TCM (Temporarily?) Replaced by FXM on DISH

cnn_buildingOn the second day of the blackout that’s depriving as many as one in seven TCM viewers of their daily classic film fix, DISH Network has come up with a “creative” solution to help squelch viewer outrage.

After DISH pulled the plug on TCM, CNN, CNN en Espanol, HLN, TruTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Boomerang at 2 a.m. (ET) on October 21, the satcaster began trying to fool viewers simulcasting similar programming on the blacked out channels. TCM has been replaced by FXM, MSNBC is now simulcast on the channels that previously carried CNN and HLN, and Discovery Family (formerly the Hub) is replacing Cartoon Network and Boomerang.

For as many as 14 million TCM viewers who subscribe to DISH, this is like the gift of a pox covered blanket. Because, while FXM (formerly known as Fox Movie Channel) may have previously been a commercial-free classic film channel, the network now devotes most of its advertiser-supported lineup to recent Fox releases like the Adam Sandler classic DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN (2008). Even worse, many of these films are edited for content. In the case of Adam Sandler “comedies” that may be a gift, but that’s not really the point.

Fox_Moxie_ChannelFXM’s relationship with classic film has been more complicated than the plot of THE BIG SLEEP. The channel began life in 1994 as fXM: Movies from Fox, with programming from the 20th Century Fox film library. It was rechristened Fox Movie Channel in 2000 and, for the next 12 years, broadcast films from the mid-1930s through the 1970s during the day, often in cropped or panned-and-scanned transfers that had been created for broadcast TV syndication packages in the pre-widescreen TV days. In primetime, Fox Movie Channel programmed more contemporary classics like THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS (1989), often with specially created wraparounds featuring Fox executives and guests.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 8.31.42 PMIn 2012, the network switched to a 50/50 hybrid format, with Fox Movie Channel during the overnight and daytime hours and the newly branded – and now advertiser supported – FXM in primetime. And, in June of 2014, the channel officially switched to the FXM brand name, while retaining classics from roughly 3 a.m. until 2 p.m. The overnight/daytime lineup was rebranded FXM Retro and remains commercial free (during the films, at least).

You can still find the occasional classic film jewel in the wreckage that remains, but you have to look hard. Because the FXM website makes no reference to FXM Retro, the on-line schedule only begins at 2 p.m., and the TV listings site doesn’t list the channel at all. There is a dedicated FXM Retro website, but you have to specifically look for it, and it’s not linked to on the main FXM site. This makes FXM Retro America’s only Secret Classic Film Network™. And now, thanks to DISH, it’s coming out of the black-and-white shadows.

While I may joke about this mess, it’s affecting lots of people in a very negative way. TCM fans are a dedicated bunch, and for some, the channel is a companion, a comfort, and even a nurse during times of serious illness. Both DISH and Turner Broadcasting need to get past the gamesmanship and get back to what really matters: the viewer.

Special thanks to Richard Kirkham, Ashley Phipps, Laura Grieve, and Valerie Frederick for their help with this article. For my original post on the DISH blackout, click here




About willmckinley

I'm a New York City-based writer, video producer, print journalist, radio/podcast host, and social media influencer. I've been a guest on Turner Classic Movies (interviewed by Robert Osborne), NPR, Sirius Satellite Radio, and the official TCM podcast. My byline has appeared in and more than 100 times in the pages of NYC alt weeklies like The Villager and Gay City News. I'm also a social media copywriter for Sony's getTV and a contributor to four film-and-TV-related books: "Monster Serial," "Bride of Monster Serial," "Taste the Blood of Monster Serial," and "Remembering Jonathan Frid."
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19 Responses to TCM (Temporarily?) Replaced by FXM on DISH

  1. Pingback: TCM Goes Dark on DISH Network | cinematically insane

  2. Jennifer says:

    I see that you share my very low opinion of Adam Sandler movies. Hope all of the affected TCM viewers can get by with DVDs and Blu-rays of their favorite films until the mess gets sorted out!

  3. 70srichard says:

    The Cartoon Network had some programming from what looked like National Geographic or Animal Planet. One of their channels had a set if six picture in picture frames with suggested programing like Nickelodeon, Animal Planet etc.

  4. Great details on the evolution of FXM. I had no idea.

  5. Connie Kirk says:

    This is bull! I want TCM back. Only channel I watch and now it’s gone. No more Ben Mankoweinz or Robert Osborne. I can’t take it. Bring it back.!!!!

  6. Ricky B says:

    Bring TCM BACK!!! I pay $86.27 a month just to WATCH TCM. I wouldn’t say it’s a companion. but it sure is a comfort for me. for all the crap we have in the world. I can watch it for hours and forget the nasty old world we have.

  7. Kelly says:

    BTW I hearing Boomrang going go through makeover they bring back ole MGM and Warner bros cartoons next year 2015hat funny that low rating CNN got replace LOWER Rating MSNBC only .01 rating or 00

  8. Coy green says:

    The only reason I have dish is for tcm and boomerang, hell I got a TCM tattoo because of my love for tcm

  9. on says:

    Better bring back soon or we are canceling. Nothing good on dish. Even pay channels suck. Repeats. Not Happy at all.

  10. Kelly says:

    I hate to say this but my aunt got indifferent customer service represtantive dude put in so many words go ahead cancel your dish network seriously I think because her represetnvie was station in LA area so go figure

  11. Steph says:

    We have the option to rent TCM movies on Itunes but I personally would prefer to suscribe directly to TCM.

  12. Lee Meb says:

    Another deficit the TCM replacement FXM Retro poses is the fact that TCM was an HD channel for me, while FXM is not, at least in my package. The forced change of expensive programming without either consultation or price adjustments due to lesser quality substitute offerings exposes a cavalier attitude of Dish in regards to their customers. I hope they sort the whole mess out soon, so that I do not have to look for a different provider. Thankfully I am in a region with many choices. I just hate to shop…

  13. Yvonne says:

    There is no channel that can replace TCM. The classic movies which are so refreshing today is one of a kind and such good entertainment! Beats a lot of the trashy shows on the major networks any day. Wish DISH and Turner would hurry up and resolve their dispute and return TCM back where it belongs! I look forward to watching TCM every day and miss it so very much.

  14. Pingback: DISH Threatens to Blackout TCM + Turner Networks “Forever” | cinematically insane

  15. Kathleen says:

    I pay Dish over $90 a month mainly to watch TCM. I love the old movies, & I know It’s safe to leave on, & not worry about offensive language. Please bring TCM Back. I don’t want to go through the hassle of changing to Direct TV, but I will, if this is not settled soon.

  16. bill says:

    Dish: what a bunch of assholes!

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