September 2, 2008, - 2:06 pm

Say Buh-Bye to Classic TV Reruns: Even TV Land Gets Dumbed Down

By Debbie Schlussel
If you like “Sanford and Son” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” reruns–as I do–don’t look for them and other classic TV shows on TV Land.
Soon, Lamont and Mr. Drysdale won’t be living there anymore.
The cable network is getting MTV-ized and will dump many classic TV reruns in favor of reality shows. Because we don’t have enough dumb reality shows on TV. And it will add reruns of newer sitcoms like “Friends” because a gazillion cable networks running re-runs of “Friends” every single moment of the day isn’t enough. We need more.
TV Land–part of the MTV networks–is making this move to attract more younger baby boomer viewers in their mid-40s. But I predict it’ll fail. There are already plenty of networks with this garbage kind of programming on. People watched TV Land for something different and to reminisce back to the day when TV sitcoms were actually entertaining. Now, the network will be a homogenized waste of time.

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And it’s a dumb strategy because, right now, TV Land is the only successful cable network among the MTV networks group. If it ain’t broke . . . .
Here’s the lowdown:

Viacom Inc.’s TV Land cable network is set to announce a new programming strategy this week — scaling back its traditional emphasis on nostalgia in pursuit of younger viewers.
The new programming plan, which the network plans to present to advertisers this week, will more than triple the number of hours of original programming on TV Land’s prime-time schedule. By the end of 2009, TV Land — which has for years served baby boomers a diet heavy with shows from their youth — wants to fill half its prime-time lineup with original programming, up from about 15% today and 4% in 2007.
Aimed primarily at people in their mid-40s — the younger end of the boomer spectrum, which spans those born from 1946 through 1964 — the new slate includes reality shows like “The Cougar,” in which a fortysomething woman picks among younger bachelors, and series pilots like “First Love/Second Chance,” which reunites long-lost lovers. The channel’s also importing reruns of more recent shows, like the ’90s-era “Friends.” And it is exploring creating its own sitcom.
Viacom’s investment in the new programming comes as TV Land has put in a robust performance in a challenging advertising climate. Viacom posted disappointing U.S. ad-revenue growth of only 1% in the second quarter. But TV Land’s ad revenue grew faster than that of younger-skewing Viacom channels like MTV. . . .
When it started in 1996, TV Land found quick success as a 24-hour network dedicated entirely to TV throwbacks like “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “M*A*S*H.” But in recent years, old reruns have become old hat. The entirety of “The Andy Griffith Show” is available on DVD; “The A-Team” streams free on hulu.com. And classic-TV viewers have been getting older, pushing the median age of TV Land watchers in prime-time above 55 in 2007, according to Nielsen Media Research. That’s relatively high even for a network targeting baby boomers.
The new strategy, approved by Viacom brass in a series of long-range planning meetings earlier this summer, is intended to help the channel expand its audience, lower its viewers’ median age by increasing the number of shows that attract people in their mid-40s, and pursue new advertisers that will pay higher prices for original fare. . . .
Slowing ad growth at channels with younger audiences didn’t affect the decision to invest in TV Land, says Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman. . . .
One big focus of the new original shows will be dating and romance. (“Your libido doesn’t leave you after 35,” says Mr. Herzog of MTV Networks’ entertainment group.)

Yeah, but your brain and taste doesn’t either.
And people wonder why mine is a cable-free household.

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Down & Out: Fred & Lamont Sanford Look for a New Home

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12 Responses

Too bad. That is one of the channels my sister lets her kids watch. They are working their way through all the old Brady Bunch, Green Acres, Gilligan’s Island, etc. All shows already pre-screened by mom when she was kid!!

LoveAManInAUniform on September 2, 2008 at 2:49 pm

I remember that TV land also showed Ellery Queen, and some other shows that weren’t shown all the time. The good news is that on sites such as IOffer and Sell.Com, there is a tremendous selection of old TV DVDs going back in some cases to the late 40s and early 50s.

c f on September 2, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Never has anything been more incorrectly named than “reality” tv.

