The Nashville Network will relaunch Thurs., Nov. 1 with a mix of live, syndicated, first run programming and digitally restored content. With WSMV-TV as the local flagship affiliate, TNN will be available over-the-air on channel 4.2, on Charter channel 91, and on Comcast later in November.
Jim Owens Entertainment and Luken Communications partnered to bring back the iconic country music lifestyle channel. Jim Owens Entertainment, headed by Lorianne Crook and husband Jim Owens, produces the nationally syndicated show Crook & Chase and the radio staple The Crook & Chase Countdown.
TNN’s first-run programming will include The Country Vibe, Crook & Chase, and The Rick & Bubba Show. Also on the schedule is Gaither Gospel Hour and Larry’s Country Diner. “We’re basing it right now on classic programming,” explained Crook. “We want to remind people where TNN came from and why it was so important to country music. Right now about 80 to 85 percent of the programming is classic—the shows that people love and remember like Nashville Now, Music City Tonight, Crook & Chase, specials and awards shows. People will get to see stars like Garth Brooks, Alabama, and Randy Travis at the very beginning of their careers. In addition to the music, we’ll have lifestyle programming covering cooking, sports, and motor sports.” This will include Lorianne Crook’s Celebrity Kitchen, and Southern Fried Fitness.
The original TNN existed from March 7, 1983 to September 24, 2000, when it became The National Network, and then Spike in 2003. Since the end of TNN’s run, Crook says fans and members of the music industry have asked her if it would ever return. Around 2008, she started researching the TNN trademark, and discovered that it expired about 8 months prior. “We [Jim Owens Entertainment] applied for it because we felt it was a valuable brand, because here we are 12 years later and people still ask about it,” she said. “We truly didn’t know what we’d do with it, we just knew it was valuable. We’re very serious and very dedicated to being conservators of the TNN brand. We want to make sure TNN is beneficial to the industry and that it truly entertains the fans.”
By happenstance they met Henry Luken of Chattanooga based Luken Communications. “We each had what the other one was looking for,” Crook continued. “Jim Owens Entertainment has tremendous deep vaults of video of country music history, shows we had done over 15 years on TNN. At one point, we were doing 70 percent of the TNN primetime programming. Henry has all the technology and had launched other networks.” Luken Communications is home to Retro Television® (RTV), My Family TV, TUFF TV, PBJ, MyCarTV and Frost Great Outdoors. Its networks reach approximately 80 percent of all U.S. households via a blend of over-the-air, cable and satellite television. TNN will have headquarters on Music Row and in Chattanooga.
The Nov. 1 soft launch will lead up to the major push on March 7, 2013—the 30th anniversary of network’s debut. “Everyone seems to be so thrilled about it,” added Crook. “Garth Brooks did some promos for us, as well as Vince Gill, Little Big Town, Ray Stevens, and Ricky Skaggs. We want to stay true to what people expect from TNN, but we also want to grow into the future, so it’s going to be fun to see how it evolves.”
Original announcement posted on Apr. 18 here.
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