Another interesting aspect of the channel is that for several years the station broadcast old advertisements, called "TV Land Retromercials." Examples of advertisements aired are the "Mamma mia, that's a spicy meatball!" from Alka-Seltzer and "In Soviet Georgia" from Dannonyogurt, as well as the animated Tootsie Pop owl. Retromercials have not surfaced on TV Land in recent years. In early years, current commercials were not shown on TV Land.Shortly after TV Land's debut, MCA filed a lawsuit against Viacom. Because MCA's original agreement with Paramount Pictures to operate USA Network prohibited either partner from operating other cable networks outside the joint venture, Viacom had been in breach of contract ever since the company bought Paramount in 1994, because it had operated MTV Networks (whose holdings include Nickelodeon, MTV and VH1) since its founding in 1983, and Showtime Networks (owners of Showtime, The Movie Channel and Flix, all of which are now owned by CBS Corporation) since it was founded in 1985. MCA claimed that the intention of TV Land was to compete directly with USA (this turned out to be true). Viacom claimed that the matter had already been settled when Sumner Redstone released Frank Biondi from his contract to let him work at MCA. The suit was eventually settled when Viacom agreed to sell its 50% stake in USA Networks to MCA (MCA later became Universal Studios, formerly just a subsidiary, which eventually merged withNBC and later, Comcast).
In February 1999, according to Nielsen ratings data, TV Land averaged a 1.0 share during primetime, tying ESPN for 10th place among all cable networks. Its siblings, MTV and VH1, respectively tied for 17th and 26th place. Columnist John Dempsey reported in Variety, "That February rating put TV Land into the top 10 for the first time since it began operating, and opened the eyes of the cable industry to the rich vein of golden-oldie TV shows that distributors are mining for an audience of nostalgia buffs and kids who are stumbling across the series for the first time."
In the early 2000s, TV Land aired special program blocks on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day (beginning on December 31, 2001): the final day of the year revolved around series finales of classic television series, and the first day of the new year exclusively featured pilot episodes. On January 1, 2001, the network introduced a streamlined logo, which traded the uneven-ness of the original design for a more rigid form, and restricted the wedge serif type to the "TV" and the sans serif type to the "LAND" in the logo. TV Land celebrated its 10th anniversary on April 29, 2006. On December 17, 2006, MTV Networks (which was renamed Viacom Media Networks in 2011) began operating TV Land as part of its Kids & Family Group unit, with Nickelodeon taking over operational duties for Nick at Nite, which in turn had previously maintained oversight of TV Land since its launch.
The network's original continuity announcer was DJ Dan Ingram; Ingram was replaced by Harry Shearer, who served as the primary announcer for the network's promotions from 2001 to 2010. In 2008, TV Land added a three-hour block of infomercials to its morning lineup, airing Monday through Fridays from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. As such, TV Land became only the fourth cable channel operated by Viacom and its MTV Networks division to air infomercials (the only others being CMT, Comedy Central and Spike); TV Land removed one hour of the infomercial block in May 2010, reducing it from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m., with reruns filling the 8:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) hour.
TV Land's programming originally focused on series (both filmed in black and white and color) from the 1950s to the early 1980s. During its early years, the channel's lineup prominently featured variety series and dramas. Many of its charter shows such as The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and The Ed Sullivan Show were dropped from the lineup by the late 1990s (one early series that aired in reruns on the network, The Flip Wilson Show, however ran on TV Land until 2005). It also ran many sitcoms from the 1960s and 1970s, particularly series from Filmways that were produced prior to the rural purge of the late 1960s. Early on, TV Land would often air weekend marathons that were devoted to a single program (the channel continues to air marathons, occasionally in the form of catch-up marathons of its original series, as well as on marathons of certain series on certain holidays). Since the network's inception, westerns (such as Gunsmoke and Bonanza among others) have also been a prominent part of the lineup.
The channel also aired classic commercials during its breaks for several years, under the banner "TV Land Retromercials" (incidentally during its early years, TV Land did not air recent advertisements for products in existence at that point). Among those featured were Alka-Seltzer's "Mamma mia, that's a spicy meatball!", Dannon's "In Soviet Georgia", and the animated Tootsie Pop ad (in which a young boy asks "how many licks" it takes to get to the center of one; incidentally, that commercial was at the time, and still is, being used for regular advertising of the Tootsie Pop). Some of these "retromercials" included early roles of celebrities such as Judd Hirsch, Rene Russo, Roy Scheider and Jodie Foster. Interspersed with the classic commercials were fictional retro-style commercials for various substances, almost always using the brand "Twip," and mockumentary segments purporting to describe great moments in television history (such an interview with the purported inventor of the blank cartridge, which saved countless lives in the production of Westerns). These, along with the classic commercials, were dropped by 2004. The network also ran segments of CBS News' In the News from the 1970s and 1980s during breaks.
From 1996 to 1998, the channel ran a series of original shorts called "Sixty Second Sitcoms", minute-long parodies of sitcoms from various eras which also contained fake opening and end credits, and concluded with a "This has been a TV Land Presentation" vanity card. Among the parodies included in the shorts were The Gaveltons (a black and white segment based on Father Knows Best-type comedies, concerning a family that uses the law to solve typical sitcom problems) and Spin & Cutter (a parody of Perfect Strangers-style 1970s and 1980s buddy comedies that featured characters saying lines such as "What could possibly be worse than this?", followed by a spin wipe that cuts to a scene featuring another added element and the other character saying "You had to ask, didn't you?"). Each of the series had several segments and alternated with the retromercials.
Senior Talent Producer for Nick at Nite and TV Land from 1994-2012 was Barry M. Greenberg.
When a program deemed particularly important was airing on another network – such as the series finales of Friends in 2004 and Everybody Loves Raymond in 2005, TV Land aired filler programming that was nonsensical in nature (such as footage of staff members holding signs or wearing T-shirts) to encourage viewers to watch the network program. Similarly, the network went dark during the 1998 series finale of Seinfeld.
In November 2014, amid growing allegations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby, the network announced that it was removing reruns of The Cosby Show from its lineup, and deleted all references of the series from its website; a marathon of episodes from the series that had been scheduled for Thanksgiving was also cancelled. In its place was episodes from the Steve Harvey run of Family Feud.
The TV Land Awards is a two-hour event that has been held annually since its inception in 2003 that in past years was broadcast live on the network to the Eastern and Central Time Zones (with a three-hour delayed broadcast on its Pacific Time Zone feed), but is currently taped a week in advance. The awards telecast celebrates past classic television series and television stars. From the inaugural show in 2003 until 2007, the TV Land Awards were also simulcast on Nick at Nite.
TV Land HD
TV Land HD is a high definition simulcast feed of TV Land, which broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format; it launched in November 2011. It is currently available on cable and IPTV providers such as AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS, Cablevision and Charter Communications in select areas and nationally on satellite provider DirecTV. Classic programming which does not use prints remastered for high definition widescreen presentation are presented on the HD feed in their original 4:3 aspect ratio.