Looking to attract younger viewers and women, The Nashville
Network is overhauling its primetime schedule in January, adding three new series and an
additional movie night, officials said last week.
In addition to the previously announced original hour-long
drama, 18 Wheels of Justice, TNN has acquired 44 episodes of action series Dead
Man's Gun from MGM Worldwide Television Group. That show -- a mythical Western
anthology -- aired on Showtime from 1997 through this past spring.
TNN in January will also debut Rockin' Bowl, an
original one-hour show in which bowlers from the American Collegiate Bowling Association
will compete for cash prizes. It debuts Jan. 11 at 8 p.m.
The network is trying to capitalize on bowling's newfound
popularity among the young, officials said. "The timing is perfect," TNN vice
president of programming Brian Hughes said. "Bowling has become a hip thing to do
As part of the lineup changes, TNN is adding movies on
Monday nights that will be targeted toward women, in addition to its current Thursday
movie night, "TNN Sofa Cinema."
Movie Monday will debut Jan. 3 at 8 p.m., featuring
female-friendly movies such as Homestead, a two-part telepic starring Ann-Margret
and Sonia Braga; and O Pioneers!, starring Jessica Lange.
TNN, part of CBS Corp., said it is trying to counterprogram
against male-skewing wrestling shows and National Football League games on Monday nights.
The revamping is part of TNN's ongoing strategy to widen
its audience and move behind just country-music programming to become more of a lifestyle
"We are trying to be pleasing to our core audience,
but also enticing to a new audience and broader audience," Hughes said.
Both Dead Man's Gun and 18 Wheels of Justice
will air Wednesday nights, at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively, kicking off Jan. 12, giving
TNN an evening of action programming. The network is in talks with Henry Winkler,
executive producer of Dean Man's Gun, about producing new episodes of the series
after the 2000 season.
At TNN next year, each night will be branded with a theme:
"Movie Monday," "Action Wednesday," "Movie Night
[Thursday]," "Friday Night Thrill Zone," "Classic Country
[Saturday]" and "TNN Outdoors [Sunday]."
To promote its new schedule, TNN plans a
multimillion-dollar ad and marketing campaign next year that will be aimed at teens,
college students and adults 25 to 54 in as many as 40 major markets. The network is
targeting first-time viewers for TNN, as well as the younger audience that it hopes its
bowling show, action dramas and movies will attract.
The ad campaign will use print, cable and the Internet, and
it is being developed by TNN's agency, Draft Worldwide of New York.