Tempus Fugit on September 2, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Cable is turning into a garbage dump of the same crap programming even though there are now hundreds of choices.
There are a few exceptions like TCM and the Western Channel.
I am so sick of reality shows that I puke every time another network goes for the lowest common denominator. I am beginning to think this is an intentional brain washing campaign by the big media conglomerates.
The evidence for my thinking is that they will lose money and ratings to put crap like reality TV shows on their channels. Look what has happened to Bravo which used to show quality programming like TCM. Now it is 24 hours a day of Homosexuals gallivanting across the screen doing things like designing dresses or fixing up houses and all the drama queens having temper tantrums.Bravo has turned into a cesspool with shows like Orange County House wives which is about spoiled sluts with too much money and time on their hands.
It is nothing but propaganda and brain washing.
We blocked Bravo on our favorites list along time ago when we used to watch it all the time when they had movie classics on a regular basis.
We get approx 100 channels and we watch maybe 5 on a regular basis.Time for ala carte cable choice IMHO, then maybe they will find out America could care less if they get BET or MTV.
TV Land is one of them.
We live in a HOA and our association negotiated a cable contract which demanded they remove BET and MTV before we would renew.
Most people are 55+ and did not want their grandchildren watching those sewer networks and did not want to support them in anyway financially.
Yuk!

ScottyDog on September 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm

WHAT NO CABLE!! I BET YOUR FAVORITE CHANNEL IS CBET 9 FROM CANADA WHERE ALL THEY PLAY IS BBC POOL ALL DAY OVER THE AIR TV DIED 20 YEARS AGO, MAYBE INTERNET TV MAY SAVE SANFORD AND SON

PNAMARBLE on September 2, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Over the past year, my family, friends, co-workers, and I have written tvland to complain about the increase in “reality” shows. Unfortunately, tvland continues to move away from their classic show format. Apparently, tvland doesn’t care if we tune out. Perhaps their advertisers will care.

dearbornmike on September 2, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Aw, gee! That’s where I saw the Dick Van Dyke show for the first time! And all my favorite reruns were on there! *whine*

mplumb on September 2, 2008 at 9:05 pm

What a big mistake. I’m 40 years old and I DVR All in the Family every day. It is the all time funniest show ever on television. I’ll be sad to see it go and I will never watch those lame reality shows.

cankelz on September 2, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Agreed, Debbie. I’ve been without cable or satellite for 20 years+ relying on broadcast TV in my rural area. Now I’ve got digital converters for my TVs and it’s very good. TV Land is on cable at the company gym which I use and always watched MASH and Andy Griffith. Sad that we charter baby boomers are now too old a demographic and are being pushed aside. Hopefully, the local TV channels will add more digital feeds to their digital programming. I have enough trouble keeping away from broadcast TV, that’s why I don’t have satellite. I’d be watching SciFi and History all the time. Too much of a temptation. I’ll stick with broadcast. BTW, the local FOX affiliate has a digital feed for something called RTV, or retro tv which is like TV Land. They show Ironside, Hawaii Five-O, Airwolf, Battlestar Galactica (the original), all the good oldies from the 70s. Hmmm. Gettin’ old sucks!

Floyd R. Turbo on September 2, 2008 at 11:28 pm

Debbie-
I made the decision to not obtain cable when we bought our house.
As a result, my daughter (11) has her Axel, practices piano and trumpet(when reminded!), plays soccer, takes ballet, is a beadmaker (beader?), skiis at Jackson Hole, visited Kennedy Space Center, has telescopically seen Mars at opposition from our yard, volunteers at a soup kitchen, won a .22 marksmanship award at summer camp, cooks passibly, is studying Hebrew, is reading Verne’s ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ (because your review of the 3D movie caused our attendance!), actually likes Mathematics, yet is current with her age cohort’s music and entertainment icons.
I think this is all due mostly to my removing the cable-industrial-complex (thanks Ike!) programming from her free time.
(Yes – I know this guarantees my Gulag reservation……)

NickFury on September 3, 2008 at 12:54 am

If they want the 40ish types (like me age 41)… Gilligans island, Chips, Sanford & son, **** THe Andy Griffith show**** , the Three Stodgesare all MANDATORY!!!!!
I HATE REALITY TV!
I watch TV to ESCAPE reality, not relive it when I get home. I like watching the older shows because it takes me back to my youth and the values of that time.

RC Flyer on September 3, 2008 at 9:14 am

Now how are most people suppose to even know half these shows are on DVD?? I didn’t know some of the programs I watched as a kid started popping up on DVD *coughknightridercough*.
Debbie this isn’t shocking, becuase other networks were doing this long before TV Land. I used to watch cartoon network almost every freaking hour of everyday. Now look at it. And I’m afraid their Boomerang (the only place I even watch old school cartoons anymore) is starting to go this way, and not all of these old school cartoons are on DVD!!!
Reality TV is a joke of itself. You all know it’s scripted, where every other word is bleep this, bleep that, a slut here, a slut there. They don’t realize that youngins like myself are interested in seeing old school TV.
So we turn to the youtubes and shop at the amazon.coms to aviod the cable industrial complex. I watch what…sports and…nature…and…things like that on my DirecTV.

Squirrel3D on September 3, 2008 at 5:23 pm

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