• TV Land “Rebrands” to Raunchy

    by  • July 22, 2015 • Cable Choice • 28 Comments

    TVLandFor most of its existence, TV Land was devoted to classic, family-friendly reruns; but recently, the network “rebranded” itself as a home of original, more “edgy,” scripted programming…thus perpetrating a gigantic fraud on every cable and satellite subscriber in America.

    First, there was Nick at Nite. The nighttime programming block of the children’s network Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite was devoted to showing classic, family-friendly TV series like The Dick Van Dyke Show, Father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver, and others. In his 2004 book, What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, media scholar David Hofstede states, “The original appeal of Nick at Nite was in how it thumbed its nose at change and proudly lived in the past…[but] after building a successful brand name as the home of classic TV, Nick at Nite kicked Donna Reed to the curb.”

    Hofstede goes on to praise Nick at Nite’s successor channel, TV Land, as a “24-hour channel devoted to the great shows of the past.” Unfortunately, now TV Land has also betrayed its original mission. Last month, TV Land announced “a complete overhaul of the network’s brand identity to complement a slate of new, original programming.”

    TV Land’s new direction is far out of step with the family-friendly programming of the past. Said Kim Rosenblum, TV Land’s Executive Vice President of Marketing:

    “The majority of our audience in prime time and weekends are now Gen Xers — vibrant, working adults who grew up on MTV and edgier shows. They demand and deserve a brand that is more connected to where they are today. They are layered and complicated, and their idea of escape is to lean in and go deep. We are a new TV Land for this new audience.”

    TV Land’s management is clear about its desire to distance the network from its previous image as a home for family-friendly classics. TV Land’s Executive Vice President of Development and Original Programming, Keith Cox, states that management is “committed to bringing in content …separating us from the TV Land of the past.”

    So what will TV Land’s new, allegedly “layered,” “complicated,” and “deep,” shows be like? One example is Younger, a “comedy” from Sex and the City and Good Christian Bitches creator Darren Star. The program – about a forty-something woman posing as a 26-year-old in order to land a job (and bed younger men) —  has contained such hilarious scenes as a woman removing her panties in a café, while her friend takes pictures of her naked crotch under the table to post online; a woman selling her dirty underwear online to sex fetishists; the main character helping her friend remove a feminine product that has become “stuck” inside her; and much more in this vein.

    Another new “comedy” is Impastor. In this program, a con man named Buddy falsely assumes the identity of the new pastor of a liberal church. As The New York Times notes, “A wrinkle here is that Buddy quickly realizes that the man whose identity he has taken was gay, and that the new parishioners know this. That leaves Buddy, a lusty heterosexual, not only pretending to know the Bible, but also fending off advances from the congregation’s gay members.” Unsurprisingly, the program also contains other caricatures of Christians, such as an “officious church president” and a “bimbo-ish church treasurer.”

    Similarly, The Jim Gaffigan Show also deals in adult content. While Gaffigan personally has developed a large following for his clean stand-up comedy, which largely centers on food, family, and fatherhood instead of foul language, his new show definitely contains some less family-friendly fare, such as episodes about Jim considering a vasectomy, one of his children drawing a picture of his penis in school, and Jim trashing his wife’s “Shiite Catholicism.”

    ***************

    The move of TV Land away from its “classic TV” mission is unfortunate enough — though viewers can still find family-friendly classics on broadcast digital “sub-channels” like MeTV, RTV, and Antenna TV, as well as dedicated family cable channels like INSP. But far worse is the way in which many cable and satellite networks have pursued the same strategy over the years…all the while forcing viewers to pay for networks they didn’t ask for and don’t want.

    “Rebranding” has become a time-honored, if utterly dishonest and fraudulent, practice in the pay-TV world. Most pay networks start out with a clear “mission statement,” and a base of viewers interested in that mission. Like history? Watch The History Channel. Science-fiction? The Syfy Channel. But all too often, the huge mega-conglomerates that own 90% of the networks on satellite and cable think they’ll attract more viewers, or get more ad revenue, by watering down these networks’ content – or even eliminating the networks themselves, and putting something else, something nobody wanted, in their place…all while still forcing subscribers to pay for it.

