NEWS- MyC'villeTV: Oldies station scores primo spot

Gray Television flooded the Charlottesville market with three stations in two years and prepares to offer a fourth: a new station offering programming that first aired 40 years ago.

I Love Lucy, Gomer Pyle, USMC, and Perry Mason will once again fill the airwaves December 28 when the company debuts MyC'villeTV and its "classic" television format, says general manager Roger Burchett.

The new station is affiliated with the News Corporation's latest network offering, MyNetworkTV. The sister network to Fox got off to a lackluster start when it began broadcasting its two serials September 5.

MyC'villeTV must air two hours of MyNetworkTV programming: telenovelas (the genre name combines "television" and "novel") Desire and Fashion House, the latter starring those screen sirens of the '70s and '80s, Morgan Fairchild and Bo Derek. Telenovelas are like prime-time soap operas, inspired by Spanish and Portuguese programming.

"The affiliation offers us the flexibility to do what we want," says Burchett. "The rest of the programming is ours."

Burchett foresees developing local kid- and magazine-type shows, and a lot of the weekend programming will be local– for instance, Zona Latina. 

But for now, the bulk of the programming is the tried and true. Burchett reels off Hawaii Five-0, Streets of San Francisco, Bonanza, Wild, Wild West, and Twilight Zone. "It's classic TV," he points out.

One question: why classic TV– especially when the same sort of programming is available on competing networks TVLand and Nick at Nite?

"A lot of people miss classic TV," answers Burchett. "A lot of people want to be able to sit kids in front of the TV at 8am and not worry about what they're seeing. There's no magic to it. We just listened to what people say they want."

Denny King, a Scottsville-area businessman who announced his own hopes for an all-Charlottesville TV station two years ago, predicts big success for the current torch-bearer. "The combination they'll put together," says King, "will be an absolute hit."

And this classic TV will be available low on the broadcast dial– channel 2– not requiring viewers to subscribe to cable or satellite to relive the antics of Lucy and Ethel.

"You mean it's a local TVLand?" asks UVA media studies prof Aniko Bodroghkozy, who notes that Charlottesville already has NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS and CW stations grappling for a share in its crowded, number 182nd-in-America-sized market.

"This is a small market to be supporting that many stations," she says. 

On the other hand, she observes, "Stripping old programs from the '60s and '70s is the cheapest way to fill programming. Maybe it's not that expensive for Gray with those stations all in one building. Maybe they're throwing all these ideas out and experimenting."

She calls the classic format "an interesting concept for an over-the-air station." That means the cable-less can still watch Gunsmoke– although those viewers without satellite or cable tend to be people who don't like TV or who are too poor– not desirable demographics for advertisers.

Neither are elderly viewers who want to stroll down memory lane.

Burchett concedes that the station skews older in its demographics. "Having said that, Andy Griffith gets incredible ratings in younger demographics around the country," he says.

And for those who prefer their television viewing to come from the 21st century, the current schedule for Saturday, while still subject to change, lists the Kiefer Sutherland thriller, 24.

Burchett picks his favorite in the new station's line-up: The Andy Griffith Show. "I was Opie in a previous life," he admits.

They're baaacccck: Barney and Andy can join you for dinner starting December 28.



I wish instead of throwing more analogs on the air (which will be going away in 2009) that Gray would just get off their duffs and get a DTV (or two, or three) up on the air. It would be nice if WHTJ could start doing a little HD as well, or at least PLEASE stop broadcast 16:9 on your DTV in a 4:3 letterbox. Arrgghhhh.

the mycvilletv is DTV - comcast is downconverting to air.

Gray's other three are/will be DTV within 30 days...they're in the building installing now

Um, excuse me? What's this about "elderly viewers strolling down memory lane???" not being a desirable demographic?

I realize the Hook demographic may skew a little young, but unless y'all have had your heads in the sand, we "elderly" baby boomers are big business, and there are various efforts all over the place to land our dollars and demographic. Consider Dennis Hopper on commercials for financial planning. (So much for easy riding.) There are lots of us, we've been earning money for a long time, and some of us even have attention spans longer than an MTV video, and we have the upper tiers of cable, too. Roger Burchett is making many smart moves with the newsplex stations, and this is just one of them. While Channel 29 is busy living in the past and hanging about in bed with Media General in the Valley, the Newsplex is building local stations for local people. The one thing I'd like to see on those stations are anchors and reporters who are more than three or four years out of college.
I, for one "elderly" 50-something baby boomer, am looking forward to seeing what else he does with those stations. We ex-hippies like inovation.

How do we find the schedule online? It is not available on cable, though it should be.