Wednesday, November 14, 2007

SitcomsOnline.com Exclusive: Interview with Retro Television Network and a RTN T-Shirt Contest; TV Land's The 50 Greatest TV Icons

It is now day 10 of the writers' strike. Nothing really new to report as of now, so I won't talk much about it today because we have a very exciting interview for you today. As always with our interviews, it is in Seven Questions form! In addition to today's interview, stay tuned in the coming days, as we might have a "Seven Questions" interview with Willie Aames (Buddy from Charles in Charge), just in time for the Charles in Charge second season DVD out next week. Look for our review of that set later this week and don't forget to enter our contest by clicking HERE. And now to today's interview...

We have had the pleasure to interview Neal Ardman and Mark Dvornik of Retro Television Network (RTN)! RTN is a new television network that provides each affiliate a customized feed with classic hit shows, in addition to local programming including news, weather and sports. RTN is specifically designed to go on a broadcast digital channel and provides local broadcasters with a way to get ratings and successfully monetize their digital spectrum.

Mark Dvornik has been very good and helpful to us, so we thank him in making this happen. Neal Ardman and Mark Dvornik sat down with me with their TV Dinners watching RTN (Retro Television Network) in another installment of SitcomsOnline's Seven Questions Series.

"Seven Questions with Retro Television Network's Neal Ardman and Mark Dvornik"

SitcomsOnline: Hi Neal and Mark, this is Pavan from SitcomsOnline.com. Thanks for this opportunity. We are loving what Retro Television Network (RTN) is doing. We know what the network is and have promoted the news and details to our readers, but maybe you can explain how you guys work a bit better. So, what is RTN and how can we get it? How did it start?
RTN: Mark turns to Neal and says, "Tell the folks that story of how RTN came to be." Neal says, Well Mark, I was out hunting near my cabin when I missed fired a shot, it hit the ground, and all of a sudden a crude format of a network came out of the ground! (They both laugh at the TV reference to an opening of a classic hit show.) That was 2005, and the first RTN was born on KKYK-TV in Little Rock, AR. Mark adds, Call your favorite local television station, ask for the program director, and tell them you would like for them to put RTN on their digital channel.

SitcomsOnline: So RTN has gone national, right? We read it was going to in July, but we didn't start to see any news until late August. We got lots of e-mails asking when RTN was going national and if their cities would get it.
RTN: Mark says, RTN is the first customized local network, and we are signing on markets one city at a time. Neal adds, RTN is one of the most cutting edge broadcaster out there. We are broadcasting now in MPEG4!

SitcomsOnline: What is the coverage goal for the network? I don't think there were any announcements for RTN stations in the top markets, like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Are we close to having RTN's in those markets? WPIX-DT would be good in NY I think, since the Tube Music Network is now gone. That would be a major step!
RTN: Mark says, The coverage goal is National. We will not comment on any discussions going on in any markets. However, as I stated earlier that if you would like to see RTN on your market, you should contact your local station and request that they pick up RTN on their local digital channel.

SitcomsOnline: Right now we see classics from the CBS/Paramount and Universal libraries. Can we expect shows from other studios soon? And for the CBS/Paramount and Universal libraries, are you able to choose any TV show or is there some sort of system? Personally, I've been missing shows like Webster, Dear John (both Paramount), and Out of this World (Universal) and would love to see those on RTNs. But I still like the shows you already air like Happy Days, Family Ties and The A-Team!
RTN: Neal says, We love all the shows that you listed, too. As they say, stay tuned...

SitcomsOnline: So does the local affiliate get full rights to choose what shows they want to air, or does RTN help as well?
RTN: Neal is chuckling as he says, We can not answer any questions of a legal nature, without consulting our attorney Perry Mason. We will have to get back to you...

SitcomsOnline: Where can fans call or e-mail the network? Does RTN have a website that is live? I know there used to be one, but that doesn't seem to be working right now.
RTN: Mark says, The fans of RTN in each local market should let the local station know via e-mail how much they like that they have RTN on the air. Neal adds, Our new wonderful website is under construction. We did a focus group and found that our Etch-A-Sketch was not refreshing the page quick enough!

SitcomsOnline: So, we heard that your network has a mascot?
RTN: Neal says, His name is Beau, and he is a chocolate lab. He can be seen in promos with SIT, STAY, WATCH, which we also have on t-shirts. Mark adds, Pavan has secured some t-shirts for a lucky few. He will unveil how you can win one later in this interview. Neal concludes with, Beau is everything you want in a network mascot. First he is loyal to RTN. He only wags his tail at our shows. He brings us the morning trades so we can stay up on the goings on. And he has not accidents like the other network mascots.

SitcomsOnline: Well, thanks once again for taking some time out for us in your busy schedules! And much success to RTN!
RTN: Mark says, We are honored that you asked for us to speak to your readers, we love television and bringing these great shows to you. Thanks for watching us, and contact your local station if we are not on in your market yet. RTN is adding markets each week, and Pavan is doing an excellent job keeping you all informed on the progress.

Our thanks to to Neal and Mark of RTN, and best wishes to them in making RTN a big success! Some great humor even in their responses! Our apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time. For more information on Retro Television Network, continue to stay with us for info and don't forget to log-on to their website when it goes up at http://www.retrotelevision.net. So, stay tuned right here on the blog for news updates for this wonderful network! We seem to be getting new affiliates each week! Fast growing indeed!

And as Mark mentioned in the interview we have a contest for you RTN fans! We have 10 RTN T-shirts to give away with Beau the mascot. The contest starts today (Nov. 14) and ends Dec. 13...so hopefully you'll get your RTN T-Shirt in time for Christmas! That is our gift to you! Before you enter, please make sure you read the rules and regulations. So, without further adieu click HERE to enter our RTN T-Shirt Contest!

Legendary Johnny Carson -- the "King of Late Night TV" -- is ranked the number one TV icon in Entertainment Weekly and TV Land Present: The 50 Greatest TV Icons, premiering on Friday, November 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The two-hour TV Land special looks at individuals like Carson in addition to the great Lucille Ball and the hilarious Jerry Seinfeld, who have all made their indelible mark in TV history. The complete list will be revealed in the TV Land Original special and in Entertainment Weekly's annual DVD issue on stands that day. The magazine feature celebrates each icon's contribution to television along with DVD recommendations from each of the icons' work. The TV special is produced by Gay Rosenthal Productions.
For more info on this two-hour special and the complete top 50 list, click HERE (if you want to be spoiled).
The list they made is actually a top 100 list, but the TV special will only cover the top 50. 100-51 is listed on the TV Land website, if you want to take a look at that.

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