MGM, Weigel Taking Me-TV Nationwide

MGM Studios is partnering with Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting to distribute Me-TV, which currently airs on Weigel's WWME Chicago and WBME Milwaukee digital channels, nationwide.

Me-TV airs classic sitcoms, including Cheers, M*A*S*H, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Bosom Buddies, Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley.

"Me-TV was created to present a wide variety of the iconic series, stars and genres that have defined pop culture and television for decades," said Neal Sabin, Weigel's executive vice president. "Our goal is to present these series with creativity, reverence and respect for the programs, our viewers and advertisers."

Weigel and MGM already have a partnership in place, with MGM distributing Weigel's other digital network, THIStv, which predominantly airs classic movies from MGM's library.

"Me-TV is a terrific companion service to THIStv, or as an option for a station that did not have the opportunity to affiliate with THIStv," said Weigel President Norman Shapiro. "In our markets, we have success airing and selling both Me-TV and THIStv as part of a cluster of viewer and advertiser options."

Stations that air the Weigel-MGM digital networks can sell advertisements on all three platforms - their main channel and the two digi-nets - or on each network individually, says Jim Packer, co-president of MGM Worldwide Television.

"Weigel has done a good job of proving in Chicago that if you program your main channel, an entertainment channel and a movie channel, you increase the reach and frequency of your audience in the local market," said Packer.

Weigel and MGM will immediately go up against Tribune's Antenna TV, which launched on Jan. 1, and airs such classic sitcoms as All in the Family, The Three Stooges, Benny Hill and The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin. Just because a station already airs Antenna TV doesn't preclude it from picking up Me-TV for another digital sub-channel, says Packer.

"Stations could really own this segment in their markets," he says.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.