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The Cable network TV Land: What ARE they doing?


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Initial post: Jan 27, 2008 9:36:32 AM PST
Last edited by the author on May 18, 2008 8:45:03 AM PDT
I cannot stand what TV Land is becoming. I loved what it once was, a spinoff of Nick at Nite. Nick at Nite was also once a terrific network that aired classic TV all night long: The Donna Reed Show, Dennis the Menace, Car 54 Where Are You. Now they play Home Improvement, Fresh Prince, Cosby Show, Roseanne, Home Improvement, Home Improvement, Fresh Prince, Fresh Prince...

Time was, I looked forward to watching TV Land. It was an oasis of classic tv shows including Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and many more. Now it is in some bizarrre state of flux. It feels like new management has come in and made big changes. Or maybe the powers-that-be want to shake things up to increase ratings.
They are changing, going away from classic TV which once truly was their motif. Now they seem like they're trying to appeal to baby boomers by showing stuff they grew up with and also what they've watched recently.

They have acquired Extreme Makeover Home Edition, in reruns. Come on, guys. Really?
They are creating their own cheesy reality programs. As if we needed more of this sleazy, stupid crud on the tube.
They are buying adult sitcoms of the '90s like Just Shoot Me. Seems odd.
They are playing 1980's movies incessantly and repeatedly. Why? It's not the Movie Land channel.

Their only sponsors lately seem to be motorized wheelchairs (the Jazzy, the Powerchair), life insurance, and anything else that is geared specifically to people in their seventies/eighties. Although this could be my local cable throwing in their own ads; it just gets tiresome because you never see ads for anything but senior stuff.

Puzzlingly, this year TV Land is planning to show modern programs such as Scrubs and Mad About You. Just Shoot Me and Scrubs are adult-themed sitcoms with many sexual innuendos and gags, so TV Land is far from being the family oriented network they once were.

I watch less and less of it. The format is becoming completely unappealing. They grind certain shows into dust by showing them every blessed night for months on end (I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, anyone?). They show more commercials than ever before, as all stations do now, including three to four breaks for advertisements per half hour. This causes them to haphazardly edit (butcher) program content to fit the ads in.

I do hope a new network pops up one day that will show classic television shows like Bewitched, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Dennis the Menace, Batman, and The Lucy Show.
Meantime I have dvd's of some favorite classic programs to keep me satisfied.

I have attempted to contact TV Land and inquire nicely about their format's changes, and to express disappointment, but my efforts go ignored. I've had it with them. And I have a feeling I am not alone in my feelings.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2008 9:50:02 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 27, 2008 1:12:31 PM PST
I too miss the old TV land. I loved and still adore watching Happy Days, Mork and Mindy and Charlie's Angels...etc amomg many other classic shows. For many years I thought that Adam West's version of Batman was how Batman was actually supposed to be.

Through TV Land-the good years I discovered some neat shows like Maude which I was too young to have initially appreciated--but which I fell in love with.

I liked watching the Smothers Brothers when they were 'briefly' on TV Land and want them returning to the lineup! Again, I had not seen them when they originally aired--but it was more 'edgy' than some of the stuff which I grew up with.

I loved the retromercials. The channel was a nice return to what I had grown up with--again before today's tampering. Now it's a waste land of reject material. No, you're not alone in your concern.

They're even showing 'movies' in slots which could show these and other classic sitcoms.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2008 10:10:18 AM PST
Thanks, Robin. Good to get some feedback that echoes my own opinions.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2008 3:53:26 PM PST
Not at all a problem. The first time I saw the 'new tv land' I was scratching my head wondering what gives.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2008 4:07:03 PM PST
R. Gallant says:
I live in Canada where I often watch TVLAND and/or DEJAVIEW, and sometimes wonder what either of them are thinking. It would seem like an easy thing to look at, but I would concentrate on airing shows that aren't on DVD yet, or at least some with limited releases. I wouldn't even consider something that's had every season released.

On weekdays I would air - Simon & Simon, Growing Pains, Who's the Boss, Falcon Crest, L.A. Law, Knots Landing, Night Court, WKRP, etc. And try to have a different lineup for weekends.

Right now DEJAVIEW is airing - Three's Company, Hogan's Heroes, Cosby Show, Miami Vice, Magnum P.I., All in the Family, Roseanne etc. If you have these shows on DVD why would you tune in. Don't get me wrong, I love those shows but I'd rather see non-released shows on these channels.

Just a few thoughts

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2008 4:57:41 PM PST
MoJangles says:
..makes me glad that i don't have cable. I remember watching TV Land at my sisters place, and i dug it. However, if the format change for this channel (and with Nick at Nite) is that extreme, then no thanks..i'll stick with my DVD's..

