There was a time in the monument of America — during the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s — when you could have a life, make a career, and be somebody, just by hosting or appearing on, a broadcast television game show or talk show.
Since we now live in the perpetual machine of “everything old is new again” — we can dive back in time, and watch all the old television shows of our youth, now digitized, and Closed Captioned, and made publicly palatable for our short mindsets by removing most of the modern commercials in favor of the old, embedded soap pitches.
Buzzr is one of my favorite retro channels, and orange seems to be the “color of nostalgia” (and 1970s sexiness!) in the logos of these channels of recondition.
Other new reconciliation channels include Antenna TV, Decades, Bounce, COZI, and, of course, the ubiquitous: MeTV. While you may find the old remnants of what used to make up Prime Time television in America and, 30 years past, much of the content is left empty and stale.
The memory is always more powerful than the reality.
The slew of these new game show and talk show channels are made possible by a technology called “Digital Terrestrial Television” —
Digital terrestrial television (DTTV or DTT) is a technological evolution of broadcast television and an advancement over analog television. DTTV broadcasts land-based (terrestrial) signals. The advantages of digital terrestrial television are similar to digital versus analog in platforms such as cable, satellite, and all telecommunications: the efficient use of spectrum and provision of more capacity than analog, better quality images, and lower operating costs for broadcast and transmission (after the initial upgrade costs). A terrestrial implementation of digital television (DTV) technology uses an aerial to broadcast to a conventional television antenna (or aerial) instead of a satellite dish or cable television connection.
— so if you already have a mainline HD station, you can sort of sub-channel another broadcast and have it picked up by a regular, over-the-air, antenna and the cable companies will lap up those free channels to fill out their never ending offering of stale content that is best forgotten and not re-lived in the endless rerun.
What is driving these channels to back the air?
There’s history in re-airing the old gold mines — even if they are rife with minefields — just look at your favorite blogs. Why do they republish the same story via an RSS update 12 hour later? They are trying to mine new eyeballs for another click, and a final look-see, before the article dies in the guts of a failed Google search.
It’s the same thing with these old game shows and talk shows — FreemantleMedia, after purchasing the Mark Goodson and Bill Todman archives, as well as the old shows from Reg Grundy and Carruthers — have collected over 40,000 hours of recorded television programming that sits in their vaults, earning no money.
So, to revive what once was, FreemantleMedia is set at the forefront of this re-broadcasting the old stuff for new eyes — and melancholia is suddenly making money again, and no longer dashing hearts; and with 40,000 hours of programming, one channel, airing a new show every hour of every day for a year, would only burn through 8,760 hours of that 40,000!
That’s why you see this mega-bifurcation of intention, in multiplicities of channelings, taking form in not just one nostalgia station, but tens and twenties!
The problem with re-animating many of the shows from the 1950s and 1960s is that kids today will not watch a black and white program. The people who watched TV back then, in the glory days, and who want to reminisce, are getting older, and they don’t have guaranteed access to these new channels, so FreemantleMedia, and others like them, are burning off the old black and white antiquities early in the morning when the old folks are likely up, and woke, and then they re-air everything, in duplicate, in the afternoon, before the rest of the old folks take their naps wagered against a cup of coffee.
Is there a risk in overpopulating our New Nostalgia Era with an overabundance of programming? Wasn’t the original run of 800 episodes, or so, of the 1970s Match Game iterations not enough then? Why try to re-fulfill us now? What is the irresistible cult of culture that demands we coo along with the Match Game vamp as Brett Somers cackles in the background of our daily duties?
It can sometimes be significant to dip into your childhood stream-of-consciousness for a quenching, but only if we sip, because, oftentimes, the result of the engulfment is not the whetting one would expect — in fact, going back through the slog of time only reminds us of all the grand things we lost, and all the interminable, evil things, that remain, changeling, but untouched — but we must not fear the ghosts of our past, we only need not repeatedly invite them back into the resurrected realm of the living room.