Weigel expands memorable entertainment menu with ‘MeTV Plus’

MeTV Plus

Weigel Broadcasting is about to launch a new 24/7 digital network to extend the brand and expand the audience of MeTV, its “Memorable Entertainment Television” franchise of classic programming.

Starting May 15 “MeTV Plus” will join the array of diginets programmed by the Chicago-based station owner. Locally it will air on WCIU 26.5 — replacing Bounce TV, which is moving to a digital tier Ion WCPX-Channel 38.

Among area cable systems, MeTV Plus will be carried on Comcast Xfinity 361/1168, RCN 30, WOW 196, Medicom 112 and Spectrum 188.

At the outset the network also will air on a digital subchannel of KMOH, the Weigel station serving Phoenix, Arizona. Weigel-owned stations in other markets are expected to follow.

Neal Sabin

Programming will be similar to the lineup of sitcoms and dramas on MeTV, according to Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting and the creative force behind the networks. He described the spinoff as an experiment.

“With our company rapidly approaching broadcast coverage of a third of the country, it may make sense for us to launch networks primarily for our own station group as well as for the marketplace,” Sabin told me. “MeTV Plus may be the first of other new services we develop.”

Weekday programming will consist mainly of sitcoms and cop shows, with evenings featuring “Vega$,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Mission: Impossible.” Late nights will include a rebroadcast of MeTV’s “Toon In with Me” (the morning cartoon show hosted by Bill Leff) at 11 p.m. followed by “Comedy Classics” (The Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy and The Little Rascals) at midnight.

MeTV was rolled out as a national network in 2010 and now boasts more than 175 affiliates covering more than 96 percent of the country. It routinely ranks among the top five cable networks nationwide.

In 2015 Weigel extended the MeTV brand to radio with the launch of soft-rock oldies MeTV FM on a low-power analog station at 87.7 FM.

By premiering MeTV Plus on May 15, Weigel will get nearly a four-month jump on Nexstar Media Group, which announced plans last week to start Rewind TV, a diginet to complement its Antenna TV network. Both also feature reruns of sitcoms and dramas from decades past.

Friday’s comment of the day: Mick Kahler: NewsNation hiring Leo Burnett to do a multimillion-dollar promotion campaign for them? Talk about throwing good money after bad.