Nostalgia Television will take the highly unusual step of turning over 10 to 15 hours of its prime time schedule to a fledgling cable network as a first step toward a possible spinoff as a stand-alone service.
Starting in March, the cable network will for the first time carry a block of original programming produced by Americana Television Network, a start-up dedicated to alternative music, such as blues, jazz, gospel and mountain music.
In June 1993, Americana’s contribution to Nostalgia’s programming lineup will increase to 30 hours a week.
For Americana–which had not yet signed up any cable operators to carry its new service–the deal allows it to enter business with Nostalgia’s 14 million cable subscribers behind it.
The deal also benefits Nostalgia. The web is receiving a significant chunk of original programming free of charge. Americana will sell the advertising time around its block, which it will split with Nostalgia. In addition, Nostalgia will act as Americana’s marketing agent, receiving fees for affiliate sales services, on-air promotion and trade show marketing.
Nostalgia chief exec Michael Marcovsky said his company aspires to launch additional cable networks, particularly more-targeted versions of the programming concept it established with Nostalgia. Americana Television would be a fitting Nostalgia spinoff, said Marcovsky, because, “it’s demographically correct and format-compatible.”
Americana Television, formed in 1992, is headed byStan Hitchcock, the pioneering head of Country Music Television. It is based in Branson, Mo., a Ozark mountain hamlet that has become a folk and country music mecca, attracting 5 million visitors annually. Americana plans to develop tie-ins for the channel with the many concert halls in the area.