Nick At Nite – What Happened?

19 Nov

It all started in the early 90’s as a young middle school kid in Lindsborg, Kansas.  Being new to the area, I actually developed friendships relatively fast and adapted to the environment of small town living quite successfully.  I had many interactions, and wasn’t alone.  However, one of the interactions that I had back then that I fondly remember and often times reminisce about is watching programs on the television.  Not just any programs, but “classic” television via the incredible Nick At Nite television broadcast that aired from 8pm to 7am on Nickelodeon.

I would wake up early (sometimes around 4 or 5 AM) on any given morning – school or not – because our new puppy, Baxter, would often want to go outside.  This leads to how I initially discovered the shows.

Being new to cable (we didn’t have it until I was eleven and in Lindsborg) I stumbled upon the “classic” shows like My Three Sons, Bewitched, The Munsters, Mork and Mindy, Taxi, Donna Reed and so forth by flipping on the television when I couldn’t go back to sleep (knowing I’d have to wake up anyway around 7 or so for school).  So, these were all new to me.  Very new – even though they were fairly old shows.

There was something very theraputic and intriguing about the shows.  No, I didn’t need therapy then (well, as far as I knew) but there was a nice nitch of characters on all of these classics that somehow I could relate to.  And the silly way they were all pieced together back then in the line up that they had, sucked me in even more.  It was as if they greeted me every time I tuned in as well with their saying, “Hello out there from TV land!”.  I was welcomed in the club!  I was a Nick At Nite junkie.

I soon started getting up on my own around 4am (meaning the tables would turn and I’d wake up Baxter) and settle in on the couch for some helpings of the classics.  Nick At Nite was intriguing with their marketing as well.  They had catchy, clever commercials promoting themselves, funny cartoons drawn in the early 50’s style and an overall sense of you weren’t just watching an everyday programming lineup, but you were really part of something here.

I did this for a regular basis AT LEAST through 7th grade.  I think it’s about that time I was too wrapped up in other activities and mornings became my mortal enemy.  With pros and cons in hand, Nick At Nite lost out to my sleeping schedule.

And it was weird, because the only time I was interested in the shows were in the early morning.  If something of the same likes came on mid-afternoon or in the evening, I wouldn’t want to watch them.  There was something about Nick At Nite that only worked for me from 4 am until around 6 am.  And it was the whole combination of things (the commercials, the line up and the morning) that made it work.  I guess it could be compared to how many people can only read the newspaper in the morning with their coffee.

At any rate, I stopped watching it in the mornings.  And then, years later, I was feeling the itch to watch again.  And then I discovered something disturbing…

Nick At Nite went to hell.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw their television lineup as of recently.  Blocks of RECENT television shows like Everyone Hates Chris, Home Improvement, The Nanny, etc.  What the…

What happened?!  They had no catchy, classic commercials either.  And it’s now even branded with the ugly, orange Nickalodeon logo with the words switched around to “Nick At Nite” with a silly, splatter surrounding them.  Absolutely awful with nothing unique to offer what-so-ever.

Where’s the barking Lassie  off to save Timmy from a burning barn?  Where’s the Donna Reed?  Please tell me you didn’t get rid of the silly Munsters as well?  Or the classic Saturday Night Live reruns that had all the greats (Chevy Chase, Jim Belushi, etc.)?

They did.

I guess from a marketing standpoint, they had to do what they had to do.  I’m telling you though, early 90’s (and probably before that, it’s just I wasn’t watching then) it was a very special television station for early morning viewing.  I feel actually a little privilaged that I was exposed to such shows.  I couldn’t imagine any kids today every intrigued by the same material that’s on the airwaves nowadays.

I still question what it was about the early morning experience that was so intriguing?  Was it just being alone with my dog knowing that there were probably not many other people doing the same thing I was doing?  Was it the actual shows that made it something I still fondly remember?  I don’t know.  Mysterious.  And like I mentioned, though I enjoy the programs, it’s not like I’d watch them if they were on today in the afternoons.  However, I could still go for a good Nick At Nite morning on certain days.

Things have changed now.  Obviously, I’m a bit older (just a bit, of course), married and live in a different enviroment.  So, even though – if Nick At Nite were the same as it was – I doubt I’d be watching that much, it would still be a comfortable feeling knowing it’s out there still.

I’m no couch potato, and not even a television fan in general, but there was a time when Nick At Nite was honest “classic” television reruns that filled a unique void in the television set.  Google “What Happened to Nick At Nite” and you’ll see that I’m not alone.  YouTube has hundreds of videos with the old, early 90’s commercials on them (which I’ve posted a few on here).  It had a cult-like following, so during that time when I felt like I was on my own watching, I guess I wasn’t.

I hope a lineup of what they used to have appears again soon, but I’m doubtful.  With shows like Minute to Win It, Dancing With the Stars and other reality nonsense out there, I’m sensing that peoples attention span to the classics has been dulled down so much, there’s not a market for the classic Nick At Nite.

Until then, I will not be waking up early to catch hours of The Nanny.

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5 Responses to “Nick At Nite – What Happened?”

  1. Bearman November 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    When your kids are old enough they will wonder why Nick doesn’t show the classics like everybody hates chris..haha

    • Nate Fakes November 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

      True. I guess there will be a point in time where it will be a matter of what is called a “classic”. I think it’s a little premature right now for them to show Everybody Hates Chris though! I mean, how old is that show? (By the way, I hate Chris, too.)

  2. DadaHyena November 19, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    They did WHAT?!! “Everybody hates Chris” is on Nick and Nite now?! Aw, @##$%!!!!

    I, too, fondly remember Nick at Nite, mainly for The Munsters and Get Smart (surprised you didn’t mention that one) and also for those animated segments (“someone called out for recess–RECESS! It’s time for Nick at Nite!”).

    The last I had heard of the station was that they had added ‘Roseanne’ and ‘Cheers’, which felt kind of surreal since I thought they were only supposed to show “old” programs (and I’m going to cover my ears and go “la la la la” if anyone reminds me of the fact that I, too, am getting older).

    What’s next, Project Runway?

    • Nate Fakes November 24, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

      I wouldn’t be shocked to see Project Runway appearing soon.

      I really hope they go back to the way they were a few decades ago (ugh, now I feel about as old as the shows!)

  3. Brittany July 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    I agree Nick at Nite used to be amazing and I am deeply saddened that it changed. I even made an online petition once to try and help encourage it to change back

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