TV Land goes off clock

Cabler forecasts bleak b'cast primetime lineups

NEW YORK — The program schedulers at TV Land are convinced that the new primetime lineups on the broadcast networks are going to be such a turnoff that after 10 minutes of sampling a given show, viewers will be desperate for an alternative.

So, bursting with mischief, TV Land will go “off the clock” during the week of Sept. 21-25, when most primetime series will make their new-season debuts. For example, instead of starting “My Three Sons” at 8 p.m., the show will go at 8:10; “Family Affair” will run at 8:40, not 8:30.

That 10- and 40-minutes-after-the-hour schedule continues for the rest of the primetime schedule on TV Land for that week with “Sanford & Son,” “The Flip Wilson Show,” “Hogan’s Heroes” and “Green Acres.”

“We don’t regard this strategy as a gimmick,” says Larry Jones, G.M. of TV Land, which began its cable life in April 1996. “We know that our viewers love TV and are aware of the new shows on the broadcast networks.”

“But,” he continues, “we also have a proven list of high-caliber hit comedies” that TV Land’s 30 million cable subscribers could see in full if they get bored with the opening scenes of the series on broadcast TV.

Jones says that if the experiment funnels more viewers to the network, TV Land may continue with the strategy.

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