Nexstar Media will launch the Rewind TV multicast network on September 1, providing nearly 50 million TV households (roughly 40% of the United States) with a menu of sitcoms from the 1980s and 1990s.
The shows in the original programming include The Drew Carey Show, Murphy brown, Growing pains, Wings, Sabrina, the teenage witch, Who is the boss and Family ties.
The new network is intended to complement Nexstar’s Antenna TV, which specializes in 1960s and 1970s tariffs, including weekday reruns of Tonight’s show with Johnny Carson.
An array of multicast networks have come on in the past 15 to 20 years as a result of the television industry’s transition to high definition signals and the corresponding increase in digital capacity. The networks, most of which are owned by local TV channel groups, can be viewed live without a pay-TV subscription, and some reach over 90% of US homes. Many networks are also widely distributed by MVPDs and digital distributors, although their operations bear only a fraction of the costs of broadcast or cable networks. Popular multicasters include the recently revived MeTV, Bounce, Laff, and Court TV.
“This year marks Antenna TV’s 10th anniversary, and it continues to grow and find new audiences,” said Sean Compton, president of Nexstar’s networks division. “To complement Antenna TV’s strong audience with baby boomers, we created Rewind TV to provide Generation X viewers with a network dedicated to their own nostalgic comedy classics.”
Nexstar, the No. 1 owner of local TV channels in the United States, acquired Tribune Media in 2019. Tribune, where Compton was previously an executive, had been active in the multicast space. The company launched Antenna and took a 50% stake in This TV, which is now run by Byron Allen Entertainment Studios.