Incidentally, 3 things i have noticed about cable (looking at the program listings) as of late:

1) It's getting too repetitive..(reflecting on the "home improvement, fresh prince" comment)

2) over 1/3 of it is "pay per view" (more money)

3) the infocommercials are now saturating this medium as well as regular tv. I used to be able to turn television on late night, and enjoy a cheesy movie, Jerry Springer, Cheaters, etc.. and now it's all slowly being replaced by infocommercials.. now THAT'S sad..

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2008 5:48:29 PM PST
greg6363 says:
Unfortunately, TV Land started to see a severe erosion in its audience base in 2005. Consequently, they could not command the same ad rates they had charged in the past. When you think about it, how many times can people watch the same episodes of the classic shows from the Viacom library? It's the same problem they faced with MTV in the late 80's. There was no way the network could survive without broadening their programming. Now I will agree with you they could be more creative with some of their choices that would allow them to maintain the original goal of a channel dedicated to classic television.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2008 11:21:52 PM PST
J. says:
I agree 100%!!! TV LAND has "jumped the shark" so many times, it's not funny. And the same with NICK AT NITE. Why can't they go back to showing "GET SMART, "THE DONNA REED SHOW", "THE PATTY DUKE SHOW", "F TROOP", "MY 3 SONS"...etc. And show them all UNCUT!!! And not have the "split screen" on the end.
I still can't beleive they're showing reruns of "EXTREME MAKOVER: HOME EDITION", and all those reality shows. And now, they're showing "JUST SHOOT ME"-that's hardly what I'd call classic!! What's next, reruns of "SIENFELD" and "FRIENDS"???
At least they've brought back "THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES" though, and they're still showing "GREEN ACRES, "BONANZA", and "GUNSMOKE"-but now, if only they'd show them COMPLETE and UNCUT!!! And not split the screen at the end!!! And stop showing those movies. They show good ones; I'll give them that. But, they're comedies from the 80s and 90s that you can see on TBS, ABC FAMILY, COMEDY CENTRAL, etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2008 12:52:17 AM PST
Lab Lover says:
I knew someone who worked the creative end of the OLD TVLand. She left when there was a takeover by new "kids" who decided to dictate what "classic" tv would be, hence the disaster you see before you daily/nightly. The old guard that put the network on the map is GONE completely, and it truly is a bunch of younger ones running the programming now. The stories I heard were maddening, because you could see the writing on the wall. We quit watching except when Andy Griffith or Lucy was on....When they stopped showing shows that are old classics overall, their tone shifted. I can think of a very long list they haven't put back on - if you read their message boards, you'll see people are outraged at them and their decision-making - go there, join the board and RANT because they do read it. Sometimes, they shift times around on what remains as classic, but they aren't trying to keep any old shows' rights any longer.

They completely missed their target demographic, and what's left doesn't know what to make of them now anyhow. They didn't leave the dance with the one that "brung" 'em, if you know what I mean. I think they've become the joke of TV - they can't define themselves at all.

Where these shows' rights are going is to upstarts like American Life TV (still not in enough homes), and some other smaller ones you may have to request to get from your cable operator. I order DVDs because I don't hold out hope that TVLand will ever again be run by people who know what they're doing.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2008 9:01:18 AM PST
Thank you, Lab Lover, for your info and thoughts. I suspected as much, and you validated things that I feared.
I love the expression about not leaving the dance with the one that brung 'em! It fits very aptly.
For myself, like you, it's going to be dvd's for quality, classic television entertainment of the past.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2008 6:48:52 AM PST
Ben Masters says:
Fortunately, I do have at least one season's worth of two classic comedies that really have made me laugh out loud--"Mary Tyler Moore" S1 and S2 (1970-72) and "Taxi" S1 (1978-79). Both of these have made me laugh more than "Friends," "Seinfeld", and "Raymond" ever could.

Unfortunately, it looks like everyone thinks that the '90's adult comedies are better than the classic comedies of years past, and a lot of people have at least one season's worth of one or more of these '90's adult comedies in their television disc racks. Sure, "Taxi" was an adult comedy (at least, I think it was), but I don't think it went deep, deep down into the muck (at least in its first season's worth). I will never own the '90's comedies, however-- they went too deep down into the muck for me.

