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That station — which its original parent originally filed to transmit UHF channel 46, before modifying it to assign channel 17 as its frequency in February — was founded by Rice Broadcasting Inc.
Rice, Jr. But, because of programming commitments that the affiliates had to their networks, those stations only kept the shows for a few years at a time and rarely renewed their contractual rights to continue airing them, after which WTCG bought the syndicated programs second-hand at much lower rates.
Still, many places were far enough out of the reach of an independent station's signal that this was not an option. There were cable systems that carried three stations affiliated with each of the major commercial networks and three stations that were PBS member outlets one station from within the home market and two stations from neighboring markets of each network.
By June , WTCG was carried by 95 cable systems in six Southeastern states, reaching an estimated , households. In order to get around FCC rules in effect at the time that prohibited a common carrier from having involvement in program origination, Turner decided to sell SSS to former Western Union vice president of marketing Edward L.
Copyright Office the ability to charge cable systems royalty fees to be compensated to the owners of a copyrighted program. At that moment, approximately 24, additional households began receiving the WTCG signal. Ted Turner's innovation set a precedent for today's basic cable television and signaled the start of the revolution of basic cable programming in the United States.
Soon after, an increasing number of cable television providers throughout the United States sought to carry WTCG on their systems.
This resulted in the station paying for syndicated programming at albeit reasonably cheaper rates comparable to other national networks, rather than merely receiving royalty payments from cable systems for programs to which it held the copyright as "passive" superstations—like WGN and WWOR, which opted to take a neutral position on their national distribution and left national promotional duties to the satellite carriers that retransmitted their signals—did.
Unlike WTCG, most other superstations had their signals redistributed without their owner's express permission under a provision in Section of the Copyright Act of , which allowed local cable systems to "retransmit copyrighted programming from any over-the-air stations across the country to their subscribers under a compulsory license ".
WTCG initially was identified as "Channel 17" or "Super 17" both locally in Atlanta and on cable providers outside of that area; by , the station identified primarily by its call letters locally and nationally. On August 27, , the Atlanta parent station changed its call letters to WTBS for "Turner Broadcasting System", the name its parent company adopted in accordance with the callsign change.
Accordingly, many cable providers throughout the country even carried it on channel 17 during some part of its existence as a superstation. However, the national feed continued to occasionally use the same on-air branding as the Atlanta area signal which was referred to on-air at the time as "WTBS Channel 17" until October By , the Atlanta station would be branded as "SuperStation 17"; on the national feed available outside of the Atlanta area, though, references to the station's over-the-air channel number were completely removed outside of minor technical issues where local ads and promos aired erroneously on the national feed.
Other older shows would eventually be removed from the schedule.
WTCG also mixed more movie releases from the s through the s into its schedule. Although, separate national advertising or per inquiry ads replaced the local commercials intended for broadcast in the Atlanta area — which became exclusively carried by channel 17 locally — on the superstation feed.
Former TBS logo, used from September 7, to September 5, ; the logo was accompanied by the "SuperStation" subtitle until that moniker was initially dropped from the channel on September 10, The s also saw WTBS begin to venture into original programming; in , the station premiered Tush , a late night sketch comedy and variety series hosted and developed by comedian Bill Tush who had hosted newsbriefs and, occasionally, movie presentations for WTBS, in addition to serving as a staff announcer , with Jan Hooks who would later gain fame during her stint as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.
Other programming efforts included The Catlins a Dynasty -style prime time soap opera which ran for two seasons from to , and sitcoms Down to Earth , Rocky Road and Safe at Home all three of which formed a block of first-run comedy series aimed at a family audience.
TBS's addition of The New Leave It To Beaver to its lineup also coincided with the original Leave it to Beaver airing in reruns on the channel, as Ted Turner felt that the former would make a good programming fit with the latter. On May 18, , the FCC reinstated syndication exclusivity restrictions through the passage of a new version of the Syndication Exclusivity Rights Rule.
This version granted cable systems and satellite carrier firms the ability to secure an agreement to air a claimed syndicated program with the claimant local rightsholder or a syndication distributor, effectively allowing for superstations to acquire national cable rights for syndicated programs either directly or through their satellite carrier.
Debuting concurrently with the name change was a promotional campaign utilizing the slogan "TBYes!
Title sequences for movies and special presentations — which were accompanied by music incorporating variants of the "TBYes" promotional theme's signature — showed people in a main street setting flocking to a TBS-branded theater, which transitions to a panning shot stopping at a couch in the front row of the theater's seating area where either a family or a couple depending on the daypart presentation, as identified at the end of the sequence sit down in time for the start of the film.
On September 10, , the word "Superstation" was removed from the cable channel's on-air branding and promotions, rebranding it as simply "TBS", which had been used verbally in on-air promotions since the beginning of that year.
By , TBS was available in 58 million households with cable and satellite television service, accounting for more than half of all homes in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U. Virgin Islands — and carried by 14, cable systems throughout the country. Eastern Time with exceptions made for scheduled sporting events, specials, original programs and, in the case of Sunday nights, off-network syndicated series and paid programming.
At other times, mainly during the daytime hours each weekday and on weekend mornings, WTBS continued to run mostly classic sitcoms and vintage cartoons.
