Weigel Poised To Roll Out Multicast Me-TV

The format of classic TV shows that first appeared on Weigel's Chicago and Milwaukee stations will be offered in other markets as a multicast option.

Weigel Broadcasting, owner of independent WCIU Chicago, is turning Me-TV, the programming format it developed at stations in Chicago and Milwaukee, into a multicast network of the same name and has begun looking for outlets in other markets.

The new channel (view promos at metvnetwork.com) will debut in other markets as early as January, according to a “tease release” issued this afternoon. A formal announcement is to come tomorrow.

The network has secured long-term licensing agreements for more than 50 series spanning the 1950s to the 1980s, including Perry Mason, I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Happy Days, Bonanza and the Honeymooners.

“It’s a mash-up of America’s most loved television classics,” Weigel said in the release.

Me-TV would compete head-to-head with RTN, another classic TV multicast channel.

Weigel is a partner (with MGM) in another multicast channel, This TV Network, which also airs classic TV shows, but is based primarily on movies from the MGM library. “We think that we know something about digital subchannels from having worked on This,” said Weigel’s Neal Sabin.


Weigel is offering affiliates a barter split of the ad inventory, Sabin said. “We have been talking to other broadcasters, but haven’t closed anything yet.”

Sabin said he wants affiliates who see the network as more than filler. “We are looking for committed, interested partners who have a passion about classic TV.”

The network is going after baby boomers who have plenty of money to spend, he said. “We are not afraid to say our audience skews older.”

Me-TV currently airs of WWME-CA, a low -power station in Chicago; a subchannel of WCIU; and WBME Milwaukee.

Comments (14)

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Rachel Barash says:

November 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Looks like the same model as Retro TV and TV Land. How many times and in how many places can people 65+ watch these old-timer?.

    Teri Green says:

    November 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Retro TV is nothing close to ME-TV in terms of content, ME-TV is more like TVLand was 20 years ago.

    mike tomasino says:

    November 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    65+ really!!! Lots of us in our 30s and 40s like this type of programming. Either shows from our childhood, or stuff we’ve heard about, but haven’t had the chance to see.

    Heidi Persson says:

    November 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Me too! I grew up watching most of these shows on Nick at Nite and independent stations in the `80s and it’ll be great to have them back on TV! Me TV will have the brand-name hits that have disappeared from TV in recent years. It will not be like RTV or TV Land.

    Just Fine says:

    November 22, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    “Old-timer?” I’m 32. I haven’t seen a lot of these shows since I was a kid and teenager, and I loved them. The Dick Van Dyke Show is still one of the best written sitcoms ever produced to this day. Considering TV Land went the reality/non-classic TV route, real classics, especially shows in black-and-white, are a rarity on TV, and I’m glad ME-TV, RTV, and the upcoming AntennaTV are filling that niche.

Teri Green says:

November 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm

I wonder how this will go against Antenna TV.

    Ellen Samrock says:

    November 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Since Antenna TV is available only for sub-channels, Me-TV could be more of a competitor for RTV if Weigel offers Me-TV for main channel distribution as well as subs.

J.D. Walls says:

November 22, 2010 at 5:11 pm

What took them so long? I loved the “me” promos. Bad Boy

Kimberly Gari-Luff says:

November 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

My wife is the perfect candidate. She’s over 65 and she rarely watches first-run programming except Food Network. She catches almost everything on reruns. Lucy on a 52″ Sony Bravia. Go figure.

Frank Mikisits says:

November 23, 2010 at 1:30 am

MeTV is the RTV killer.

mark wienkes says:

November 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm

For years we have been trying to get broadcaster’s to recognize the value of licensing The Auto Channel’s name, programming and on-line content and become their market’ s exclusive “Auto Channel” , which would generate both revenue and audience from a heretofore throwaway digital channel, as well as adding a synergistic lagniappe for their station’s number one local advertising category, car dealers…but i guess that it’s easier to convince a broadcaster that a “mash-up” (oh my, what has our industry come to?) of non-audience generating, ubiquitous programming is what they should dedicate a valuable channel to…no wonder our broadcasting brothers and sisters are struggling…

Mike Henry says:

November 30, 2010 at 7:32 pm

I think Weigel may have jumped the gun a bit with choosing to launch the national MeTV network in a two-week timeline, it is kind of like a performer about to sing only to realize that they don’t know a song (in other words, it is highly unlikely that the national MeTV will have signed any deals with any station groups to carry the service by the time it launches on December 8). I don’t understand why digital multicasters can’t do what a traditional commercial network does and sign affiliation deal with station groups in at least 60% of all U.S. markets before signing on the air, the multicasters are not really going to get much of a foothold viewership-wise the way they get affiliates now.

matt fess says:

January 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I believe that if you can offer up programming that may be on cable but offer it up on over the air broadcast for free, all you do is give consumers an option to drop subscription TV which I am all in favor of!

Tim DeFazio says:

April 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Go go go…..Free TV for all!!

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