One Christian review site even lists "Friends" and "Seinfeld" as series that it strongly recommends against, and for good reason too, I might add. I never enjoyed them when they were originally on, and I certainly don't now.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2008 7:34:37 AM PST
I stopped watching Cable TV last January. Each and every year I saw more and more of my favorate shows get replaced with cheaply-produced "Reality' Game or News Shows. If that wasn't enough the few shows that remained were being "Hacked and Slashed" so the networks could cram in more Advertisments! Many of these Ads are either for products I have no interest in purchasing, and or are presented to me in a manner I find obnoxious and/or offensive! I finally decided if they are going to make more money by selling more Commercials why should I continue to pay subscription fees to watch them. I now use the Money I used to use for Subscription Fees to purchase Box Sets of my favorate TV shows on DVD. Now I can watch my favorate shows without having to keep my finger on my Remote's "Mute" switch, waiting to snuff out an offending ad. (The timing could not have been better, since 2008 is an Election Year, which means the Airwaves will soon be saturated with Politicions who will invariably use "Attack Ads" to slander each other in their attempt to sway my vote!) IMO I do not think TV is going to get better anytime soon. We, as viewers need to send the programmers a message, and nothing makes them listen better than withholding our money from them!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2008 8:01:36 AM PST
Hi Ben
I understand and respect your feelings. But I'd rather not turn this into "Which Sitcoms are More Worthwhile" or "Friends and Seinfeld are Too Risque/Adult/Offensive". Yes, these are more 'adult' in dialogue and themes, but they are still very enjoyable shows for a lot of folks, myself included. They are hilarious shows.

I can enjoy modern/edgy programs as well as the classics, like The Mary Tyler Moore Show (which, by the way, included storylines involving gay characters, and premarital sex, among other things. So it was hardly squeaky clean. Granted it wasn't so in your face as today's fare, but it was far from a wholesome family show.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2008 8:13:54 AM PST
Yes, William, you're so right. It amazes me that so many people pay for cable television that's brimming with commercials. Where does all that money go if there are already sponsors? To the cable companies, I suppose. Something just ain't right.

I would like to have certain channels only, instead of the whole package (there are 200 channels and I watch twelve), but that 'pick and choose' notion could have drawbacks too.

But we need to contact the networks that are sorely disappointing us, and express our concern (in a polite and civil manner). TV Land is one of them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2008 8:18:29 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 30, 2008 9:20:06 AM PST
Ben Masters says:
I didn't know that "MTM" wasn't as clean as I thought it to be. I didn't see much bad stuff in it, at least from what I saw of it from the first two seasons. I thought it was in the 3rd and 4th seasons when it got interesting. I purchased it because I thought that the '70's were cleaner than the '90's (which of course, I still believe). But, however, Art VanDelay, I do respect that you like both classic and modern, because different people have different tastes; however, I cannot bring myself to enjoy modern ('90's-beyond) for some reason.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2008 9:06:09 AM PST
I couldn't agree with all of you more. I am sick and tired of new stations reeling you in with promises of good programming and then changing it until you don't recognize it anymore. Remember the good old American Movie Classics channel? I introduced my children to great movies and wonderful old actors (Tyrone Powers, John Payne, Maureen O'Hara, etc.) I didn't have to worry about explaining uncomfortable adult situations, and they had this great MC who would explain the movie and give interesting trivia about it. Now look at it(or maybe don't!) The movies they consider "classics" are appauling. Slashers, gratuitous violence, etc. We don't watch anymore AMC. Then there is the Cartoon Network. It first showed great old cartoons like Tex Avery and Bugs Bunny and the like. Now it is nothing more than a network full of offensive "cartoons". Some people may enjoy the "adult swim" stuff, but I really found it to be insulting to anyone's intelligence and just plain nasty. Then you have the violent Japanese animations. I guess if that's what you like, then they should re-call the network "The Adults Who Like Cartoons Children Shouldn't Watch Network" and quit trying to pawn this junk off on kids. Sorry about the soap box, but I have really had it with these stations!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2008 11:41:39 AM PST
Giselle,
I'm with you about Cartoon Network. Once they were the home of Dexter's Laboratory, Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, Droopy, The Flintstones.
They still show some fun stuff (Camp Lazlo, Courage, Foster's Home) but I think they need a spinoff channel to showcase Naruto, Ben 10, Pokemon, and other anime (or anime copycat shows they create).

I get Boomerang network with my cable, and they show Hanna Barbera cartoon programs like The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, and such. And they don't have many commercials at all (just their own promotional spots and a few brief ads for Cartoon Network). However a little of Hanna Barbera goes a long way for an adult; limited/economical animation and the same background music for every series gets dull after a while.

I once really loved Cartoon Network. That's what disappoints me about stations like TV Land; they change so drastically and not for the better. Another example is the Sci-Fi Channel, which debuted in 1991. They have steadily rotted and morphed into something unappealing. If you ever want to see a terrible direct-to-dvd creature movie, you will find it on this network on weekends or evenings. And while I enjoy their reruns of Twilight Zone and X-Files, there's entirely too much modern stuff and original reality programming. It's like they are going through the same identity crisis as TV Land has been.
Sci-Fi Channel used to air the original Star Trek, Lost in Space, Night Gallery, Farscape, Dark Shadows, Firefly, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. I used to tune in. I haven't in a long time.
Today they actually air wrestling. That's right. Whose idea was that nonsense?

