Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our Exclusive Interview with Antenna TV's Sean Compton; KTLA Preview of Antenna TV; 2011 SAG Nominations

We have a very exciting interview for you today. We have an interview with Antenna TV's Sean Compton (President of Programming at Tribune) about their upcoming launch. We get answers to various questions that you will all want to know about, including updates on affiliates, cable providers and of course the shows itself! As always with all of our interviews, it is in Seven Questions form. So let's first tell you a little bit each about Sean Compton and Antenna TV (as if you didn't already know).

We had the pleasure to once again interview Sean Compton, President of Programming for Tribune Broadcasting. Compton previously worked for Clear Channel radio for 16 years and was their VP Programming for 10 years before leaving in April 2008 to run Tribune programming as SVP, which includes the massive change for WGN America and now the creation of Antenna TV. Compton was promoted to President of Programming in May 2010. Compton also oversees programming for Tribune's local television stations and for WGN America. Compton is 36 years old and has worked in radio since he was in high school, and he also says his childhood hero was actually legendary NBC programmer Brandon Tartikoff. Compton is originally from Connersville, Indiana, which is between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, and he grew up watching those TV markets. See our previous interview with Sean back in 2008 regarding WGN America, when he brought back classic TV.

Antenna TV is a new digital network from Tribune Broadcasting that will debut on New Year's Day on multicast stations nationwide. 50 million homes will be reached in the first wave of clearances. Antenna TV starts broadcasting at midnight EST, on January 1, 2011 with more than 24 hours of The Three Stooges. The program lineup on Sunday, January 2, 2011 is built around a Benny Hill marathon. The network's regular programming schedule, featuring a combination of movies and classic television shows, include TV sitcoms All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Nanny, Married...with Children, Maude, Good Times, Three's Company, The Partridge Family, Dennis the Menace, Too Close for Comfort, Father Knows Best and Burns & Allen begins on Monday, January 3, 2011. Legendary announcer Gary Owens is the voice of the channel.

Sean Compton, President of Programming for Tribune

"Seven Questions with Antenna TV's Sean Compton"

SitcomsOnline: First off, I have to say I am personally very excited for Antenna TV's Jan. 1 launch. Most of the series that Antenna TV will be airing are some of my favorites, including Three's Company. I have to ask, how did this idea come about and how was it made into a reality?
Antenna TV's Sean Compton: We looked around the television landscape and through the cable and broadcast universe all groups are trying to appeal to younger demos. This includes our own group with WGN America and its younger appeal with recent additions. TV Land used to own the space but has jumped deep into original programming and with the recent successes they will go deeper in original programming. We see it as a huge opportunity, This TV, the MGM movie channel, is free to over the air viewers 24 hours a day. The only over the air, all movie channel. Antenna TV will be a great over the air destination for some movies but primarily classic sitcoms. Three's Company is a big win for us, as it hasn't had much exposure on cable in many years yet still has a huge fan base. The Three Stooges appeals to every demo. Benny Hill is a riot and Married... with Children is a great late night show.

SitcomsOnline: This world of digital television is really fascinating. It has really opened up the doors for older series to air again. Still, many people out there don't have televisions without cable or satellite. Antenna TV is a free digital station, but many of the viewers will still rely on cable to watch it. We know Comcast Cable has picked it up in Chicago on channel 353, but what about the rest of the markets? Is Comcast the main cable provider for Antenna TV or will more providers also carry it?
Antenna TV's Sean Compton: Most of the markets will have a cable home for Antenna TV. If you live in a large city you should go out and buy an HD antenna anyway. I've got DirecTV and Comcast in my home and I also have rabbit ears so I can watch the dot 2 and dot 3 choices out there as well. It's starting to get interesting as broadcasters are getting their dot 2's and 3's cranked up and its going to get competitive.

SitcomsOnline: As of launch on Jan. 1, Antenna TV will be in 50 million homes (thanks to mainly the Tribune stations) including the top 5 markets, which is great. Are you close to sealing deals with stations in other top markets like San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit and other markets like Louisville? We also hear that some markets already cleared will be getting sneak peek launches, like in Los Angeles. What will that be like?
Antenna TV's Sean Compton: The sneak peak is just some classic shows that will air on KTLA in Los Angeles to promote Antenna TV. There are a lot of OTA's (over the air) homes in Los Angeles and we want to tap into the KTLA audience and let them know it is coming. Regarding the other markets, we have signed a group deal with Local TV LLC. They own WJW in Cleveland, KDVR in Denver, WNEP in Wilkes Barre and many other markets. They are excited and sign on in early first quarter. There are other groups talking to us now and we have a number of offers for markets that we are working through now. There are a lot of affiliate interest for us out there, partially because we are committed to great programming. Zero paid programming, 24/7 movies and sitcoms. (View an Antenna TV promo!)

