The FFC mandated transition to digital television allowed stations to begin broadcasting digital subchannels in addition to their primary channel. Depending on the market, subchannels are available over-the-air (i.e. 30.1, 30.2, 30.3) as well as on cable. Over the next few days I’ll be examining a number of what I call “classic television digital specialty networks” which are distributed primarily via digital subchannels. In most cases, affiliates have the option of taking some or all of the national feed, meaning their schedules may not match the national schedule.
MeTV debuted in 2003 as a programming block on a single TV station in Chicago owned by Weigel Broadcasting. Two years later, the station began airing MeTV programming full-time. Weigel expanded the concept in 2008 with a second Chicago station and a third in Milwaukee. In December 2010, MeTV launched as a national network. It is currently owned by Weigel Broadcasting and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
The network currently has more than 175 stations covering almost 95% of the country. MeTV began offering a standard definition 16:9 widescreen feed in February 2016. Unfortunately, rather than air programs in their original 4:3 aspect ratio, it seems some (but not all) shows are cropped to a 16:9 aspect ratio to better fit widescreen TV sets.
As of September 2016, MeTV airs a wide variety of classic TV shows including M*A*S*H, I Love Lucy, Bonanza, Hogan’s Heroes, The Twilight Zone, Our Miss Brooks, The Time Tunnel, Star Trek, Gilligan’s Island, Planet of the Apes, and Happy Days.
The network formerly aired two “popular” obscurities. Mr. Lucky aired from January 2013 to August 2015 while The Rebel aired from December 2011 to September 2016.
Personally, I’ve never received MeTV but I’ve watched it a number of times while staying with relatives. I couldn’t tell for sure but it didn’t feel like the shows I watched were edited or sped-up. I don’t remember hearing voiceovers during the closing credits. If you’re a MeTV viewer, hit the comments with your thoughts.
Revised September 23rd, 2016