The Z Channel was one of the first pay television stations in the United States. Launched in 1974 from Los Angeles, California, this station was known for its devotion to the art of cinema due to the eclectic choice of films by the programming chief, Jerry Harvey. It also 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 important influence on such directors as Robert Altman, Quentin Tarantino, and Jim Jarmusch.
|Closed||29 June 1989|
|Owned by||Theta Cable (1974–1981)|
Group W (1981–1987)
Rock Associates (1987–1988)
American Spectacor (1988–1989)
|Broadcast area||Southern California|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Replaced by||SportsChannel Los Angeles|
Z Channel was launched in 1974 by Theta Cable (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.    
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 and 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. 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. 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 and was replaced by SportsChannel Los Angeles. The last film shown on Z Channel was the John Ford film My Darling Clementine.
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).
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Cassavetes directed 2004 documentary, Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, which explores the historic influence of the cable television station Z Channel. The film won acclaim, and screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2012, Cassavetes wrote and directed her first dramatic feature, vampire tale Kiss of the Damned.Channel 3 (Thailand)
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The station, with the slogan "We're in it for the music, not the money," features only two commercial breaks per hour 24/7 on weekdays plus 26 hours of weekend syndicated programming, including:
[SATURDAY] 6AM-The Car Show, 7AM-Dick Clark's Rock, Roll and Remember, 11AM-Sammy Hagar's Top Rock Countdown, 12PM-The Acoustic Storm with Jeff Parets, 1PM-The Classic Hit List with MG Kelly and 4PM-The Classics with Steve Downes.
[SUNDAY] 6AM-Hot Rod Radio USA with Wings Kalahan, 8AM-Goddard's Gold with Steve Goddard, 11AM-Off the Record with Uncle Joe Benson, 12PM-Get The Led Out with Carol Miller, 1PM-Little Steven's Underground Garage with Little Steven Van Zandt, 3PM-Floydian Slip with Craig Bailey and 4PM-Blues Deluxe with Dave Johnson.
[WEEKDAYS] 6-10AM: The Dennis Michaels Dog And Pony Show includes music features, goofy stories, daily listener emails and requests, The Old Farmer's Almanac, Dick Clark's Music Calendar, The Prime Comedy Cut and Stupid News. Other daily features include Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline and A Better Life with Sonjay Gupta.
WESTWOOD ONE RADIO NEWS full five minute reports air weekdays at 8AM, 10AM, 12PM, 2PM and 5PM. One minute updates air at the bottom of every hour, 24/7 (weekend times float with programming).
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A Z-channel is a communications channel used in coding theory and information theory to model the behaviour of some data storage systems.Z Channel (disambiguation)
Z Channel is one of the first pay cable stations in the United States.
Z Channel may also refer to:
Z (TV channel), a French-language Canadian TV network sometimes called Z Channel (Fr. Canal Z)
Z-channel (information theory), a communications channel used in coding theory and information theory
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession, a 2004 documentary about the pay cable station
|Related television networks|
Premium television services in the United States
Movie-oriented television services in the United States