SitcomsOnline: The classic TV shows acquired by Antenna TV are either from Sony Pictures Television or DLT Entertainment. Does Antenna TV have an overall library deal with these studios or were these series specifically bought? If it is a library deal, can we expect schedule changes frequently with new additions? (Hoping for some Diff'rent Strokes, What's Happening Now!!, The Facts of Life, and other Sony greats.)
Antenna TV's Sean Compton: We did do an overall library deal. Jeff Wolf at Sony worked hard for several weeks putting this together with us. John Fitzgerald did the same for us at D.L. Taffner. You will see other shows weave in and out of the line-up over the next several years. Possibly we'll tap into other distributors for product as well.

SitcomsOnline: You previously mentioned to us that stunts and marathons will be done during the holidays. 2011 kicks-off with a marathon weekend of The Three Stooges and Benny Hill, but what else can we expect for other holidays later this year? I personally am hoping for a short-lived sitcom stunt one of these days, as Sony Pictures Television has plenty of short-lived, but good, series from the '70s and '80s. Among them are The Jeffersons spin-off Checking In, the Sanford & Son spin-offs Grady and Sanford Arms, the Who's the Boss? spin-off Living Dolls, and other short-lived fare such as One in a Million starring Shirley Hemphill, The Dumplings from Nicholl-Ross-West, Norman Lear's Hot L Baltimore, also Filthy Rich starring pre-Designing Women stars Dixier Carter & Delta Burke, and 704 Hauser, where a new family moves into the Bunker house from All in the Family.
Antenna TV's Sean Compton: We haven't thought it all through yet. Our big priority has been getting launched and affiliates set. As you know, I am a big fan of event programming. WGN America's Munster Mash on Halloween had monster, pun intended, ratings this past year. It is the third Halloween that we've aired it. We've done a 70's week, an 80's week, Valentine's Specials, etc. I imagine you'll see much of the same on Antenna TV especially around the holidays.

SitcomsOnline: Before we go further, I have to mention that Antenna TV will be airing two short-lived spin-offs on its schedule. The Three's Company spin-offs -- The Ropers and Three's a Crowd -- will be aired within Three's Company's hour timeslot (5pm-6pm and encores 12am-1am). That is very cool and to my knowledge, it never has been done. Back to questions, Antenna TV will also air movies, mainly during mornings and early afternoons. Will these films also be from specific studios and what are some of the films we can expect?
Antenna TV's Sean Compton: The films will come from the Columbia/Sony libraries. It's a very deep film library and prevents overlap from anything on This TV, which is fueled by the MGM library. I love Three's a Crowd and The Ropers (Three's Company spin-offs) being a part of the line-up. (Once the Ropers leave the Three's Company episodes, you'll see The Ropers scheduled in one of the half-hours, and later on Three's a Crowd in one of the half-hours after the final Three's Company episode airs.) They were solid spin-offs that at the time were short-lived and have had little exposure. Another show that I'm thrilled to have is Too Close for Comfort.

SitcomsOnline: Finally, it is really great Tribune is creating a network like this for the digital era. You have done a great job in preserving classic TV sitcoms first on Tribune's WGN America (where we previously interviewed you) and now with Tribune's Antenna TV. Will Antenna TV depend on Nielsen ratings like broadcast networks and cable networks? Or is the landscape different in digital substation world? Fans have also asked if these programs will be unedited or at least close to being unedited if there are less ads on digital substations?
Antenna TV's Sean Compton: Thank you for the kind words. We air the shows the way that the distributors supply us. We will do no editing on our end. We also will not be squeezing the end credits nor will we have an Antenna TV bug/logo on the screen during programming. Stations locally may decide to put theirs up, but nationally we will not display one. As far as ratings go, yes we will look at ratings but in the digital world it's driven a bit differently. The product we bought was done specifically to find opportunities. The Cosby Show, Cheers, Roseanne are on television in syndication and cable everyday, so we went after shows that haven't had the mass exposure in recent years. We won't live and die with this network by ratings in the first 2-3 years.

