Heeere’s Johnny! How Antenna TV Markets Classic TV

Watching old episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson from the 1970s and ’80s is like a trip down celebrity lane, while also a bit of culture shock.

Did we really dress like that?

The hair and sideburns, did we really look like that?

And did Johnny just discreetly take a puff of a cigarette and put it in an ash tray off camera while he blew the smoke all over a guest?

All this week, Market Share is looking at how the diginets, subchannels, multicasts or dot-twos, those secondary networks, market their classic TV shows with often wildly inventive, creative and hilarious promos to create awareness and drive viewership.

Private eye capers, cop shows, sitcoms, game shows, talk shows, old films, all being enjoyed by an audience who perhaps watched them way back in the day and some creating a new audience of fans not yet born when they aired originally.

Antenna TV, owned by Tribune, is the third highest ranking in terms of TV households covered, and added Johnny Carson to its lineup in 2016. NBC owns the rights to The Tonight Show moniker, so Antenna TV’s episodes are billed simply as Johnny Carson.

“That really elevated Antenna TV’s classic television programming like nothing else before and really provided us great on-air promotional opportunities,” said Jessica Bellucci, Tribune’s communications VP.

Bellucci makes the marketing of the classic programs on Antenna TV sound easy and well, fun.

“There are no real challenges to face,” says Bellucci. “Whether it’s through the on-air promos or the feel of the network through our graphics and jingle, we just want the classic TV viewer to escape in time and feel comfortable watching their old, favorite shows.”

An escape in time with old friends. Sounds entertaining, and fun, to me.

NOTE: Johnny Carson‘s guests this week include George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Woody Harrelson.

Other than Johnny Carson, Antenna TV has an impressive roster of classic and beloved TV shows like Mork and Mindy and The Monkees, very inventive and outrageous TV for the time.

Archie Bunker rules here, as does Newhart, Bewitched and Barney Miller, a favorite of mine and a great classic comedy show with very funny characters.

Belucci’s right, these classic shows from the vaults of television history are a fun escape.

Antenna TV announced that it’s adding 9 classic TV series to its lineup beginning later this year: Welcome Back, Kotter, Alice, Benson, Soap, Growing Pains, Silver Spoons, Head of the Class, Murphy Brown and The Hogan Family.   

5 thoughts on “Heeere’s Johnny! How Antenna TV Markets Classic TV

  1. Allen

    I would like to get this channel. What do I need to get it and is it available in my area. I live in Round Rock Texas. What type of antenna?

  2. Shaun Sullivan

    The Antenna TV affliate here will not show Johnny Carson at the 9pm Central Time. They insist on putting on a terrible 9pm half hour news show and then glorified infomercial type shows. I’ve complained to them about it, but its no use. They will not budge and never answer my messages, except for one time when I got a smart alecky reply about me actually being interested in a show that’s been off the air for over 20 years.
    If there’s anything you can do to get Johnny Carson shown here at the 9pm Central time, it’d be much appreciated! Not everyone can stay awake til 1am Central time to watch the replay of it.

    -One of your top viewers of Antenna TV,
    Shaun Sullivan


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