MGM, Tribune ink affil agreement for THIS TV

Service is operated jointly with Weigel Broadcasting

MGM Worldwide Television has signed an affiliation agreement for THIS TV with Tribune Broadcasting, securing renewals on existing stations and chalking up new clearances in key markets.

THIS TV will pick up Tribune stations as new affils in New York, Miami, St. Louis, San Diego and Grand Rapids, Mich. At the same time, THIS TV has renewed its existing agreements with Tribune stations in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, Denver, Indianapolis/Bloomington, New Orleans and Hartford, Conn.

MGM and Tribune also have formed a partnership designed to continue to grow the digital network, which is now carried by stations reaching 85% of the country. And MGM has reached an agreement with the Nielsen Co., which will provide national ratings for THIS TV.

The service, created and operated jointly by MGM and Weigel Broadcasting, was launched in November 2008.

"THIS TV is already by far the leader in the digital network space, and this expansion will further cement us as the prime leader in the digital spectrum," MGM Worldwide TV co-president Jim Packer said.

"THIS TV is now the only movie channel for homes without cable. The existing ratings for the network prove that there are a lot of digital growth opportunities," Tribune president of programming Sean Compton added.

THIS TV is available in 40 million cable homes nationwide as well as via its over-the-air signal. The service is programmed on the strength of the Lion's library of 4,100 films and 10,000 hours of TV shows.

On March 20, Clint Eastwood's 1968 film "Hang 'Em High" attracted 481,000 households with 597,000 viewers to THIS TV -- outperforming such cablers as VH1, CMT, G4 and the Travel Channel.