In the late s, WTBS decreased the number of movies broadcast during the day slightly and began to add sitcoms from the s such as Happy Days , The Jeffersons , Good Times and One Day at a Time to the evening lineup; Little House on the Prairie aired during the late mornings continuously from to Other programming[ edit ] Music videos also aired during its late night lineup on weekends from to as part of the program Night Tracks , which aired in the form of two three-hour-long blocks later reduced to two two-hour blocks in August , and then to two minute blocks in the spring of , barring pre-emptions from sporting events that ran over their scheduled end-time.
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|Streaming the MLB Postseason TV Schedule||The acquisition of television rights to the Braves was particularly striking given that WTCG had experienced major profit losses ever since Turner took over the station; channel 17's revenue was only then starting to break even and the station became more competitive among the Atlanta market's television outlets ratings-wise. Braves games began airing on WTCG during the season.|
The success of Night Tracks served as the basis for Turner to develop Cable Music Channel , a short-lived attempt at a competitor to MTV that operated for five weeks from October 26 to November 30, Beginning in , a handful of shows mostly movies that were shown nationally were pre-empted in the Atlanta market in order to broadcast FCC-mandated news, public affairs , and children's programming; this continued until the split of the TBS national feed from the Atlanta station in October In addition to offering conventional television programming over the main video-audio feed viewable to all multichannel television subscribers receiving the channel, Southern Satellite Systems transmitted two teletext services over the WTBS superstation feed's vertical blanking interval VBI that required a special decoder to receive the provided information services over the feed.
Time Warner purchase; shift towards comedy[ edit ] Former logo as TBS Superstation, used from September 12, until December 31, ; until December 17, , when the "Superstation" moniker was reincorporated into TBS's branding, this logo was used in tandem with the logo which continued to be used in title sequences for films, specials and newsbriefs on which its design is loosely based.
Former logo as TBS Superstation, used from January 1, to February 1, ; a variant without the "Superstation" moniker was used thereafter until June 4, On December 17, , when TBS celebrated its 20th anniversary as a national service, the channel reincorporated the "Superstation" moniker into its name, rebranding as "TBS Superstation" this time with the second "s" rendered in lower case.
Time Warner held out on an option to acquire SSS through a common stock buyout and instead chose a cash payment citing the "strong overall financial performance of its businesses and its belief that its stock remains undervalued" in spite of price appreciation having been appreciated.
The additional revenue was intended to be used for programming acquisitions, particularly rights to first-run theatrical films. Many of these series also later became the core of a new channel devoted to classic cartoons, Boomerang , which launched in April In , TBS also refocused its original program offerings, removing documentaries and National Geographic specials — which were shifted over to CNN — in favor of carrying original made-for-TV movies and weekly series such as the reality show Ripley's Believe It or Not!
In September , TBS dropped Little House on the Prairie and other dramatic programming as a part of a format shift toward comedic programs, such as sitcom reruns, original reality television series, and theatrically released comedy films.
As part of this refocusing, the "Superstation" sub-brand was once again dropped in February , with the channel reverting to being branded as simply TBS. Subsequently, on June 4, , to signify the channel's new comedy programming focus, TBS introduced a new logo designed by Publicis New York that rendered the channel's name in lowercase and incorporated a half-circle made to resemble a mouth open as if it were laughing and adopted the slogan "veryfunny".
The half-circle element took on a motif with half a baseball or basketball rendered within it for Turner Sports programming. The refocusing was intended to position its programming as a direct contrast to sister channel TNT, which had initially focused mainly around older movies and sports but moved toward and now focuses primarily on drama series and films.
The rebranded channel 17 would offer sitcoms and movies geared specifically toward the station's Atlanta audience, and would also broadcast 45 Braves baseball games starting with the team's season. In addition, the channel 17 changeover allowed Atlanta-area cable and IPTV subscribers — including those of Comcast and Charter Communications — that previously were only able to receive WTBS's local Atlanta signal to begin receiving the national TBS feed for the first time since the early s.
Following the change, Canadian subscription television providers were legally required to continue carrying the local Peachtree TV signal, instead of switching to the national TBS feed. Lopez Tonight ended its run on August 12, , after it was cancelled due to a steep decline in ratings.
The expanded development slate would see TBS feature more original live-action comedies, original animated series, more late-night talk shows, and lots more of "big unscripted ideas with attitude".
One of the first success stories out of this effort was the satirical news series Full Frontal with Samantha Bee , hosted by the former correspondent for Comedy Central 's The Daily Show which served as a basis for Full Frontal's format.
The new idents, which feature the logo being formed into different shapes, objects, structures and surroundings such as a gravestone , a flag on a submarine sandwich , and a monster eating the former logo, etc. Department of Justice. District Court Judge Richard J.
The U. The move would effectively dissolve the Turner Broadcasting System umbrella as part of a wind-down of the Turner name from the reorganized parent company's corporate structure. Much like sister channels TNT and Cartoon Network, TBS airs a moderate amount of program content broadcast in standard definition stretched to the widescreen format through a non-linear process similar to the "panorama" setting on many HDTVs that some viewers have nicknamed Stretch-o-Vision after it was first used by TNT; though other HD simulcast feeds operated by pay channels have also adopted this practice.
The non-linear stretching process leaves objects in the center of the screen with approximately their original aspect ratio; objects at the left and right edges are distorted horizontal panning makes the distortion especially apparent.