BIG Network is a new television network in the United States that was announced on November 22, 2013 and was launched on January 1, 2015. The network is currently owned and operated by BIG Corporation.
BIG Network airs programming targeted to younger audiences, hoping that BIG Network will strengthen into an eighteenth "major" broadcast network, competing at the same level as GBN, RKO Network, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Paramount Network, ABN, New Line, MGM, UATV, DuMont Network, RDN, Import, DBC, TNT and The CW. BIG Network will also offer news and sports programs to affiliates.
BIG Network will initally be based around the 600 Independent stations owned by BIG Corporation. These stations combine to reach 80 percent of the United States. It is estimated that the new network will eventually reach 95 percent of the United States. The initial 600 stations have signed 10 year affiliation agreements with BIG Network. To date, no other station groups or individual stations have officially been signed with BIG Network, although many expect to in the near future.
The new network provides 16 hours of prime-time programming to the newly affiliated stations, 8-10pm Monday to Friday (all times ET/PT) and 7-10pm on Saturday and Sunday. Programming is also provided between 5-7pm Sundays (under the "Big Repeat" name), 3-5pm weekday afternoons, and a five-hour Saturday morning animation block with reruns of/newly-made programming provided by DHX Media, Viz Media, Funimation, and Klasky-Csupo called "BIG Adventures" (some shows in the block include, but are not limited to: Splaat, Inspector Gadget, Dragon Ball Z Kai, Gadget Boy & Heather, Gadget Boy's Adventures in History, Inspector Gadget's Field Trip, Pysko Ferret, Sailor Moon, and Street Sharks).
Repercussions of BIG Network
Along with the launch of GBN, the launch of BIG Network will most likely cause the largest single shakeup of U.S. broadcast television since the Fox / New World Communications alliance of 1994 and the subsequent launch of UPN and The WB themselves the following year. While it may affect more markets, it is unlikely to cause the same degree of viewer confusion as, it appears, no affiliates of the five major networks will be affected.
In some of the smallest markets only one network is present, or both networks' programming are found on a single station, in which case the transition should be relatively straightforward. In other cases, excluding markets served by the Tribune and CBS stations, the affiliation will likely be determined by negotiation.
It is possible that all of BIG Corporation's Independent stations will become BIG Network affiliates when BIG Network launches.