The network now known on-air as the "i" network has reached a pact with Warner Brothers Domestic Cable Distribution. ION Networks - the new name for the parent of "i" - has picked up the rights to a whole warehouse load of old Warner Brothers-produced and represented content. Locally, ION - formerly PAX TV - owns WVPX/23 Akron.
The list includes classic 1970's and 1980's TV shows like "Welcome Back, Kotter", "Growing Pains", "Perfect Strangers" and "Scarecrow and Mrs. King"...and movies include a host of what appears to be mostly 70's and 80's big name titles ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "All the President's Men", "2001" and the like).
The new agreement kicks off July 1st with an especially timely movie - "Superman III", which airs just days after the opening of the theatrical release "Superman Returns". The original "Superman" is also included in the package. The rest of the Warner Brothers offerings start airing on the former PAX TV in August.
OK, so the catalog is growing a bit of dust on it...but you don't have to explain any of these shows and movies to someone, say, in their early 40's. The question the "i" folks will have to answer is - will people come back and revisit the titles?
The old sitcoms, in particular, have developed into something of a niche for outlets like Chicago's WWME-LP, a low-power outlet which calls itself "ME-TV". It's the sister of Weigel Broadcasting's full-power independent in that market, WCIU/26.
We're wondering how much ION/i paid for the rights. Warner Brothers, through its sister AOL service's website, has been offering some of these shows for free Internet viewing...