While TV Land, launching April 29, tries to build a subscriber base large enough to entice advertisers, it will run vintage commercials.
"I call them retromercials," said Jim Burns, the channel's executive producer.
The new network could have given away time as a bonus to advertisers that have bought spots on parent Viacom's other ad-supported networks, including Nickelodeon, MTV: Music Television or VH1: Video Hits One. But the network has decided not to do that.
SELL REAL NUMBERS LATER
"We want to go out with TV Land when it's established itself for a while so we can sell real numbers," said John Popkowski, exec VP-advertising sales for MTV Networks.
Mr. Burns is picking out about 300 commercials to run, ranging from the 1940s to the late '80s. He is getting permission from the advertisers to allow the vintage spots to air and then clearing rights from the talent and for the music.
SOME SAY NO
Not everyone is cooperating. The estate of artist Salvador Dali won't allow TV Land to run an old spot for Braniff Airlines featuring the artist and Yankees pitching great Whitey Ford. And Sunsweet doesn't want TV Land running an old comedic spot showing people force-fed prunes.
"They didn't think it fit with their current image," Mr. Burns said.