Our thanks to Sean Compton and Antenna TV. We wish them the best of luck on their launch on January 1! For more information on Antenna TV, continue to stay with us for info and don't forget to view their website http://www.antennatv.tv/. So, stay tuned right here on the blog for continued news and programming updates for this network.

Before we get to the rest of today's blog, we want to give you information on KTLA's preview of Antenna TV in Los Angeles that Sean talked about in our interview. In anticipation of this new programming, KTLA will broadcast a sneak peek of Antenna TV on its main channel, KTLA 5. Antenna TV is coming to KTLA's digital channel 5.2 in Los Angeles on January, 1 2011.
The first sneak peek will be this Saturday (Dec. 18) and will air from 2pm-5pm PT with an hour each of sitcoms Dennis the Menace, Father Knows Best and The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. A few hours later in primetime on Saturday from 8-10pm PT, KTLA will air four episodes of Sanford & Son. Then on Sunday (Dec. 19), KTLA will give two episodes each of Gidget, Circus Boy, and The Monkees all starting at 9am PT. In late on Sunday, KTLA will air two hours of The Three Stooges from 11pm-1am with six classic episodes. And finally on Sunday, Dec. 26 KTLA will give LA fans a preview of Antenna TV's Sunday morning western block with The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin at 1pm, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok at 2pm, and The Iron Horse at 3pm.
View more information on KTLA's preview of Antenna TV.


Awards season is heating up with Golden Globes and the WGA Awards, now we have another. The 17th Annual Screen Actor Guild Awards (SAG) nominees have been announced. Leading the pack were Modern Family, Glee, 30 Rock and Mad Men. Among the broadcast networks, NBC led with 6 nominations followed by ABC and Fox with 4 each. HBO led overall with 9 nominations. TV Land had its first ever nomination, with Hot in Cleveland getting a nomination along with star Betty White. The awards will air Sunday, Jan. 30, on TNT and TBS at 8 PM ET/PT.
Here are the main TV nominees:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire, HBO)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, AMC)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Showtime)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men, HBO)
Hugh Laurie (House, Fox)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Glenn Close (Damages, FX)
Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU, NBC)
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife, CBS)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, AMC)
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer, TNT)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock, NBC)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family, ABC)
Steve Carrell (The Office, NBC)
Chris Colfer (Glee, Fox)
Ed O'Neill (Modern Family, ABC)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie, Showtime)
Tina Fey (30 Rock, NBC)
Jane Lynch (Glee, Fox)
Sofia Vergara (Modern Family, ABC)
Betty White (Hot in Cleveland, TV Land)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
The Closer (TNT)
Dexter (Showtime)
The Good Wife (CBS)
Mad Men (AMC)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
30 Rock (NBC)
Glee (Fox)
Hot in Cleveland (TV Land)
Modern Family (ABC)
The Office (NBC)

View the complete TV portion nominees and to discuss the nominees!


Stay tuned either tomorrow or early next week for an interview with Me-TV Network! And of course tomorrow will bring news and our weekly look at the coming week's talk shows with sitcom stars as guests. Come on back!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, September 2

New Girl - "Cruise" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Jess and Nick invite the gang along with them on a cruise they booked while still together as a couple. Coach tries to suppress his fear of boating, Schmidt attempts to win back Cece and Winston tries to mend Jess and Nick’s fractured relationship.

The Mindy Project - "Danny and Mindy" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Mindy thinks she’s met the man of her dreams after he writes a description of their encounter in a New York newspaper, leading to a surprising reveal.

Sullivan & Son - "A Kiss Is Just Never a Kiss" (TBS, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Steve goes all out to impress an exciting new woman, with the help of Melanie. Meanwhile, Hank's doctor prescribes him testosterone, but a mishap leads to a "juiced up" Hank.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 1) (All times ET unless noted)

Tuesday, September 2

  • Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Catch Allison on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • David Koechner (The Office/Hank) - David stops by @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • George Lopez (Saint George/George Lopez) - George appears on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
  • Albert Tsai (Trophy Wife) - Albert is a guest on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
  • Seth Green (Dads/Greg the Bunny) - Seth talks about his new film The Identical on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Marlon Wayans (The Wayans Bros.) - Marlon appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Brooklyn Decker (Friends with Better Lives) - Tune in to see Brooklyn on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) - Keke is a guest on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.