Nick at Nite: Preparing Us for Netflix

I know. You’re thinking how is this possible? Netflix is about streaming what you want when you want it. More recently, it’s about new programming. Nick at Nite is about airing old network shows in syndication, and making us feel old for showing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Full House.

It’s because of one clever little marketing stunt (which Nick was always famous for): Block Party Summer.

Let’s go back —-

Summertime as a kid was the best time. Oh, sure, Christmas was great. But summer had that lasting impact.

Believe it or not, I spent a lot of time outdoors in the summer – swimming, biking, roller-blading, going on adventures with family and friends. But as much time as I spent outside, I spent just as much inside, watching TV. Movies, too. Mostly TV.

Each summer, my brother and I wordlessly developed a schedule of TV viewing. Mornings consisted of Nick Jr., The Price is Right, and Law & Order reruns, with an occasional movie thrown in. Afternoons after swimming would be Stick Stickley in the Afternoon, or another movie. Dinner, when not eating outside, would be Nick game shows or NBC sitcom reruns before the local news. And finally, after a full day of summer activities, we would settle in, hang the beach towels out to dry, and watch Nick at Nite’s Block Party Summer.

In July and August, for several years running, Nick at Nite would designate a day of the week with a marathon, 3 hours-ish, of  a specific show. I’ve always loved Nick at Nite’s promos. They were pretty genius. Each summer usually had it’s own jingle, too. Promos would typically have summery themes, like camp or a BBQ. Here are just a few days I remember:

Munster Mondays

Lucy Tuesdays

Bewitched Be-Wednesdays

Jeannie Thursdays

They changed over the years, though Lucy was a near-constant. Fridays were always oddballs – Welcome Back, Kotter, The Wonder Years, etc.

James and I loved these.

And on an Inception-y level, Nick at Nite prepared us for the Netflix binges of today. That’s why it’s not weird to watch 6 episodes in a row of one series — we’ve been doing it our whole lives, thanks to these and other Nick at Nite/TV Land marathons. And check out this promo:

“It’s Nick at Nite’s modern programming miracle! Instead of one ‘Mary,’ you get six in a row — ”

They knew the whole time this would be the future. Thank you, Nick at Nite. Thank you.

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