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!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November/December)

2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series Hot in Cleveland - Season Five Sgt. Bilko - The Phil Silvers Show - The Complete Series
Family Ties - The Complete Series Happy Days - The Sixth Season The Jeffersons - The Complete Series Mister Ed - The Complete Series Mork & Mindy - The Complete Series

10/07 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - Classic Christmas Episodes
10/07 - The Flying Nun - The Complete First and Second Seasons (Mill Creek)
10/07 - The Middle - The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive)
10/07 - The Office - The Complete Series
10/07 - The Wonders Years - Season One
10/10 - The Wonder Years - The Complete Series - TARGET="_blank">Read Our Review / The Signature Edition / Seasons 1-3
10/14 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Third Season
10/14 - Two and a Half Men - The Complete Eleventh Season
10/21 - Married with Children - Seasons 5 and 6 (Mill Crek)
10/21 - The Soul Man - The Complete Second Season
10/21 - Square Pegs - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/28 - WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete Series
11/04 - Hot in Cleveland - Season Five
11/04 - Napoleon Dynamite - The Complete Animated Series
11/04 - Sgt. Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show) - The Complete Series
11/11 - Dads - The Complete Series
11/11 - Family Ties - The Complete Series
11/11 - My Favorite Martian - Best of Collection
11/11 - Taxi - The Complete Series
11/11 - Wings - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/18 - King of the Hill - The Complete Seventh Season / The Complete Eighth Season
11/25 - Better Off Ted - The Complete Second Season
12/02 - Happy Days - The Sixth Season
12/09 - Barney Miller - The Complete Sixth Season
12/09 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mister Ed - The Complete Series
12/09 - Mork & Mindy - The Fourth Season / The Complete Series
12/16 - The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - The Final (Fourth) Season
12/23 - My Favorite Martian - Season Two - Collector's Edition
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, October 24

Last Man Standing - "School Merger" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Mike and Chuck debate the merits of a local ballot measure merging their upscale neighborhood high school with one in the inner city. For Halloween, Ryan dresses up Boyd as a lump of coal – another reminder to Vanessa how her job as a geologist may be hurting the environment.

Cristela - "Mr. Felix and Ms. Daniela" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After Daniela’s friend mistakes Cristela for the nanny, tensions flare between the two sisters and surprisingly it is Felix who brings them back together. Meanwhile, Alberto tries to get closer to Cristela in an unexpected way.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 20) (All times ET unless noted)

Friday, October 24

  • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Watch Jerry on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Sarah Silverman (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Sarah appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - John is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) - Melissa appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil discusses his new autobiography on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Sean Hayes (The Millers/Sean Saves the World/Will & Grace) - Sean visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Amy Yasbeck (Wings) - Amy talks about the legacy of her late husband, John Ritter, and the foundation created in his honor on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step) - Suzanne chats on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • Analeigh Tipton (Manattan Love Story) - Analeigh is a guest on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John talks A Delicate Balance on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation) - Jenny chats about her book (Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been) on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Laurence Fisburne (black-ish) - Laurence appears on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.