Although the listing scroll continues to be the major feature of the channel, TV Guide Network has repositioned itself as a destination channel for television news and information through their original series and specials, mainly because of on-screen electronic program guides provided by digital video recorders like TiVo, satellite services and cable boxes, and listings on the Internet, which offer the information in a speedier manner and with more detail than TVGN's grid listings. TV Guide offers its own EPG software on digital cable boxes, called TV Guide Interactive, which is similarly structured like TV Guide Network listings-wise.
A gridless version of the channel, featuring the channel in full-screen, is also provided to those providers who place the channel on a digital tier, where by the nature of having an on-screen program guide with the digital cable box, the channel's function would be duplicated, and the need for a guide channel for analog-only viewers is negated.
In 1985, a small independent 24-hour cable network called the Electronic program guide (or the EPG for short) was launched. The early years of the EPG had an on-screen program guide that covered the entire screen. The graphics from the old EPG version featured the same channel listing every half hour: at times, current listings were several minutes away. The 1985 to 1987 version featured a local text-based advertisement ticker on the bottom of the screen and live audio from a local FM radio station.
Then in 1988, the company known as Prevue Networks Inc. was established and the EPG was renamed Prevue Guide. The second version of the Prevue Guide's program grid was similar to the EPG's version, and it featured the "split-screen". In this case, the "split-screen" featured graphic and animated advertisements on the upper portion of the screen. The bottom portion showed the then shrunken program grid. Although some cable companies decided to keep the old EPG version, major ones that had larger numbers of viewers decided to upgrade to the Prevue Guide version.
In March 1993, Prevue Guide overhauled its presentation and the listing format. A "blue grid" replaced the older format. Shortly thereafter the name became the Prevue Channel. By 1995, a new logo and new graphics to go with it had been added to the channel. That same year, Prevue introduced their first digital Interactive Guide, which was from General Instruments. It was launched as part of TCI's first digital cable service. The 1995 logo stood the same on February 9, 1998, but the font changed. By that point on, new programs were added and some were updated. The 1998 logo lasted until one year later, in 1999, when it was renamed TV Guide Channel.
PrimeStar, the first DBS satellite system, carried the Prevue Channel in 1994. Unlike the Cable version, this channel carried the actual "blue grid", which doesn't scroll from the top and the bottom of the screen. Also, PrimeStar carried only eight channels, mostly for their programming lineup such as Movies, Sports, Family, Pay-Per-View and more. It lasted until late 1999, when PrimeStar was purchased by Hughes Electronics and the customer base was merged into DirecTV.
The Prevue Guide grid itself is similar to The Weather Channel's WeatherSTAR (which would provide local information from the cable company and live video feeds at the same time) and it physically ran on Amiga hardware and software. The guide was known to crash at times, leaving the Amiga "Guru Meditation" error overlaid on top of the listings. Other common errors included a C-Band listing failover, and a red box where the listings would normally be, simply stating that local listings would appear soon.
In 1997, Prevue Networks Inc. and United Video Satellite Group launched Prevue Online, an online service for local TV listings, audio/video interviews, and weather forecast. Another website Prevuenet, was launched as well to provide more history and useful information for the Prevue Channel, Sneak Prevue, UVTV, WGN Chicago, and WPIX New York. Also, Prevue was the first channel that introduced TV Ratings on their blue grid as well as the top on the screen.
In February 1999, United Video Satellite Group, parent company of Prevue Networks, bought TV Guide for $2 billion in stock and cash. Over the next 10 months, the newly renamed TV Guide Channel quickly transitioned. New graphics were in by midyear and a replacement for the blue grid which had presented listings on the channel for 6 years was operational by December. Some cable companies were still using the old blue grids until they were finally phased out in January 2000.
Ever since the Prevue Channel was bought by TV Guide, the programs on it have changed drastically. 'Shows' have been added to the TV Guide Network (see bottom). Shows can last from a few seconds to a couple hours (the longer shows take up the whole screen, making the scrolling grid smaller). Starting in 2005, Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa Rivers began providing coverage for television award events like The Emmy Awards and The Academy Awards. In 2007, the mother-daughter duo were unceremoniously dropped by TV Guide in favor of Lisa Rinna. Later in 2007, Rinna was joined by fellow Dancing with the Stars alumni Joey Fatone.
Also on the scrolling grid are ads and promotions for the local cable provider (their logo is shown at the end and beginning of the listings), which are usually preceded by local weather conditions. The weather data differs from that used on The Weather Channel's WeatherSTAR.
Because of Gemstar-TV Guide's dominant position in the listings market, on most websites the company provides listings for, TV Guide Network's listings appear on the topmost line, no matter which channel TVGN may be on. This is also the case within the print version of TV Guide.
Since the TV Guide Network isn't available with every cable service, services like IO Digital Cable and Bright House Networks have come up with their own scrolling grids, with IO having TV commercials for their service at a certain time (the other time just has still ads with music playing), but up in the right hand corner in a small screen and Bright House having a local news station as a "show", and the screen is set up like IO's.
DIRECTV did not start carrying the TV Guide Network until 2004. The network has been shown in full-screen since 2005.
This is also the case with DISH Network, as of 2006 the channel has gone full screen due to the fact that the on screen program guide is TV Guide branded.
During the network's red carpet coverage of awards shows and the network's primetime original series, the video from the event/show is shown full-screen, with a two line transparent non-scrolling grid along the bottom third of the screen showing a reduced version of the regular TV Guide Network listings, with truncated show titles only. An 800 number comment line also appears on the top line of these listings, which directs viewers to leave feedback about the listing style for TV Guide Network's future reference.
On April 30, 2007, Gemstar-TV Guide announced that as of June 4, 2007, the Channel would be re-branded as TV Guide Network, according to the press release, saying the move "reflects the continued evolution of the Channel from primarily a utility service, to a more fully developed television guidance and entertainment network with a continued commitment to high quality programming."
In some markets such as Denver's Comcast system, the network is available only with digital cable service, although many cable providers also use TV Guide Network's channel space as a default Emergency Alert System conduit to transmit warning information for their service areas, as its programming is considered non-critical.
With the acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide by Macrovision on May 2, 2008, that company, which purchased Gemstar-TV Guide to mostly take advantage of their lucrative and profitable VCR+ and electronic program guide patents, has stated they are possibly looking to sell both the channel and namesake magazine to other parties.
The type of show categories are highlighted by colors on the screen:
During the time around the Emmys, shows that have been nominated are highlighted in gold. Same goes for the Oscars, except only movies that have won in the past. Other special shows, for example, like shows on Discovery Channel's Shark Week have a bubbly-water scheme, referring to the ocean, or close to Halloween, horror movies have spiderwebs in the scheme, and Holiday movies shown in December are blue with what looks like snow hanging at the top. Similar important shows and/or premieres have similar schemes to their grid space.
Note: on the older versions before the yellow grid came out in late 1999, the colors for the sports programs were not added at the time. Also, when the teal-green grid came out in early 2004, the color for the children's programs were added.
In addition to paid programming that airs from late morning-early afternoon, the TV Guide Network has many original series that air during primetime.
-Hosted by Lisa Joyner
-Hosted by Ken Taylor
-Hosted by Katie Wagner
-Hosted by Katie Wagner
-Hosted by Debbie Matenopoulos
The Prevue Channel spun-off another network, exclusively for pay-per-view programming, Sneak Prevue in 1991. TV Guide ceased operations of Sneak Prevue in 2002.