Today, NBCUniversal announced that it will be ending its struggling network NBC Nonstop, which airs on its ten NBC owned and operated television stations' digital subchannels, and replacing it with a customizable digital subchannel made up of retro/classic television shows & movies, plus original programming, entitled Cozi TV. The change will take place at some point after the first of the year.
The programming on Cozi TV will be wide-reaching, to say the least. It will be made up of older sitcoms and dramas from the 1950s through the 1980s, classic movies, some shows remaining from the Nonstop programming, new original programming still being developed, and news repeats. Each local market, including Chicago's WMAQ-TV/NBC 5, will be allowed a certain number of hours each day to air local programming if it chooses.
Among the retro television shows set to air on Cozi TV are "Magnum P.I.," "Marcus Welby M.D.," "Charlie's Angels," "The Lone Ranger," "Highway to Heaven," "The Six Million Dollar Man," and "The Bionic Woman." Much of the classic TV & movies aired will be coming directly from the deep NBCUniversal library. Additionally, Cozi TV has agreements in place with other distributors, including Sony Pictures.
This places Cozi TV, with its 10 stations and approximately 25% national coverage, in competition with other, more established retro television networks, such as the Chicago-based MeTV, with its nearly 90% national coverage and strong brand recognition, and the Chicago-based Antenna TV, with its approximately 60% national coverage.
What sets Cozi TV apart from the others is that it will be much more than just a classic television and movie network. Unlike rumors that had been circulated for the last week, Cozi TV will not be just a clone of MeTV, Antenna TV or RTV. The new network will also mix in some original programming coming from partners -- details of which are not yet released, as the programs are still in development. There will be some of the current national Nonstop & LX TV programming remaining, including "Talk Stoop." Additionally, local stations will be able to air blocks of their own programming, similar to what has been done for the last two years with the Nonstop network.
What is not yet publicly known is exactly which of the Chicago shows that currently air on Chicago's Nonstop will continue to air when the station becomes Cozi TV. Local shows with an uncertain future on Chicago's digital subchannel 5.2 include: "The Talk," "Ward Room," "House Smarts with Lou Manfredini," "Foodies: Chicago," "24/7 Chicago," "1st Look: Chicago," "Weekends with Whitney," "JBTV," and the WLS-AM "Roe & Roeper" simulcast.
WMAQ-TV will still be able to air repeats of its local newscasts on Cozi TV, as well as continue to air Chicago Fire soccer and state high school/college sporting events, as it has in the past.
The new network's initial branding will be "Cozi TV. The easiest decision you'll make all day." Cozi TV will soon be launching its own separate website, CoziTV.com (not linked - website not yet active), with more information on all of its programming.
In today's announcement, Valari Staab, President of NBC Owned Television Stations, said: "We're excited to make a significant investment in well-known premium movie titles and TV shows -- many of which haven't been seen in years -- as well as high quality original programming to create COZI TV. This new network will provide local stations an opportunity to give their viewers rare access to some of the greatest hits of all time with minimal distraction from their main focus of delivering local news and information."
Meredith McGinn, Vice President of Multi-Station Local Programming for NBC Owned Television Stations, added: "COZI TV will break the mold in the multicast space by combining three popular programming genres - hit movies, known but not recently seen TV series and original programming - into one compelling network that will appeal to viewers who want to relax and escape. Backed by the virtually limitless vault of NBCUniversal content, we are building not just a collection of great programs, but an experience for our viewers by putting them at the center of the network both on air and online. We cannot wait for our debut in just a few short months."
McGinn is in charge of overseeing the new network. For an interview with her and a brief sneak peek at Cozi TV, watch the video near the bottom of this article.
The NBC Nonstop channel made its debut in New York in 2009 as New York Nonstop. On November 1, 2010, WMAQ-TV finally debuted Chicago Nonstop, a localized version on digital subchannel 5.2. At the start of this year, Meredith McGinn turned all of the localized Nonstop stations into the Nonstop network, mixing local and national programming.
NBC-TV was unable to find non-NBC affiliates willing to carry the Nonstop network on their digital subchannels. With Cozi TV, they are hoping to expand well beyond just the ten NBC O&Os and are actively seeking affiliates in other markets. NBC-TV is promising to give affiliates five minutes of barter time each hour to carry the network, as well as a promise to heavily & regularly promote it.
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