Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Exclusive Interview with Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 20, 2010)

We have another very exciting interview for you today. Yesterday we spoke to Antenna TV's Sean Compton, today we have an interview with Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin (Executive Vice President at Weigel Broadcasting) about their national 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 Neal Sabin and Me-TV Network (as if you didn't already know).

We had the pleasure to interview Neal Sabin, Executive Vice President at Weigel Broadcasting. A Windy City original, Neal has spent nearly a quarter century programming, managing and reinventing independent television stations in Chicago. Currently, he oversees the company's three local stations (soon to be four stations,) plus contributes to the management for the television properties in Milwaukee and South Bend. He most recently launched the Me-TV Network which mirrors the highly successful classic television brand that he developed on a local level in Chicago and Milwaukee. Neal also co-created various aspects of THIStv Network, a digital multicast program service with partner MGM. Previously, he transformed WCIU, a.k.a. The U, into a personality-driven local independent powerhouse that reflects the diversity of its urban market. Neal got his start in television as Program Director of WPWR-TV. Neal is a graduate of Northwestern University's School of Speech.

Me-TV Network is from Weigel Broadcasting Co. and is a classic TV network that launched nationally on December 15, 2010. Me-TV (Memorable Entertainment Television) is a 24/7 program service for broadcasters searching for quality programming that audiences and advertisers find comfortable and engaging. Me-TV's library includes series from Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and CBS Television Distribution as well as independent series owners and producers. Some of the comedies on Me-TV include: M*A*S*H, Cheers, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy and The Bob Newhart Show. Dramas on the network include: Perry Mason, The Untouchables, The Big Valley, the original Star Trek and the original Hawaii Five-O series. In total, the Me-TV Network will premiere with approximately 50 series under long-term license agreements. This allows for the type of seasonal and thematic program stunts which have defined Me-TV in Chicago for more than seven years as the destination for true, classic television presented with respect for the programs and viewers.

Neal Sabin, Executive Vice President at Weigel Broadcasting

"Seven Questions with Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin"

SitcomsOnline: Thank you for agreeing to do an interview. We are very pleased that Me-TV is going national as the Me-TV Network. Now fans outside of Chicago and Milwaukee can see this classic TV network and what it is all about! When and why was it decided to bring Me-TV to a national level and why now?
Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin: Thanks to you for letting people know all about Me-TV. We are very passionate about classic TV at Weigel Broadcasting and have wanted to take Me-TV national for a long time. The planning has been going on for about two years, just after our launch of THIStv with MGM Studios. It has taken this long because we wanted to have what we consider to be a significant selection of the best television series ever produced. Getting the rights nailed down was not easy nor inexpensive.

SitcomsOnline: MGM will be handling the distribution for the national Me-TV Network, like they do with This TV. I know we have asked you this already and we mentioned it on a story last week that it will take time to negotiate station clearances, but I'm sure everyone still asks about when affiliates will be announced. Is there some idea on when more the first batch of Me-TV affiliates will go live, as right now only Chicago, Milwaukee and South Bend are going to air during the national launch? And what can people out there do to help if they really want the network?
Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin: We have an incredible number of inquiries for affiliation, and it's MGM's job to investigate them all. Just as it took time to collect all the great programs such as M*A*S*H, Cheers, The Honeymooners, Batman, etc. We are going to take our time in signing affiliates who understand and are passionate about carrying the Me-TV Network. You will be able to enter your zip code on our website, metvnetwork.com in the near future and find the affiliate in your area. If your readers wish to help out, they can contact the stations in their markets and request they affiliate with Me-TV Network.

SitcomsOnline: And after viewers hear about some new affiliates joining, they will want to know if cable providers will carry the Me-TV Network in their market. Is the process to secure cable companies to carry the Me-TV Network also being negotiated right now or is the main priority getting station clearances?
Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin: Part of the affiliation process is determining cable and other carriage options. We are looking for partners that can provide that kind of distribution. Again, another reason to take our time.

SitcomsOnline: In lieu of the network launch, Chicago and Milwaukee have turned their local Me-TV stations into the national network feed. Good news for those two cities is that the shows that couldn't be cleared nationally will still remain locally in Chicago on Me-Too (which has merged the local Chicago Me-TV and Me-Too into one) and you told us Milwaukee will launch a local Me-Too in early 2011. Will it be similar to Chicago's version of Me-Too with shows that can't air nationally and the type of shows that aired on the local Milwaukee Me-TV? Where can we expect the Milwaukee Me-Too station to be placed?
Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin: The Me-Too programming stream in Milwaukee will be on one of our digital full power stations and have cable carriage. It will include some of the shows we don't have national rights to that air on Me-Too Chicago and some others such as Emergency! and Matlock.

SitcomsOnline: Moving back to the national Me-TV Network, most of the series acquired are from CBS Paramount with some classics from 20th Century Fox as well. Does Me-TV have an overall library deal with CBS and/or Fox where Me-TV Network can pick and choose series? If so, can we expect more series to join the schedule at some point? Some shows that haven't been seen nationally include CBS Paramount's Webster and Dear John, so those would be nice.
Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin: We have over 50 series from those two studios as well as programs such as The Dick Van Dyke Show from independent producers. You will see The Mod Squad, The Millionaire, Bosom Buddies, The Rebel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space and others later. Batman joins in the fall. Webster was a syndication disaster and I don't think you'll see it on Me-TV Network. Dear John and many other shows from that vintage are caught up in the residual payment issue that plagues broadcast TV but not cable. Don't get me started.

