Z Channel
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaSouthern California
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California
Programming
Language(s)American English
Ownership
OwnerTheta Cable (1974–1981)
Group W (1981–1987)
Rock Associates (1987–1988)
American Spectacor (1988–1989)
Cablevision/NBC (1989)
History
Launched1974 (47 years ago) (1974)
ClosedJune 29, 1989 (31 years ago) (1989-06-29)
Replaced bySportsChannel Los Angeles

The Z Channel was one of the first pay television stations in the United States best known for its devotion to the art of cinema due to the eclectic choice of films[1] by the programming chief, Jerry Harvey.

History

Z Channel was launched in 1974 by Theta Cable[2] (a division of TelePrompTer Corporation and Hughes Aircraft Co.) which was acquired by Group W (Westinghouse) in 1981. Operations were located in Santa Monica, California. Jerry Harvey was hired as program director in 1980. As program director, Harvey was given permission to program the network the way he saw fit. As such, the network featured a wide variety of films not typically shown on other pay television services at the time.[3][4][5][6]

These included many B movies, silent films, foreign films, and original unedited versions of films. On Christmas Eve 1982, Harvey made the decision to show the original (previously unreleased in two years) version of Heaven's Gate, a movie that had been considered a disaster by all accounts. His decision was a success as the movie became the most watched feature ever shown on Z Channel. Other networks soon followed and aired Heaven's Gate.

By the mid-1980s, Z Channel had 90,000 subscribers. In 1987, Group W sold Z Channel to Seattle-based Rock Associates for $5 million.[7] Both increased competition and lack of interest by Group W leading up to the sale led to a decrease in subscribers. In January 1988, Rock Associates merged with American Spectacor.

In April 1988, there were two major (though unrelated) changes; the departure of Jerry Harvey due to his suicide and the addition of sports to the network. Deals were made to bring games from the Angels, Clippers and Dodgers to the network.[8] This increased the numbers of subscribers to 110,000. The sports deals were funded by selling advertising during the games. However, a lawsuit ensued with a court ruling that contracts with the movie studios stipulated that the service be commercial-free.

Out of options, the channel was sold to Cablevision and NBC on March 16, 1989, who were partners in the joint-venture SportsChannel. On June 29, 1989 Z Channel faded to black[9] and was replaced by SportsChannel Los Angeles.[10] The last film shown on Z Channel was the John Ford film My Darling Clementine.[11]

Legacy

Z Channel popularized the use of letterboxing on television, as well as showing "director's cut" versions of films (which is a term popularized after Z Channel's showing of Heaven's Gate). Z Channel's devotion to cinema and choice of rare and important films had an influence on such directors as Robert Altman, Quentin Tarantino, and Jim Jarmusch.

The channel was the subject of the 2004 documentary Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, which was directed by Alexandra Cassavetes, daughter of John Cassavetes.[12]

Live wrestling events

In the late 1980s, Z Channel broadcast a number of the World Wrestling Federation's live events from the Los Angeles Sports Arena, but nowhere near as many as Madison Square Garden (MSG Network), Boston Garden (New England Sports Network) or the Philadelphia Spectrum (PRISM).

