In the song I recorded several months ago with the Oak Ridge Boys called “Gone Away,” I lamented the loss of several people, places, and things connected to country music.
In one of the lines, I sang about the TV show, “Nashville Now,” and “TNN,” the former Nashville Network, as being “gone away.”
Well, to borrow from an old bluegrass song, it turns out these two icons were not dead at all. They were only a-sleepin’.
I was flipping through the channels yesterday when I came upon the “new” Nashville Network which is, actually, the “old” Nashville Network. Old shows from back in the eighties and nineties, stars who are no longer with us, and Lorianne Crook in every possible incarnation….with long hair, shorter hair, darker hair, lighter hair….interviewing celebrities and cooking in the kitchen. Except I happen to know that Lorianne can’t cook a lick. She only pretends to be cooking.
But, all that aside, I can’t turn the channel off. Just this morning I’ve seen Dottie West talking about teaching her daughter, Shelley West, how to make fudge. I’ve seen old clips of Minnie Pearl talking to Porter Wagoner, and Shania Twain with poofed-up hair ‘way before she had hit records, became a sex symbol, or ever thought about riding a horse onto the strip in Las Vegas. And I’ve seen myself hosting an episode of “Country’s Family Reunion” that was recorded only last year.
Even the old TNN logo with the red background and the white headstock of an acoustical guitar is ever present on the screen. I used to have a whole bunch of TNN belt buckles, and I know many of you did as well. Maybe they’ll even start selling them again. I hope so.
Who do we have to thank for this? None other than Lorianne Crook’s husband, veteran television producer, Jim Owens. When he found out that the Gaylord Corporation, former owners of TNN, let the copyrights to the name and the logo expire, he swept in and grabbed them up. He already had a vault full of old TNN programming that he had been collecting over the years. Finally, he partnered with some TV distribution folks out of Chattanooga, and voila, The Nashville Network rides into our living rooms again!
It’s on Comcast Cable’s Channel 230 here in Nashville, and on various low-power TV stations and cable outlets all around the country. If you haven’t found it yet in your area, start looking for it. I’m not much of a television watcher, but is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. And yet, I’ve seen much of it before. It just looks different….and better….the second time around.
And, Lorianne, hug your husband for all of us. I know he’s not been in the best of health lately, but all of us who love and miss traditional country music owe him a big debt of thanks. And, hey, I like your hair any way you want to wear it. It doesn’t matter. You’ll always look a darn sight better than that ole Charlie Chase!