So I've had it with these channels, too. But it seems that money is the biggest factor here. Networks will continue to be cheap, mimic what others do, and not be creative or risky at all. It's unfortunate but it's a part of show biz that seems unavoidable.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2008 12:49:59 PM PST
J. says:
I agree with everyone 100%! And to the poster who mentioned that I don't like "SIENFELD" & "FRIENDS", I do, don't get me wrong. I'm just saying, these "modern" shows have no place on TV LAND!!
And I also agree about AMC. Both they and TCM used to be GREAT movie channels, but now AMC shows commercials, they edit their movies, etc. Thank god TCM doesn't do that-and hopefully, they never will!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2008 1:21:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 30, 2008 1:25:09 PM PST
Ben Masters says:
If you enjoy "Friends" and "Seinfeld", J., that's your business--enjoy them all you want. I was the one who said that I could not stand them. However, as I said before, different people like different things. I am willing to concede that you enjoy those series.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2008 3:00:22 PM PST
Solomon says:
I totally agree with you guys. Not only TV Land, but AMC, Cartoon Network, MTV, VH1 and a few others lost their magic. It's not what they use to be. I remember a time when VH1 used to air videos and programs related to music and stuff (concerts, biographies, documentaries).And all of a sudden all they do is transmit reality show almost all day (and night).It has become tiresome,and for me it is boring. What the purpose of it? I know it's money. They don't have to pay these unknown "actors" as much as if they were proffesionals.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2008 3:34:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 31, 2008 3:37:58 PM PST
wally gator says:
yeah, so, i agree with pretty much this whole thread. I remember when TV Land first came around, because Nick at Night had already gone en-route to Fresh Prince and Roseanne at that point.

Several of the shows that I love to watch over and again are long gone now from both networks. I'm 24, and learned of all of these shows solely from Nick at Night. My faves that I would like to suggest for future audiences who weren't around to enjoy them in "the days" are Dennis The Menace,.. Patty Duke,.. My Three Sons,.. MR. Frieken ED!!!! come on now! and my absolute favorite Welcome Back Kotter. Maybe a few Dobie Gillis' would be cool too. PLUS... I really, really, really liked the "How to Be Swell" segments they used to play. You don't even see any vintage commercials anymore!? Crapola!

The only thing left is Green Acres. That show rules too.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 1, 2008 1:04:52 PM PST
RafaRocks says:
I too am very disappointed in the direction that TV Land has taken. I am 43 years old, a baby boomer & supposedly the new TV Land's target audience. I do like some of the post 80's sitcoms, but NOT on TV Land. I don't want to see anything on TV Land newer than Family Ties or Cheers. I love the old classics like I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Leave it to Beaver, Donna Reed, My Three Sons, The Andy Griffith Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Get Smart, Gilligan's Island, and All in the Family. I have an 11 year old daughter, and she too adores the old classics. I hate the reality garbage that is polluting television, and there are NO good sitcoms currently on the air. All the current sitcom writers know how to do is write potty humour! I reckon I am going to have to invest in as many DVD's sets as possible, because I don't forsee things getting any better. :(

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2008 2:39:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 2, 2008 2:40:44 PM PST
I have mixed feelings about adding Family Ties--for a while. Many years would need to pass before it can join the lineup of a 'classic TV' network.

As much as I personally loved that series while growing up, I think a current addition could ironically help sanction the current mess which the channel is now in. People would say 'if we can add that, we could add other 80's series'.

We would do better adding Charlie's Angels, CHiPS, Smothers Brothers, Wonder Woman, Welcome Back Kotter...among other sincerely classic series and finally doubling the amount of televised retromercials.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2008 2:48:09 PM PST
I remember when people were concerned about the 'hold' MTV had on us 'kids' since it only did play videos all day long, and our brains allegedly were going to be rotted!

MTV hosts were called 'v-jays' and prided themselves on being dressed and acting as 'far-out' as was humanly possible by early 80's workplace standards.

I too am amazed that the channel still exists since it no longer seems to play 'music'.

It's last hurrah specifically involving music seemed to be in the early 1990's--but now it focuses more on generalized entertainment.

You're probally right that the obvious format switch simply boils down to money--but it does feel like something was taken from myself and other people. Several of us remember when the channel initially 'launched' (complete with an astronaut landing commercial and 'new wave' music which was popular then).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2008 4:24:22 PM PST
M. Martin says:
I used to watch A & E, Bravo, TBS, TNT, AMC, and the FAM as well as Nick at Nite. Now I'm down to Hallmark and TVland and less on either one of those all the time. I recently upgraded to digital cable and my new favorite channels are American Life TV and Turner Classic Movies and the Fox Movie Channel when they're showing their old movies. But isn't it amazing how the more channels there are the less there is on.
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Initial post:  Jan 27, 2008
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