TV Land Refines Focus

Once considered the offspring of Nickelodeon’s prime time schedule, Nick at Nite’s TV Land block of vintage shows has come into its own with 60 million subscribers and a new dedicated sales staff.

The network, which celebrates its fifth anniversary on April 29, unveiled plans for the 2001-02 season Tuesday at a press briefing in New York.

As Nick at Nite’s audience grows from single baby boomers to parents of Nickelodeon viewers, it plans to resurrect comedies from the ’70s and ’80s such as Cheers and Family Ties. TV Land is bringing back I Love Lucy on Oct. 15 — 50 years to the day she tripped and whined her way into TV viewers’ hearts. Also coming back over the next year are Taxi, Rockford Files and The Love Boat.

New additions to the original program Inside TV Land, from the creators of Behind The Music, will showcase classic writers’ first pitch sessions, African Americans in front of and behind the camera and the series Get Smart.

Though TV Land subscribers have increased 33 percent over last year, delivering an 340,000 households in first quarter, household prime time ratings have slipped this quarter from a network high in first quarter 2000. Larry Jones, executive vice president and general manager of TV Land said that if one discounts the unusual spike in first quarter 2000, growth is pacing consistently with other ratings periods.