According to a press e-mail I received, Me-TV Network is now cleared in 90% of the country. That means viewers in 90% of the country should have access to a station carrying the classic television digital specialty network that launched nationally in December 2010. It has affiliates in 150 markets across the country, including 28 of the top 30 markets. You can check to see if it is available in your area at the Me-TV website.
What this means it that there is apparently an audience for classic television in the United States. TV Land doesn’t seem to think so or else it wouldn’t be adding Friends to its line-up later this month. But stations wouldn’t be affiliating with these specialty networks if they didn’t think people would watch. And there certainly wouldn’t be two or more in one market (personally, I get both Antenna TV and Cozi TV) if those stations felt they wouldn’t be able to compete. I’ve wondered in the past if there were enough viewers to support multiple networks devoted to classic programming. I guess there are.
With that said, for the most part all of these specialty networks only air the big name classic shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bonanza and I Love Lucy (Me-TV does air Mr. Lucky and The Rebel). The audience for short-lived shows and one-season wonders may be considerably smaller but I think a narrowly focused cable channel — a sort of TCM for television — could succeed. Maybe the 60s retro TV cable channel Zeus Media Partners hopes to launch in 2014 will fill that niche market. More than likely, it will air the same shows Me-TV, Antenna TV and Cozi TV are airing (many of which are also still on TV Land).
When will we fans of more obscure television get a network or channel just for us?