Rewind TV Sets Launch Date, Will Court Gen X Viewers With ‘Growing Pains’, ‘Family Ties’ & Other 1980s-90s Sitcoms

Nexstar Media will launch multicast network Rewind TV on September 1, offering nearly 50 million TV households (roughly 40% of the U.S.) a menu of 1980s and 1990s sitcoms.

Shows in the initial lineup include The Drew Carey Show, Murphy Brown, Growing Pains, Wings, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, Who’s the Boss and Family Ties.

The new network is meant to complement Nexstar’s Antenna TV, which specializes in 1960s and ’70s fare, including weeknight reruns of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

An array of multicast networks have lit up over the past 15 to 20 years in the wake of the TV industry’s transition to high-definition signals and the corresponding increase in digital capacity. The networks, most of which are owned by local TV station groups, can be viewed over the air without a pay-TV subscription and some reach more than 90% of U.S. households. Many of the networks also have broad carriage by MVPDs and digital distributors, though their operations carry just a fraction of the costs of broadcast or cable networks. Popular multicasters include MeTV, Bounce, Laff and the recently reactivated Court TV.

“This year marks Antenna TV’s 10-year anniversary, and it continues growing and finding new audiences,” said Sean Compton, president of Nexstar’s networks division. “To complement Antenna TV’s strong following with Baby Boomers, we created Rewind TV to give Gen X viewers a network dedicated to their own nostalgic comedy classics.”

Nexstar, the No. 1 owner of local TV stations in the U.S., 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’s Entertainment Studios.

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