Retro TV Space Getting Even More Cozi

Over a year ago, I wrote about the uber-crowded classic TV digi-net category, with Me-TV and Antenna TV signing up station partners quickly, and RTV clinging desperately to those it had (”Three’s Company in Multicast Space”).

Well, the space will get more crowded, as the NBC Owned Stations have announced a channel called Cozi TV that arrives early in 2013. The channel, described by NBC as ”easy-to-watch, comfortable and familiar,” will replace Nonstop on the owned stations’ multicast tier. NBC is “in active talks,” says Cozi chief Meredith McGinn, with outside groups as well.

NBC Owned Stations execs are understandably sensitive about being lumped in with the Gunsmoke/Make Room For Daddy/Emergency! lot, stressing that they will feature hit movies and shows from the NBCUniversal vault, such as Magnum PI and The Six Million Dollar Man, that may not have been on the air in some time.”We’re investing where, frankly, our competitors may have not wanted to pay for some programs,” says McGinn.

Notably, Cozi will also offer original programming–shows from NBC’s LX TV brand, as well as programs from outside producers too.

Stations will also have the option to pre-empt scheduled Cozi shows with their own programming–news or sports or political coverage or whatever. “Stations should consider it a duopoly in their market,” says McGinn.

I hear from a lot of pleasantly surprised station GMs about how their digi-nets, particularly Me-TV and This TV, do some numbers.

Is there enough room for four dot-two networks built on the cornerstone of half-century old TV shows?  What happens when all these baby boomers die off–are there enough next generation viewers watching M*A*S*H and I Love Lucy to make the various networks viable?

It sounds like a Mission: Impossible, but perhaps it will turn out to be a Bonanza.

Sorry, that was cheesy.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.