Station deals include Tribune Broadcasting, Raycom Media, Sunbeam Television and Quincy Newspapers. Previously announced deals were from Fisher Communications, Hearst-Argyle Television, Post-Newsweek Stations and Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The new deals were announced at the National Association of Television Program Executives meeting in Las Vegas.
ThisTV, a venture between MGM Domestic Television and Weigel Broadcasting, was announced last year in the wake of this year's expected change from analog to digital local TV transmission. The network will include MGM's library of 4,100 films and 10,000 hours of television programming, including vintage TV shows such as "Bonanza," "Hogan's Heroes," "Happy Days," "The Outer Limits" and "Mr. Ed."
In addition, ThisTV will have kids' programming provided by Cookie Jar Entertainment. Local TV stations' schedules have virtually abandoned most kids' TV programming, ceding to the national TV networks, such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, and more modest Saturday-morning kids' programming blocks on the broadcast networks.
Local TV stations believe the changeover to all digital signals, originally scheduled for February 2009, could be a boon for new multicast digital networks, where every local station controls a piece of the digital space. The digital transformation may also improve traditional local TV ad sales.