bewitched" and "The Jeffersons". It is unclear how the channel known as Antenna TV will evolve as more and more of the Baby Boomer population die off, or if it simply rebrands itself to accommodate younger groups. Regardless, the "antenna" brand may not resonate with younger age groups, hence the new brand of Rewind TV may be the direction we see things going. It may sound morbid to some, but the reality is that in spite of increased longevity, Baby Boomers are dying simply due to their now elderly status. According to a Baby Boomer death clock (in fact, the site maintains death clocks for all generations, not limiting itself exclusively to Baby Boomers), approximately 27% of the population born between the years of 1946 and 1964 has already passed away.

Multicast networks have emerged following the TV industry's transition to high-definition signals and the corresponding increase in digital capacity according to Deadline Hollywood. The networks, most of which are owned by local TV station groups, can be viewed over the air without a pay-TV subscription, and some reach more than 90% of U.S. households. Popular multi-casters include MeTV, Bounce, Laff, and the recently reactivated Court TV

"This year marks Antenna TV's 10-year anniversary, and it continues growing and finding new audiences," said Sean Compton, President of Nexstar Media Inc.'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."

Of course, Rewind TV is now competing with a new crop of new internet-powered streaming services including Viacom CBS' PlutoTV, NBC Universal's Peacock, and Fox Entertainment's Tubi platforms, all of which offer free, advertiser-sponsored content. Some, such as Pluto TV, has sub-channels of their own dedicated to some of the very same shows available all day, anytime (such as "Three's Company", "Wings" and "Family Ties"). 

Still, the renewed focus on younger generations is probably long overdue. 

Many younger viewers, for example, will simply change the station if they see a black and white program airing. Although Gen Xers grew up watching old reruns of sixties TV shows, including several which ran during broadcast TV's transition from B&W to color (such as "Gilligan's Island", "I Dream of Jeannie", "Bewitched", "The Andy Griffith Show" and others), they also witnessed the colorization of such shows after-the-fact (a number by Atlanta-based media mogul Ted Turner which was considered controversial at the time), but many now prefer the newly colorized episodes to the B&W versions of the same episodes.

But Rewind TV will focus mainly on content from the eighties, hence all of it will be in color. Some series slated for Rewind TV, such as the inaugural show that starred Robin Williams known "Mork & Mindy" actually premiered in the late 1970's but is better remembered as an eighties show since it ended its run in 1982, but has been slated to air on Rewind TV rather than on Antenna TV.

In any event, Gen X TV viewers in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago will be able to tune into Rewind TV starting in September 2021, and more stations are expected to open around the country starting next year. Rewind TV can be found online at RewindTV.com.

No comments: