Thursday, September 22, 2011

All of Me (TV)

Next Monday, the Chicago-based cable station known as Me-TV—or as my bosom high school chum The Duchess refers to it, “Shreve TV”—makes several major changes to its lineup…but the interesting thing is that while there are only two shows in the schedule that are being given what the outlet calls “a rest”—The Streets of San Francisco and The Honeymooners (and Gleason and Company will still be seen on Me-TV’s sibling, Me Too)—Me-TV is adding a bumper crop of vintage boob tube reruns that, as you may have suspected, make us tingly all over here at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.  Among the new additions and changes:

Love, American Style and Family Affair – Both shows premiere in the 6am weekday time slot (that’s EST)…though Family Affair has been running on Me-TV for a while on Sunday afternoons.  To make room for these shows, Gomer Pyle, USMC and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis move to 5 and 5:30am respectively…and The Beverly Hillbillies is scaled back to a half-hour, which means Petticoat Junction moves to 7:30, followed by My Three Sons (8am) and I Love Lucy, which is also pared back at 8:30am.

Daniel Boone – This RTV staple premieres in a 9am timeslot on weekdays.

Hawaii Five-O – Moves from 5pm to 12noon…but I’ll still have to watch it in my room, because my father is usually occupied watching things ablaze on Channel 2’s noon newscast.

Kojak – Premieres at 4pm weekdays, replacing Rawhide…which moves to a 4am slot on weekdays, with reruns also at 5:00 and 7:00am on Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings at 4am.

The Rockford Files – Premieres at 5pm weekdays, replacing Hawaii Five-O (see above).

The Rifleman – Premieres at 6pm weekdays, replacing reruns of Hogan’s Heroes—which have been pared back to an hour a week on Saturdays (at 6pm).  An hour of  Rifleman reruns will also be shown on Saturdays at 5pm.

Currently, the Me-TV evening lineup beginning at 8pm EST kicks off with Mary Tyler Moore, followed by The Dick Van Dyke Show (8:30pm), The Bob Newhart Show (9pm), Cheers (9:30pm), M*A*S*H (10pm—also an hour at 7pm, which will stay put) and The Honeymooners at 10:30.  With The Honeymooners gone, Me-TV loses the extra M*A*S*H repeat at 10 and replaces it with CheersThe Odd Couple moves in Cheers’ old slot at 9:30pm, and Taxi rounds out primetime at 10:30pm.  (Both Couple and Taxi were previously on the schedule Saturday and Sunday nights, with Felix and Oscar at 9:30 Saturdays and Sundays and the Sunshine Cab folks on for an hour at 10pm on Sundays.)

I hope you guys got all that…because there will be a test.  Now…here’s the thing.  Our Me-TV affiliate, WSB-DT in Atlanta, doesn’t show Cheers at 9:30…they run in its place another Dick Van Dyke Show episode.  (I’m speculating that this is so because several stations in the Atlanta area have Cheers on their schedule already.)  Now, I checked with Locate TV on next week’s schedule…and apparently they’re going to keep things in place, except that since Cheers is moving to 10 that means The Odd Couple reruns won’t be seen in this area.  (I’m hoping this is an error on Locate TV’s part.)

The rest of the schedule remains unchanged with the exception of the Gunsmoke half-hours that ran in the 5-6am slot, which they’ve surgically removed to make room for the new additions of Love, American Style and Daniel BooneGunsmoke—or Marshal Dillon, since the reruns have the old syndicated titles, also airs Saturdays at 6am (for one hour) and 11am (also one hour).

The Wild Wild West – Moves up an hour to 4pm on Saturdays, replacing Rawhide and making room for The Rifleman at 5.

The Saturday night lineup gets a major revamp, beginning at 7pm with the acquisition of Batman…followed by Lost in Space at 8pm and the original Star Trek at 9pm.  Then it’s two hours with my new best bud, Svengoolie (aka Rich Koz), who unspools old Universal horror films while yukking it up with comedy in between breaks.  I like Svengoolie (I think Mike Doran was asking me what my opinion was of him), who’s been around forever in Chicago…though I don’t know if good Universal horror flicks like The Incredible Shrinking Man and The Mummy should be fodder for his antics (though I have to confess, Sven did a funny musical number about Karloff’s Mummy character, Ardeth Bey, to the tune of Bobby Bloom’s Montego Bay).  After the movie, it’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea continuing the cheesefest…which means Get Smart moves up an hour to 1am, and that’s followed by Car 54, Where are You? at 2.  Honey West reruns get a workout at 3am, and then The Rogues—the sitcom starring David Niven, Charles Boyer, Gig Young…and later Larry Hagman—premieres at 4am.  (Something tells me we’ll need to get this “rogue” cable box fixed before next Saturday.)

Me-TV starts its Sunday schedule with an extra half-hour of Car 54—so the cable box will definitely have to be in peak condition, ‘cause I’ll need to tape them for ClassicBecky—and this will be followed by (drum roll) a full hour of The Phil Silvers Show!  But aye, here’s the rub: WSB-DT cuts away from Me-TV at 6am to run a few hours of infomercials (well, something’s got to pay for all this classic TV) so my initial joy at having a full hour of Bilko each week caught a chill after the cold water was thrown on it.  This also means that I will not be able to watch the Laurel & Hardy shorts that will be shown by the channel from 6:30 to 8am.  (I’m a little upset about this, too.)

The only new acquisition to Me-TV’s schedule that I find disappointing is Bosom Buddies, which will air for an hour from 3-4pm on Sundays…but that will be followed by an hour of The Dick Van Dyke Show, so I’m sure I can deal with it.  Sunday nights imitate Saturdays with a major revamping—Me-TV schedules Columbo from 8-10pm, then follows that with Boris Karloff’s Thriller at 10pm, an hour of The Twilight Zone at 11 and (love it) The Fugitive at midnight.  Then an embarrassment of riches follows that’s sure to lighten the heart of any insomniac or night auditor—Naked City (1am), Peter Gunn (2am), and Route 66 (3am).

If you’re curious as to why you’ll be seeing a lot of former RTV staples on Me-TV (like Kojak and Rockford), this press release trumpets the acquisition of a lot of properties from the NBC-Universal library…and the channel promises more goodies to come in Leave it to Beaver, Dragnet, Adam-12, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Wagon Train (both the hour and ninety-minute versions).  Emergency! and Ironside are also slated to appear on Me-TV within the next few years as well.

I’ve alluded on the blog that the ‘rents are becoming most displeased with the level of service being offered by our current cable company, CharredHer, and there’s serious talk that we may cut them loose and watch them drift out to sea while we give a hearty handclasp to AT&T Uverse…which has recently become available in our area.  I was saddened at first because I thought that the long romantic relationship between the great classic TV cable channel would come to an end…until I learned Me-TV is available in our Uverse package, too.  (All we need is a slow motion shot of the two of us running toward one another in a field of daisies, and we’re good to go.)

Bookmark and Share

15 comments:

Cinema Nostalgia said...

I wish there was an ME tv in my area ...obviously I don't live in Chicago. Quite frankly they have much better fare than TV Land.

Kevin Deany said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Me-TV changes. "The Rogues"? Never even heard of that one. I'll have to set the recorder for those.

Here in Chicago, Svengoolie is considered something of a local treasure. I'm glad he got syndicated to the rest of the country. I've seen him at Christmas time ringing the bell at the Salvation Army buckets and there's people lined up to throw money in the bucket and have their picture taken with him. A great guy.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

CN lamented:

I wish there was an ME tv in my area ...obviously I don't live in Chicago.

Me-TV's continuing quest to go national and expand beyond Chicago is one of the best things to happen to cable television in decades. It's currently available in about 60% of the TV markets, so if you skate by their website on a regular basis you can do a search and see if it's available in your neck of the woods (and if not, try to use a little muscle to make it so by lobbying your local TV station).

And Kev came out of his "movie corner" to observe:

"The Rogues"? Never even heard of that one. I'll have to set the recorder for those.

Despite positive critical buzz and winning a Golden Globe as Best TV Series, The Rogues only lasted a single season due to the fact that its stars--Charles Boyer, David Niven and Gig Young--were still in demand as film stars. Both Boyer and Niven owned an interest in Four Star Productions, the company who produced the show, which explains their presence...and Young, who appeared in a majority of the episodes since the other two were busier, got a break mid-season when they added Larry Hagman to the cast. I've only seen a single episode but it was fairly entertaining...nice to see Me-TV break away with a seldom-seen show now and then (like they did with Stagecoach West).

Anonymous said...

Ivan,

You get a DVR included with U-verse.

However, their contract with your favorite channel (TCM) is set to expire October 14. It may wind up in a higher priced tier (U200->U300). That happened to the Fox Movie Channel in August. So, you may want to wait for the dust to settle before making a decision.

Regards,
Barry

PS.
Thanks for turning anon comments back on.

Mike Doran said...

Your account of MEtv's forthcoming schedule changes had me scratching my head a bit at first.
I had to keep reminding myself that you aren't also getting MEtoo, where many of the shows you mentioned have been playing for some while now.
Neal Sabin, who runs the WCIU group, has been bouncing shows back and forth between the MEs for as long as he's had two stations to play with; some of the overflow winds up on THiS in the early AM, between movie blocks.
I often wish Sabin (or somebody) would put out a DVD of the promos they have done over the years at the MEs. I think I mentioned a few in an earlier comment a while back.
Indulge me while I recall some favorites:
- Perry Mason: a string of confession scenes, capped by a gag scene with Raymond Burr and Jack Benny from the latter's show.
- Betty White in character as Sue Ann, doing a sticky-sweet pitch for MTM - and turning off-camera at the end and snarling "Who the hell wrote this $#!+?"
- Garry Marshall for Happy Days: "It's a TV show! You'll like it!"
- Ed Asner in person (and persona): "Watch Mary Tyler Moore - or I'll fire ya!" - and concluding with the MTM "meow".
- A mash-up promo for Cannon and Streets Of San Francisco, artfully combining lines of dialog from both shows to make it seem like they're talking about (and to) each other. This was a MEtv specialty from the start.
- For a while MEtoo had a string of B&W cop shows on Saturdays, anchored by M Squad and Highway Patrol. One clip of Broderick Crawford spewing about 40 words in approximately four seconds always had me on the floor.
Some day Neal Sabin ought to write a book.

One more point about Svengoolie:
For many years as a local horror host, both Jerry G. Bishop (the original Sven) and Rich Koz (who started out as Son of Svengoolie) had to make do with some of the cruddiest poverty row shockers available. That's where the comedy portions of the show came in. When Jerry Bishop moved to California, Rich Koz brought in his friend Doug Scharf (aka "Doug Graves") and started doing the song parodies that have become the show's trademark. I'd like to see a DVD of those,too.
As I said before, Rich Koz also hosts Stooge-A-Palooza on MEtoo on Saturday nights: five Stooge shorts, grouped by a common theme, with lotsa movie-buff info in between. The best possible presentation of these that I've ever seen.
You know, Ivan ... it's probably just as well that you don't live in Chicago.
Between MEtv, MEtoo, and THiS, you'd probably never leave your home.

Todd Mason said...

I don't know how reception is around your house, but you do realize that the Me-TV affiliate is a broadcast station you could pick up with an antenna?

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Barry plays program director:

However, their contract with your favorite channel (TCM) is set to expire October 14. It may wind up in a higher priced tier (U200->U300). That happened to the Fox Movie Channel in August. So, you may want to wait for the dust to settle before making a decision.

Thanks for the tip, Barry. This has been a bone of contention around Rancho Yesteryear because my father, whose life rarely wanders beyond that of the TV he watches nearly sixteen hours (stop snickering back there...I can hear you people saying "Physician, heal thyself") keeps telling me that we need to get in on this introductory $29 a month deal...and I keep trying to patiently explain to him that it's a) TV only (no internet) and b) consists of "family" channels we'd never watch. The package we have been looking at will contain TCM, but maybe we will hold off until the ground solidifies.

Mike Doran rhapsodized about some of memorable Me-TV promos:

Perry Mason: a string of confession scenes, capped by a gag scene with Raymond Burr and Jack Benny from the latter's show

I'd love to see this one...though I do remember seeing that particular Benny outing (in fact, it was one of the first Benny TV shows I ever watched). I've seen all the others except for the Highway Patrol bit; my personal favorite is the one that appropriates the "Y'all Come" musical number from the I Love Lucy episode that guest-starred Tennessee Ernie Ford ("It's for free!")

You know, Ivan ... it's probably just as well that you don't live in Chicago. Between MEtv, MEtoo, and THiS, you'd probably never leave your home.

Ain't it da truth...actually, we used to get portions of THiS before local station WUGA-TV decided to become a PBS station. You had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to catch the good stuff, though.

And Todd has the last word:

I don't know how reception is around your house, but you do realize that the Me-TV affiliate is a broadcast station you could pick up with an antenna?

I don't know how the reception is at my house, either. But you've piqued my curiosity--how does one pick up a digital substation with an antenna?

Todd Mason said...

By using the proper antenna (they can be purchased relatively inexpensively--standard rabbit ears probably won't work too terribly well) and tuning your digital tuner in this case to channel 2.2.

Todd Mason said...

Both 2.1 (the ABC feed) and 2.2 (the Me-TV feed) are actual digital signals, not "substations"...they are "virtually" assigned to 2.1 and 2.2 and are actually broadcasting on the UHF frequencies (most but not all digital stations do...some doggedly prefer to broadcast on VHF).

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Todd was most helpful with my inquiry:

By using the proper antenna (they can be purchased relatively inexpensively--standard rabbit ears probably won't work too terribly well) and tuning your digital tuner in this case to channel 2.2.

Both 2.1 (the ABC feed) and 2.2 (the Me-TV feed) are actual digital signals, not "substations"...they are "virtually" assigned to 2.1 and 2.2 and are actually broadcasting on the UHF frequencies (most but not all digital stations do...some doggedly prefer to broadcast on VHF).


Thanks loads for the info, good Sir Todd! If any attempts are made to separate me from my pretend girlfriend (that would be Me-TV) I will definitely look into this sort of set-up.

ClassicBecky said...

Boy there are so many good shows on Me-TV -- I am so green with jealousy (or "jhel-US" as I always said when I was a kid trying to sound French - I did that a lot). And what do I get? Car 54! Now Phil Silvers -- THAT would be a treasure!

I really am glad you get to have Me-TV after all. I'm so happy having TCM again, I don't mind the extra sacrifice I'm making to do it. It is, as I think you've said before, the network of the gods!

Cinema Nostalgia said...

Thank you Ivan for the website info! I will def check it out ...hopefully it's available here or as you suggested I'll lobby my local cable provider.

Mike Doran said...

I was just over at Sitcoms Online, looking at their coverage of the new MEtv schedule, and had another of my head-scratching moments.
They said that MEtv "wouldn't get the rights" to certain shows for a few years yet ... but several of the shows they mention currently appear on MEtoo!
For example, Dragnet fills out the nightly Mystery Movie slot whenever the show they're running that night is 90 minutes (did I mention that MEtoo rotates McCloud, McMillan & Wife, and Banacek weeknights now? Jes' forgot ... sorry). That's one example; I'd have to look up the MEtoo schedule for more current ones. I do recall that all the other Jack Webb shows have been on one ME or the other at various times (they had a promo called "Webb TV" before someone made them stop it).
I'm guessing that this may be a territorial thing, with shows still being sold locally and nationally. MEtv going national may have thrown a complication into things.

Back in the '50s-'60s, TV Guide's Chicago edition carried local listings for Rockford, halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. Back then, Rockford had only two stations: Channel 13 was jointly affiliated with CBS and ABC, while channel 39 was NBC. Ch 13's schedule was a crazy quilt of delayed broadcasts, with network shows airing in early and late fringe times and even on Saturday and Sunday afternoons; even at that, some leftover CBS and ABC shows wound up on ch 39 (Ed Sullivan and Naked City are two examples I can think of). As a kid, I found this fascinating; I wished I could get an antenna strong enough to pull in the Rockford signals, and then I could watch many shows I liked that were competing against each other.
And if you had told 11-year-old me that something like MEtv/MEtoo/THiS/etc. was waiting in my future ... well, Ivan, how would you react to that?

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

For example, Dragnet fills out the nightly Mystery Movie slot whenever the show they're running that night is 90 minutes (did I mention that MEtoo rotates McCloud, McMillan & Wife, and Banacek weeknights now? Jes' forgot ... sorry).

It's probably a question of "the chicken or the egg" but I saw the same thing on RTV when they had carte blanche to the NBC-Universal library. That's probably why my reaction to their deal is a little tepid...it's mostly shows that I started to get weary of when RTV had them.

Brent McKee said...

Yet again I am forced to envy you, and believe me my envy threshold is normally fairly high. The simple fact is that no one in Canada offers this sort of service, certainly not in Broadcast and not even on Cable. Our "TVLand" equivalent "Dejaview" thinks that people only want to see comedies and only comedies from the 70s and 80s and only eight hours of those repeated three times a day. The former "TVLand Canada" has become a second comedy channel that does pretty much what Dejaview does. And despite our own digital transition there no one is using subchannels. Even if they did, ownership of TV is so concentrated the networks would probably take over the subchannels and stick reruns of their news shows on them.

Hmmm. Socialized medicine or MeTV. Tough choice but I think I'll stick with Canadian Health Care.