Monday, June 17, 2013

Meet TVGN - The New Home of Big Brother After Dark #BB15


 CBS announced that Big Brother After Dark would be moving this year from the Showtime pay channel to TVGN, which is a free channel typically offered as part of a basic cable lineup.  (I've never had Satellite TV, so I'm not sure if the channel is carried on satellite.)
If you don't know TVGN stands for TV Guide Network. Way back in The Old Days (the '70's and '80's), TV Guide was a weekly magazine that was like a small paperback book.  Most of the book featured in-depth TV schedule listings, but people also subscribed for the celebrity news and gossip. Daily newspapers also published the day's prime time schedule, but the TV Guide included information regarding the shows scheduled and information about each TV episode.

Being on the cover of the TV Guide was kind of a big deal.  My family didn't subscribe to TV Guide, but I would pester and beg my Mom to buy a copy in the grocery check-out line if one of my teen idols was featured on the cover.  
Yadda yadda yadda years passed, and consumers found new ways to find out what was scheduled to be on TV.  Probably the biggest menace to the TV Guide magazine was TV sets themselves.  Most TVs started featuring TV listings using some smart buttons on the remote controls, even before DVRs and TIVO were invented.  The TV Guide magazine may still be in current circulation, but it certainly wouldn't be targeted for anyone under age 60.

So, of course, an entire TV channel was established that constantly featured a moving scroll of the current TV listings, with occasional breaks for commercials.   The TV shows scrolling by were color-coded to let viewers know whether each show was children's programming, movies, sports, or other general programs.  Some commercials were played in the upper part of the screen, with the scroll continuing to run under the commercial the entire time.  Other advertisers must have paid more for the spots, because they appeared full screen and we returned to the scroll, already in progress after the commercial was over.  Frequently this occurred while I was waiting to see what would be airing next on MTV, or whatever, so I had to sit and wait for that channel to scroll by again.  But I digress.....again.

Of course the world just keeps on spinning and progress keeps happening, whether the fine folks at TV guide liked it or not.  This is the logo they used to feature, back when the phrase "TV Guide" still had relevance.

The TV station went through a few changes over the years, as the company cycled through various owners, like Gemstar International, Macrovision, and Lionsgate.  As ownership changed, the channel would be added or dropped accordingly, depending on the whims and relationships of local cable operations.  For example,  when Lionsgate bought TV Guide Network and announced plans to transition to an entertainment-oriented channel, Time Warner cable dropped the channel in Texas. 

In 2012, Lionsgate bought Summit Entertainment and put the TV Guide Channel up for sale.  In March 2013, CBS announced they would enter a 50/50 joint venture with Lionsgate to operate the network, paying a cool $100,000,000 to close the deal.

And that brings us up to Big Brother 15, which will now be broadcast on TVGN beginning Wednesday March 26th for two hours each evening, down from the three nightly hours that have been standard Showtime fare since Big Brother 7, All Stars.

There is a fair amount of grumbling about this move among the Big Brother Super Fans.  I would have thought that the Super Fans would be happy that they no longer have to pay for Showtime access every summer, but it turns out that some US fans do not have access to the channel.

Do you have access to TVGN where you live?

CBS owns Showtime, too, but I'm guessing this move to TVGN is better for them in a number of ways:

*  Higher distribution as TVGN is a free channel
*  Commercial revenues (yes, BBAD will have commercials on TVGN)
*  A fresh new BBAD season to liven up the series, which is well into maturity at this point.
*  Potential to convert new BBAD viewers who may stumble on the show while looking for TV listings.

We're all curious to see how the new live feeds will function, and how this new BBAD season will shape up.  We don't have long to wait, do we?  Clear your calendar for next Wednesday night, Super Fans.

***ALSO***

Whilst searching the internet for the TV Guide cover featuring The Hardy Boys, I came across collector's listings of all sorts of scarce and apparently highly-collectible Hardy Boys merchandise.  You know, the lunchboxes, charm bracelets, and "extremely rare" Halloween costumes.

This is what I'm saying: 

All of this Justin Beiber, One Direction, and ____________ crap (just fill in the blank) will be valuable one day, decades from now.  In the case of Justin Beiber, it might be VERY valuable since he is flirting with disaster right now with the drugs and speeding around Calabasas.  (Remember Leif Garrett?)

So instead of complaining about all of the teenybopper crap in your kid's room, pack all of that stuff up very carefully when they move on to the next phase of their life.  Keep the boxes the items come in, and all original packaging.  I would tell you to put those TV Guide magazines with The Beib on the cover in a Ziploc bag for safekeeping, but I don't think such a magazine exists.

You could hit the collector's jackpot one day.

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