Classic television programming is returning with a vengeance to WGRZ-TV with the addition of around-the-clock broadcasting of classic TV favorites, including "The Monkees," "Three's Company" and "Dragnet."
The addition of provider Antenna TV -- available on digital Channel 2.2, on Time-Warner Cable Channel 114 and Verizon Fios Channel 460 -- reflects the popularity of classic television programming in the Buffalo market, according to Jim Toellner, WGRZ-TV president and general manager.
"A lot of the people who get over-the-air TV programming are slightly older and like retro programs," said Toellner. "It's very wholesome programming, if you can call the Three Stooges wholesome," said Toellner.
WGRZ formerly contracted with Retro-TV -- which broadcast classic programs over-the-air only on channel 2.3. When Universal Sports, which runs on 2.2 and airs coverage of Olympic-style sports, announced it was ceasing operations across the country Jan. 1, Toellner decided to replace it with Antenna TV.
Toellner is not alone in seeing the value of classic television. On Aug. 1, WNGS-TV became WBBZ-TV and began showing around-the-clock classic television shows, including "Perry Mason," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "My Three Sons" and "Rawhide." The programs, supplied by network affiliate Me-TV (Memorable Entertainment Television), are faring well, said Phil Arno, WBBZ president.
"We started up with Me-TV, and because of what we're doing in the market and because of our plans for local TV, we're putting the other stations in the position now to compete with us -- even though we are the new kids on the block. The end result will be better programming for the viewers."
In another switch at WGRZ, Toellner this week added another voice to the Bill O'Loughlin show. "2 Sides" with O'Loughlin and newcomer Kristy Mazurek debuted Monday from noon to 1 p.m. It replaced "Bill O'Loughlin Show -- Talk Radio on TV," which paired O'Loughlin with Lydia Dominick of the former "Lunchtime With the Classics."
On the new "2 Sides," Dominick is the social media host.