Selected films that aired on Z Channel

See also

References

  1. ^ "Film-News and Notes." Daily News of Los Angeles October 3, 1986
  2. ^ Theater, New Beverly. "Z Channel | New Beverly Cinema". New Beverly Cinema - The premier revival theater in Los Angeles. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  3. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Feb/Mar/Apr, 1979 - Vol. 5, No. 9 - High Anxiety on cover-Amazon.com Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Sept/Oct, 1978 - Vol. 5, No. 5 - MacArthur on cover
  4. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Sept/Oct, 1978 - Vol. 5, No. 5 - MacArthur on cover
  5. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Aug/Sept, 1979 - Vol. 6, No. 4 - Jaws on cover-Amazon.com
  6. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Sept/Oct, 1978 - Vol. 5, No. 5 - MacArthur on cover
  7. ^ "Rainbow to Add Hockey Games : Z Channel Sold to Sports, News Programming Firm". latimes. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  8. ^ "Z Channel 1987". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  9. ^ "Z Channel Fading To Black Amid Film Industry Tributes." The Hollywood Reporter April 27, 1989
  10. ^ "Hollywood Freeway." Daily News of Los Angeles June 26, 1989
  11. ^ a b "The Death of Z Channel--What Now? : The History : Beset by troubles, quirky station will switch to all-sports". latimes. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  12. ^ Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession-IGN
  13. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - January/February, 1975 - Vol. 1, No. 7 - Blazing Saddles on cover-Amazon
  14. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - May/June, 1975 - Vol. 2, No. 1 - Freebie and the Bean on cover-Amazon.com
  15. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Apr/May, 1975 - Vol. 1, No. 9 - American Graffiti on cover-Amazon.com
  16. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Sept/Oct, 1978 - Vol. 5, No. 5 - MacArthur on cover
  17. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - June/July, 1978 - Vol. 5, No. 3 - The Deep on cover
  18. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Jan/Feb, 1976 - Vol. 2, No. 7 - The Return of the Pink Panther on cover
  19. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Dec/Jan, 1976 - Vol. 2, No. 6 - W.W. and The Dixie Dancekings on cover
  20. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - May/June, 1976 - Vol. 3, No. 2 - Gone With the Wind on cover
  21. ^ a b Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - July/August, 1976 - Vol. 3, No. 3 - The Towering Inferno on cover
  22. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Oct/Nov, 1975 - Vol. 2, No. 5 - Airport 1975 on cover
  23. ^ a b Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Sept/Oct, 1975 - Vol. 2, No. 4 - Lenny on cover
  24. ^ a b Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Aug/Sept, 1975 - Vol. 2, No. 3 - Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore on cover
  25. ^ Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Aug/Sept, 1975 - Vol. 2, No. 3 - Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore on cover
  26. ^ a b Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - June/July, 1975 - Vol. 2, No. 2 - Harry & Tonto on cover
  27. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - November/December, 1974 - Vol. 1, No. 6 - The Three Musketeers on cover
  28. ^ a b c d e GALAXY MAGAZINE..Z CHANNEL. HEAVENS GATE,RICH AND FAMOUS, TAPS , ON GOLDEN POND
  29. ^ VINTAGE Z MAGAZINE. THE Z CHANNEL . LOT OF 5
  30. ^ VINTAGE Z MAGAZINE. THE Z CHANNEL . LOT OF 5
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h "Film Montage from "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession" (2004)". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  32. ^ [1]
  33. ^ a b c "Z Channel Magazine of the Air- April 24-30 1981". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  34. ^ "Z Channel break- December 1977". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  35. ^ "Z Channel break- January 1982". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  36. ^ "Z Channel movie bumper 1980". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  37. ^ "Z Channel Feature Presentation & MGM fanfare 1984". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  38. ^ "Z Channel Videodrome intro 1984". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  39. ^ a b c d "'Z Channel' on the Air-Washington Post". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  40. ^ "Z Channel: Overlord". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  41. ^ "Z Channel: The Important Thing is to Love". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  42. ^ "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) - Trailer". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  43. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Jul/Aug, 1979 - Vol. 6, No. 3 - California Suite on cover
  44. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Dec/Jan, 1979 - Vol. 5, No. 7 - The Turning Point on cover
  45. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - May/June, 1979 - Vol. 6, No. 2 - Eyes of Laura Mars on cover
  46. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Apr/May, 1979 - Vol. 6, No. 1 - The Goodbye Girl on cover
  47. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Oct/Nov, 1978 - Vol. 5, No. 6 - Julia on cover
  48. ^ Z Magazine: The Entertainment Guide for Subscribers to the Z Channel and Theta Cable Television - Jan/Feb, 1979 - Vol. 5, No. 8 - An Unmarried Woman on cover