SitcomsOnline: Me-TV in Chicago is known for changing its schedule every season (fall, winter, spring, summer), will this also be the case for the national Me-TV Network? Are there certain airing restrictions for any of these shows, since some long-running hits like Happy Days are only on weekends?
Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin: We will "mix it up" from time to time. We don't have restrictions, the schedule is based on our experience with what works best for our audiences as well as advertisers.

SitcomsOnline: Finally, what is your goal for the national Me-TV Network? How do you envision the network eventually being? Will it be the place to be for classic series from the 50s-70s?
Me-TV Network's Neal Sabin: Our goal is to be the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) of classic television. That's a simple way to say, quality programming presented with respect for the viewer and advertisers.

Our thanks to Neal Sabin and Me-TV Network. We wish them the best of luck and we hope affiliates will be announced soon so everyone can enjoy these shows once again. For more information on Me-TV Network, continue to stay with us for info and don't forget to view their website http://www.metvnetwork.com/. So, stay tuned right here on the blog for continued news and programming updates for this network.


It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars (but we won't cover movie stars like Tom Hanks or John Travolta, since they won't be talking about their past sitcoms likely), so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
For the week of Dec. 20-24, 2010, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

Monday, December 20, 2010
  • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) - Watch Jason on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:37am on NBC.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (3rd Rock from the Sun) - Catch Jason on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly on NBC at 1:37am.
  • Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) - Jack appears on the TODAY Show on NBC sometime between 7-9am.
  • Kelsey Grammer (Frasier/Cheers/Hank/Back to You) - Watch Kelsey on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check listings or watch on BET at 12am.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
  • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Catch Sofia on The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Mila Kunis (That '70s Show/Family Guy) - Watch a repeat of Mila on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12:06am on ABC.
  • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) - Jason makes the rounds this week, today he will be on ABC's The View at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Donal Logue (Knights of Prosperity/Grounded for Life) -Watch a repeat of Donal on Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:37am on NBC.
  • Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development/Better Off Ted) - Watch Portia on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your listings.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
  • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) - Segel promotes his movie on the Early Show on CBS between 7-9am. And also on NBC's TODAY Show, in the 10am hour.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
  • Zachary Levi (Less than Perfect) - Catch Zachary on The Tonight Show at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) - Watch Jason on an all-new Conan on TBS at 11pm. You can also see him on a repeat of LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check listings.
Friday, December 24, 2010
  • None.

Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, July 24

The Big Bang Theory - "The Discovery Dissipation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Leonard and Amy help Sheldon cope with the shame he’s feeling after his accidental contribution to science is disproved. Meanwhile, Raj must stay with Howard and Bernadette for a week.

The Millers - "Driving Miss Crazy" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Nathan gets frustrated after he’s forced to drive Carol around town for errands once again, he demands that she either learn how to drive or find another chauffeur. But when Debbie volunteers Adam to drive Carol, everyone’s surprised when they form an unexpected bond.

Welcome to Sweden - "Proving Love/Lagenhet" (NBC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bruce (Greg Poehler) and Emma (Josephine Bornebusch) move into an apartment in Stockholm and Bruce tries his best to introduce himself to the neighbors. Meanwhile, the couple is forced to prove their relationship at the immigration office, but the interviews don’t go quite as planned. Elsewhere, Emma suspects one of Bruce’s former clients, Aubrey Plaza (guest starring as herself), may be stalking him, while another, Amy Poehler (guest starring as herself), is in desperate need of his professional assistance.

Working the Engels - "Jenna's Friend" (NBC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Jimmy (Benjamin Arthur) gives their grandmother’s ring to a stripper, Jenna (Kacey Rohl) is forced to intervene to get it back – and makes an unlikely friend in the process. Meanwhile, Sandy (Azura Skye) wins free mother/daughter hip-hop classes and brings Ceil (Andrea Martin) along, but they quickly realize the class isn't meant for them. Ceil is ready to get out of there, until a former friend makes fun of Sandy, and then Ceil is determined not only that they stay, but that they win the dance competition. Rachel Wilson, Rebecca Dalton and Shawn Byfield guest star.

Married - "The Shower" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
A.J. and Jess hijack Russ and Lina's night out.

You're the Worst - "Insouciance" (FX, 10:30PM ET/PT)
Jimmy attempts to take Gretchen on a date.

Love That Girl - "The Hot Seat" (TV One, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Imunique agrees to throw a bachelorette party for DeMiracle's fiance.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 21) (All times ET unless noted)

Thursday, July 24

  • David Duchovny (Californication) - Catch David on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman) - Mary Lynn stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Mo'Nique (The Parkers) - Mo'Nique appears on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Kristin) - Tune in to see Kristin on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Judy Greer (Married/Mad Love/Miss Guided) and Nat Faxon (Married/Ben and Kate) - Judy and Nat talk about their new FX series Married on NBC's Today in the 9am hour. They will also be on HuffPost Live.
  • Adrienne Barbeau (Maude) - Adrienne discusses her role in the Hallmark Movie Channel original movie The Memory Book on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Greg Poehler (Welcome to Sweden) - Greg is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Leah Remini (The King of Queens/Family Tools) - Leah appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
  • Craig Ferguson (The Drew Carey Show) - Craig will be on Larry King Now at 2/5pm PT/ET on Ora.tv and Hulu.
  • Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling (Mystery Girls) - Jennie and Tori are guests on Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel at 7:45am. Jennie will also be on HuffPost Live.