Cultureshark blogger extraordinaire and creator of the phrase that pays (“The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind”), was nice enough to give me a heads-up (which he spotted on the Sitcoms Online blog) on the latest cable channel venture being offered up by Tribune Broadcasting, which is scheduled to sign on the first of the year (January 1) in 2011. It’s to be called Antenna TV, and will feature a schedule of classic television shows and movies that will be telecast on the digital channels of Tribune-owned stations like WPIX (New York), KTLA (Los Angeles) and WGN (Chicago)—but the programming will also be made available to non-Tribune stations as well…provided that there’s still a market for that kind of programming in local markets, I'm assuming.
here, but I think I share the same amount of cynicism as my colleague Mr. Brooks in that I can’t help but think that this is all some sort of carnival barker’s attempt to get me inside the tent to see reruns of seldom-shown classics like Hazel, The Farmer’s Daughter, Dennis the Menace and The George Burns & Gracie Allen Show—and having paid my entrance fee, subjecting me to, as Rick puts it, “more modern fare like King of Queens.” I’ve seen it happen with once-great channels like American Movie Classics and TVLand so it’s kind of hard for me to be optimistic. Still, there’s some interesting classic shows scheduled—two of Herbert B. Leonard’s early concoctions, Circus Boy and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin will be seen on Sunday mornings, along with The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok and The Iron Horse, a 1966-68 western starring Dale “Tales of Wells Fargo” Robertson—or as my father derisively calls him in order to spike my Mom’s blood pressure, “Dale Roberts.” (Horse featured in its truncated second season a young actress named Ellen McRae, who later changed her last name to Burstyn and won an Oscar in 1975 for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.)
Here’s a list of the markets that will feature Antenna TV’s programming—no sign of an Atlanta affiliate (yet) and I don’t know if CharredHer will carry WGN-DT (if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it’s highly unlikely). So if you any of get these stations, congratulations to you—it’s an embarrassment of riches for classic TV fans.