    As we’ve noted before, examples of this mania for “rebranding” are legion. In 2000, the country music-centered Nashville Network was transformed into the sex-and-fart-joke frat-boy Spike TV. In 2008 Court TV, which was intended to give viewers a look inside the judicial process, was renamed “TruTV,” and now shows such educational programs as Barmageddon, Las Vegas Jailhouse, and the aptly-named World’s Dumbest. In 2010, the Discovery Kids channel, which was dedicated to providing educational and documentary programming for children, was sold to the toy company Hasbro, which renamed the channel “the Hub,” and filled it with “entertainment” programs which were essentially glorified commercials for the toys Hasbro makes. (Hasbro discovered the hard way that making toys requires a different skill set than running a TV network, with the result that the network is once again run by Discovery, now under the name Discovery Family.)

    And there are plenty of other examples of such “rebranding”: the SPEED network, formerly devoted to NASCAR racing, has become a generic sports channel, FS1; Fox Soccer became FXX, a spin-off from the FX network devoted to sleazy, gross-out comedies; Discovery Health became the Oprah Winfrey Network; the video-game and technology-centered G4 became the Esquire Network, dedicated to reaching “today’s educated, upscale man” (apparently, the network’s owner Comcast believes video-game and tech fans are neither “upscale” nor “educated”); the former Biography Channel is now FYI, which pumps out garbage like The Seven-Year Switch; and even the TV Guide Channel has “rebranded,” and is now the POP TV, with crass original programming like Schitt’s Creek sandwiched between reruns of The Love Boat and Melrose Place (with time out for other “original programming” like Jane Seymour’s Secret to Youthful-Looking Skin).

    Aren’t you glad you’re paying for all this?

    And you are. Every network on basic cable gets a slice of your monthly subscription bill. True, it may only be 12¢ a month per channel. Over the course of a year, that’s $1.50, still not a lot; but multiply that amount by the 100 million+ cable and satellite subscribers in America. The entertainment industry is making over $150 million a year – PER CHANNEL! – on channels nobody asked for and nobody wants.

    “Rebranding” is the ultimate scam, forced on pay-TV subscribers through the extortion of the entertainment industry’s cable and satellite “bundling” scheme. As a result, customers are forced to endure, time after time, the bait-and-switch of conglomerate-owned basic cable networks… all while the customer is forced to pay every month while the networks go through increasingly nonsensical metamorphoses.
    To learn more about PTC’s Cable Choice campaign, click here.

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    About

    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    28 Responses to TV Land “Rebrands” to Raunchy

    1. moax429
      July 22, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Thank the Lord I have long since “cut the cord” and now have the three family sub-channels mentioned above in my area (MeTV, Antenna TV, and Retro TV), as well as a regional Christian TV network, TCT (Tri-State Christian Television), which airs many family shows on its “TCT Family” subchannel (a good portion of which are old sitcoms and feature films now in the public domain, but I’ll take those *every* time) and inspirational programming on all three of its subchannels.

      And I’m *certainly* glad I’m *not* paying for all that basic cable nonsense described above anymore!

      • Melissa powell
        November 17, 2017 at 11:21 am

        If you have direct tv they do not carry me-tv, rtv or antenna tv

    2. Regulus
      July 23, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      I’ve done without cable for 8 1/2 years, and I don’t miss it at all. Since “cutting the cord” I’ve massed a library of programming on home video that’s so huge it will probably outlive me! I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, if you want to protect your children or grandchildren from the filth that spews out of pay-TV, and you are forced to subsidize these programs, do what I’ve done. CUT THE CORD! Home Video is cheaper than a pay-TV subscription, and you have total control over what you and your kids or grandkids watch. Introduce them to the classics, and they’ll love it!

      • Al
        August 11, 2015 at 7:46 am

        The only problem with your logic is that there is a concerted effort to move away from “home video”. Fewer retail outlets are available now where you can buy classic shows on DVD, and while we are still seeing TV series released on DVD, you also periodically hear rumors that such-and-such a studio is about to end DVD releases in favor of making people stream the shows via Netflix. A lot of people who claim to have “cut the cord” have simply replaced the cord of cable TV with the cord of Netflix and other services where there is no control over content; if someone wants to watch Sense8 at 3 in the afternoon while the kiddies play in front of the TV, there’s nothing stopping them. At least when it comes to cable and network there is (in theory at least) rules as to when they can air certain things. If you tune into any station after the watershed you can expect to see programming geared to adults. No responsible parent should allow a young child to watch Hannibal, for example, and the scheduling, in theory, is supposed to help. Showtime never airs its softcore edits of hardcore films (I’m not using hyperbole – I’ve recognized a few) in prime time. But with streaming there is no timing involved. It’s going to be fun once the sex scenes move into true hardcore, which is coming (I think, in this era of one-upmanship between cable/streaming shows, where explicitness is ever-increasing, that some show will cross the line, win a bunch of Emmys for being brave, and it’ll be a free-for all. I say that unless SAG or some industry body actually draws a line in the sand it’ll happen before this decade it out.). We’ve already seen a film with hardcore sex get honored at Cannes this year, and also this year Orange is the New Black, Girls and Sense8 (to name just a few) have had sexual content that 10 years ago would only have been seen in true porn films. (Game of Thrones is Barney the Dinosaur by comparison and always has been.)

