Z Channel
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaSouthern California
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California
Programming
Language(s)English
Ownership
OwnerTheta Cable (1974–1981)
Group W (1981–1987)
Rock Associates (1987–1988)
American Spectacor (1988–1989)
Cablevision/NBC (1989)
History
Launched1974 (50 years ago) (1974)
ClosedJune 29, 1989 (34 years ago) (1989-06-29)
Replaced bySportsChannel Los Angeles

The Z Channel was one of the early pay television stations in the United States (1974-1989) 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.

Demise

In April 1988, there were two major changes to the network: the death of Jerry Harvey and the addition of sports to regular programming.[8] (It had broadcast a UCLA–USC basketball game around 1978.) Deals were made to show games from the Los Angeles Angels, Clippers and Dodgers.[9] 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 and set to launch Consumer News and Business Channel (now CNBC). On June 29, 1989, Z Channel faded to black[10] and was replaced by SportsChannel Los Angeles.[11] The last film shown on Z Channel was John Ford's My Darling Clementine.[12]

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, Alexander Payne 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.[13]

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". Los Angeles Times. 22 February 1989. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  8. ^ DEC 1978 Z MOVIE/TELEVISION MAGAZINE TURNING POINT - UCLA BASKETBALL|Worthpoint.com
  9. ^ "Z Channel 1987". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  10. ^ "Z Channel Fading to Black Amid Film Industry Tributes." The Hollywood Reporter April 27, 1989
  11. ^ "Hollywood Freeway." Daily News of Los Angeles June 26, 1989
  12. ^ a b "The Death of Z Channel--What Now? : The History : Beset by troubles, quirky station will switch to all-sports". Los Angeles Times. 25 June 1989. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  13. ^ Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession-IGN
  14. ^ a b c d "'Z Channel' on the Air-Washington Post". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  15. ^ a b VINTAGE Z MAGAZINE. THE Z CHANNEL. 48 HRS, WEIRD SCIENCE. THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS | Worthpoint.com
  16. ^ a b c d e "Z Channel Magazine of the Air- April 24-30 1981". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ a b c SEPT/OCT 1981 Z vintage movie magazine AIRPLANE - CADDYSHACK | Worthpoint.com
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Z-Channel 1975-6 Promo,s and Pledge Drive - Obsolete Video on YouTube
  22. ^ a b c FEB/MARCH 1981 Z VINTAGE MOVIE MAGAZINE APOCALYPSE NOW - ALL THAT JAZZ | Worthpoint.com
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ a b NOV/DEC 1980 Z VINTAGE MOVIE MAGAZINE ALIEN - 10 - HOT STUFF | Worthpoint.com
  25. ^ 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
  26. ^ SEPT 16 1988 Z VINTAGE MOVIE MAGAZINE BEVERLY HILLS COP - EDDIE MURPHY | Worthpoint.com
  27. ^ 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
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h "Film Montage from "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession" (2004)". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  29. ^ 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
  30. ^ a b OCT/NOV 1981 Z VINTAGE MOVIE MAGAZINE BLUE LAGOON - ORDINARY PEOPLE | Worthpoint.com
  31. ^ a b c JULY/AUG 1981 Z VINTAGE MOVIE MAGAZINE MGM STORY | Worthpoint.com
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) - Trailer - YouTube
  33. ^ a b VINTAGE Z CHANNEL GUIDES . Z MAGAZINE. GREASE, JAWS 2, PRIVATE BENJAMIN | Worthpoint.com
  34. ^ 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
  35. ^ a b c d e GALAXY MAGAZINE..Z CHANNEL. HEAVENS GATE,RICH AND FAMOUS, TAPS, ON GOLDEN POND
  36. ^ a b Z Channel break - January 1982- The Media Hoarder on YouTube
  37. ^ VINTAGE Z MAGAZINE. THE Z CHANNEL. THE CHINA SYNDROME, DRESS TO KILL, HAIR | Worthpoint.com
  38. ^ a b c VINTAGE Z MAGAZINE. THE Z CHANNEL . LOT OF 5
  39. ^ a b VINTAGE Z MAGAZINE. THE Z CHANNEL. A VIEW TO A KILL, DRAGNET, THE MISSION | Worthpoint.com
  40. ^ a b VINTAGE Z CHANNEL GUIDES . Z MAGAZINE. STAYING ALIVE, VACATION | Worthpoint.com
  41. ^ "Z Channel movie bumper 1980". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  42. ^ VINTAGE Z CHANNEL GUIDES . Z MAGAZINE. AMADEUS, BEVERLY HILLS COP, MADONNA | Worthpoint.com
  43. ^ "Z Channel break- January 1982". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  44. ^ a b c d e 1975 Theta Cable TV Z Channel - Obsolete Video on YouTube
  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 - May/June, 1975 - Vol. 2, No. 1 - Freebie and the Bean on cover-Amazon.com
  47. ^ a b c d e f Z Channel break- December 1977 - The Media Hoarder on YouTube
  48. ^ 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
  49. ^ 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
  50. ^ JUNE/JULY 1981 Z VINTAGE MOVIE MAGAZINE - SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT - THE SHINING | Worthpoint.com
  51. ^ 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
  52. ^ 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
  53. ^ "Z Channel Feature Presentation & MGM fanfare 1984". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  54. ^ 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
  55. ^ 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
  56. ^ a b c Southern California 1975 Z-Channel Line up Cable TV - Obsolete Video on YouTube
  57. ^ OCT/NOV 1980 Z vintage movie magazine ROCKY II - STALLONE | Worthpoint.com
  58. ^ "Z Channel: Overlord". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  59. ^ Z-Channel Movie Opener. The Parallax View - Obsolete Video on YouTube
  60. ^ 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
  61. ^ "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) - Trailer". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  62. ^ "Z Channel break- December 1977". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  63. ^ JUNE 19 1987 Z VINTAGE MOVIE MAGAZINE FILMS OF STANLEY KUBRICK - ALIENS | Worthpoint.com
  64. ^ 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
  65. ^ Z Channel "Sleepers" intro - The Media Hoarder on YouTube
  66. ^ "Z Channel: The Important Thing is to Love". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  67. ^ 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
  68. ^ 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
  69. ^ 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
  70. ^ VINTAGE Z MAGAZINE. THE Z CHANNEL . LOT OF 5 | Worthpoint.com
  71. ^ "Z Channel Videodrome intro 1984". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2018-07-19.