        Getting back to the topic of the article, while I disagree with PTC on many things (despite what I just wrote I do feel they’re pushing too much towards Barney-fying TV), I will agree with them that such radical rebranding of a network is not good. But in the US there’s this little thing called the First Amendment, plus general freedom of business practices. You can complain all you want, but it’s up to the business to decide whether to change itself. Spike thrived after changing from TNN, for example. In a year most consumers will forget TV Land ever showed other stuff.

        The key, I think, is for more American cable companies to do what is being mandated in Canada where cable companies up here are going to be required soon to move to a la carte packages, meaning you do in fact only pay for the channels you want. The concern is some networks may die because not enough people want to buy them. But it’s what the market will bear and if no one wants your network than maybe your programming doesn’t appeal to enough people (take note that religious and children’s networks are just as much in danger of this, as are news channels, so don’t jump for joy that this might mean only adult-oriented channels will vanish.). So under a la carte TV Land would have a clear indication of whether they’d made a good business decision and those who disapprove get to vote with their wallets and also no longer have to pay for something they don’t want – but they don’t have to sacrifice channels they do want to see. Personally, if I was paying a la carte I would drop TV Land once it eliminated its classic programming, just as I would have dropped TLC when it no longer was The Learning Channel anymore.

    3. Pernell
      July 24, 2015 at 8:46 am

      I used to enjoy TV Land after their launch in 1996, but not anymore. TV Land is now TV Bland. I stopped watching that channel and also Nick at Nite. Glad that I tuned into MeTV, Antenna TV, etc. for Good TV Guaranteed.

    4. Pat
      July 24, 2015 at 9:23 am

      I’m not paying for any of it! I got rid of my TV. I can watch videos and get the News on my computer. Plus I, now, do a lot less sitting and a lot more interacting!

    5. Dan Uff
      July 24, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Well, you can thank the leader of the rebranding movement – MTV. Now instead of the channel being “Music Television” it is now known as “Moron Television”.

      I rest my case.

    6. Glenda
      July 24, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Your idea of rebranding is sickening, distasteful and needs to be trashed – - -because that’s what it is “trash”. Grow up and set high standards for our children and teens.

    7. Jack Schall
      July 24, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      The Hub? Are you seriously joking me? Have you even watched My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? That show has proved to be more than a 30-minute toy commercial, because it features likable characters, well-written stories and plots, and great writing.

      They have also aired plenty of other quality programming like The Wonder Years.

    8. lisa195719082@yahoo.com
      July 24, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      TV Land has gone down the tubes in the last several . It used to feature the classic shows such as Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, Family Affair, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and so forth. Plus I liked the little Twip and the retromercials as well. But nowadays, it airs too many of the recent shows and reality shows.

    9. Charlie
      July 24, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      It’s sad that TV stations find they need to go to bathroom humor and raunch instead of finding truly creative and interesting story lines and content. I will not be tuning in.

    10. Lova cook
      July 24, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      I used to like tv land for its old show but now I will not watch it at all for the filth on it

      • Pernell
        August 3, 2015 at 10:28 am

        I don’t blame you, Lova. I, too not watch TV Land anymore.

    11. Concerned
      July 29, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      Impastor aired tonight and I am APPALLED…it opens on the pastor having sex with a hooker! He then drops a “GD” bomb when another female walks in on him.

    12. Carole
      August 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      As I tried to prepare the PTC for the blasphemous show, “The Impastor”, I later noticed it wasn’t only on TV Land, but NICK as well!!! I really used to enjoy watching TV Land, but now I cannot because most all the commercials are based on advertising for “The Impastor”..this just sickens me!!! I cringe at what our Lord thinks about such garbage..Everyone please pray that this show will end up in the trash where it belongs.

      • drew
        April 29, 2016 at 7:29 pm

        Welcome to liberal America. I’m really sick of all the indoctrination and propaganda that gets pumped into our homes through our TV’s. They want to desensitize us to all their ideologies and if we disagree we are labeled “haters”. It’s hard to find a show that doesn’t have a story line which includes some liberal idea. Vote Republican; they may not be perfect, but are definitely the lesser of two evils. Maybe we fix some of the damage done in the past 7 1/2 years.

    13. Ivey
      January 21, 2016 at 12:38 am

      I loved TV Land for all its classic shows. It brought back good memories & I didn’t have to watch out for filthy language or extreme sexual scenes. I even enjoyed some of their original programming such as Hot in Cleveland & The Exes. Then I started noticing ads for their new shows & I was disgusted & disappointed. There are plenty of those types of shows available elsewhere. What the executives don’t seem to understand is that there is a huge market for subscribers like my generation, and generations before mine, that enjoy the type of programming that TV Land first offered. I was part of the MTV generation when it was all about the music. I quit watching when the music was dropped. I now turn to Vevo for videos. CourtTv was a favorite until it became the World’s Dumbest channel. Now I’m an ID addict. A&E had one of the best dramas ever with Longmire. A show that brought in huge ratings consistently & they canceled it because it was being watched by a different demographic than what they were aiming for. Lots of subscribers, including me, quit watching anything on A&E because of that. Just like those of us that will no longer watch TV Land. We have 250+ channels & we probably watch around 20. It’s absolutely ridiculous. So I am watching more Netflix, buying older series on DVD & downloading shows from iTunes. If this trend of “rebranding” continues we will definitely be getting rid of traditional TV programming & look for other media forms for entertainment & education.

    14. Angie
      January 26, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      TV Land…air all the filthy TV shows that you want. That is why the television has the channel button. My issue is they
      constantly air commercials for these filthy shows (which are as bad as the shows themselves), so when I am watching
      Any Griffith or Everybody Loves Raymond, I have to endure the ads for these shows. I definitely don’t watch TV Land when my grandchildren are over. Let’s keep the raunch confined to the shows and leave it out of the commercials…OK?

    15. Peter
      March 1, 2016 at 4:28 am

      TV Land was already notorious for cramming in more ads than nearly every other cable network, and for shortening the running time of classic shows in order to do so. I cut the cord a year ago and haven’t regretted my decision for a second. While I started out with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon I’ve now discovered free and legal ways to stream all the content I want in HD. Comcast delivered TV Land in SD, so that was one more reason not to miss it.

      Netflix and Hulu offer a healthy dose of classic shows; still other shows are in the public domain. There’s so much trash on cable TV these days, there are so many commercials, and there are so many good, cheap streaming options, that I don’t understand why anyone with broadband would pay for the right to be abused by big media. I know people with $200-$300 a month cable bills. That’s insane.

    16. Monica
      March 16, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      I too am disgusted that tvl has shifted to showing filth. Their commercials are so raunchy I just can’t believe they show that on air. Just watching commercials makes me feel dirty. Why can’t any broadcasting company recognize need for clean programming? I am looking for options.

    17. Classic TV Fan
      March 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm

      What is the rating of PTC on shows like Three’s Company, anyone know?

    18. Linda
      May 29, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Why are we watching the same King of Queens show as the night before? It happens all,the time and that is a quick channel click.!!

    19. Disappointed
      September 7, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      Your rebranding sucks, can’t stand your new shows, hope your ratings tank.

    20. Ron
      November 16, 2016 at 2:08 am

      I cut the cord in 2011 and I’m so glad I did for the very reasons others have noted I just got tired of paying for SMUT I now get 20 channels over the air all perfect digital pictures high definition pictures I have plenty to watch thank God for free TV

    21. Malinda Raines
      January 24, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      I love Andy Griffith show but hate the advertisements on the raunchy stupid shows that come on later in the night.
      It’s sad to see a story about teachers like that to think it could be intertaining ! Nothing but trash.

    22. La Sonya Suttle
      February 4, 2017 at 9:12 am

      TV Land is the most retarded station cable has ever created! Back in the day, they have shown all of favorite shows such as: The Cosby Show, Three’s Company, etcetera! Now they have shown something retarded such as: Teachers, Younger, etcetera! TV Land needs to be disconnected! Knowing how TV Land calls themselves making America great! TV Land making America grieve!

    23. Ben Kleschinsky
      April 19, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, I remember fifteen years ago the days of watching Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, Munsters, and Gilligan’s Island reruns on this network and they are all gone now. Sad development, and Antenna TV isn’t available everywhere and has a much smaller selection.

    24. Leslie Henderson
      September 17, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Less and less decent programming,
      More and more and more SMUT.

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