CBS and Weigel Launching New Classic TV Diginet Called Decades in 2015

The CBS Television Stations group and Weigel Broadcasting have announced plans to launch a new classic television digital specialty network — or diginet — called Decades during the second quarter of 2015. It will air on the 16 CBS owned-and-operated stations as well as any other stations that Weigel can sign affiliation agreements with. It will likely also be available via cable and satellite. According to an official press release published by the futon critic, Decades will feature more than 100 series, including classics like I Love Lucy, Star Trek, Happy Days, and Cheers, as well as feature films and made-for-TV movies.

Additionally, Decades will also feature content from the CBS News and Entertainment Tonight libraries. Unlike similar diginets like Me-TV and Antenna TV, Decades will air different shows and movies every day. From the press release:

DECADES will take viewers into a daily time capsule presentation of entertainment, popular culture and news. The service will feature DECADES RETROSPECTICALSM, a daily one-hour program that will be produced around the news events and cultural touchstones of a specific day, week or other time frame or theme. The TV series and movies presented each day will reflect that day’s theme or commemorative event.

For example, DECADES will look back at classic series such as HAPPY DAYS and its “jump the shark” episode, explain its historical significance and then broadcast that episode. Viewers will also be taken back in time to rediscover events that shaped our world, such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, the Beatles’ U.S. debut on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW and the birth of software and technology companies like Microsoft and Apple. DECADES will connect these events to what people were watching on television, seeing at the movies and experiencing as a nation.

The press release doesn’t offer much in the way of detail but of course it is just an announcement. Hopefully more information about Decades will be made available in the next few months. While I’d love to see Decades go the TCM route and air everything uncut and commercial free that’s never going to happen. I’m intrigued at the inclusion of archival footage from CBS News, and to a less extant from Entertainment Tonight, because it’s rare that old news reports, specials and documentaries are rebroadcast.

Increased competition in the already crowded classic TV diginet business could also finally lead to less well-known shows being dusted off and aired. All those hours have to be filled somehow. We’re probably never going to see truly obscure or short-lived shows. But we could certainly see more shows like Mr. Lucky, The Rebel, Banacek, The Deputy, and The Name of the Game would be nice. Those are all shows that are airing either on Me-TV or Cozi TV.

(Speaking of Me-TV, operated by Weigel Broadcasting, it currently airs a number of shows from the CBS library. Will they be pulled from Me-TV to become Decades exclusives?)

Decades will join Antenna TV, Cozi TV, Me-TV, and Retro TV, all of which focus heavily on classic TV shows, as well as This TV, FamilyNet, Bounce TV, and INSP, which also air some classic TV shows. In late September, Weigel launched Heroes & Icons, a new diginet with only a handful of affiliates that airs shows like Cannon, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Wild Wild West, and Wagon Train. And there’s The QUAD TV Networks, a proposed group of four classic TV diginets each focusing on a different decade that was announced in June 2013 but was put on hold in August 2014.


20 Comments

  • Hey, I’m all for more options on my satellite dish (rather have tons of retro channels than shopping networks) but why the hell don’t they include rare shows?

    Why not team a popular rerun show with a little seen/rare show? Like, have an hour block of “Hogan’s Heroes” with occasional (because they only made 13 episodes) episodes of “Chicago Teddy Bears” since they both starred John Banner. Or episodes of “Roll Out” with “M*A*S*H”?

    This is a great opportunity to not only ride the wave of this retro-TV (fad? craze?) but also expose/uncover old rarely seen gems. Or rarely seen dogs, I mean these shows were only aired once, how do we know if they were good or bad? Something tells me that a lousy episode of “Me & the Chimp” couldn’t be any worse than a lousy episode of “Welcome Back Kotter”.

    Come on , how else am I EVER going to get a chance to see any of those 13 episodes of “Hot L Baltimore” again? I was on;y 14 years old when they first (ad only) ran.

    • David says:

      I totally agree with you, Richard.

    • Robert says:

      If Decades is truly going to be a different type of diginet, not showing the same shows every day, then maybe there will be room for short-lived shows like Roll Out that should be easily accessible (i.e. no need to pull prints or transfer very old videotapes). Roll Out aired on BET in the late 1980s, I believe, so presumably there are copies somewhere.

      (Roll Out was produced by 20th Century Fox Television, though, so wouldn’t the rights still be with them and not CBS?)

  • Chuck Collins says:

    It sounds as if they will simply be repackaging most of the programmes ME-TV and CBS\Paramount have already shown ad nauseum over the years instead of anything we have not seen recently.

  • joe says:

    hi classic series 2015 what about

    series like
    Family
    family affair
    Ben a bear and a small boy
    grizzly adams
    littlee house on the prairie,use to be on free tv
    courtchip of eddies father
    project UFO
    SKIPPY THE KANGAROO
    Salvage 1
    my favorite martian black white series
    flyin nun flipper

    love to see 2.2 newest channel pick up on theese series..

  • jerri says:

    i don’t understand why we need another me or me too tv. there are hundreds on tv shows from the 40’s to now. why not show obscure shows that have never been seen before. i certainly won’t watch it if they don’t

  • Holly says:

    I absolutely love Decades! The shows they are airing were on when I was a child. Nowhere else have I been able to find some of the shows they are airing. I love that they air continuous episodes of a show.They are wholesome family shows.They bring back so many memories. I hope to be watching Decades for a very long time. Keep up the great work.

  • Janet says:

    How about shows like FBI or Mod Squad?

  • Joseph says:

    Between July 16th and 24th of this year (2015), could Decades rebroadcast all 60 or so hours of CBS News’ coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing 46 years to the minute that the coverage originally aired?

    Supposedly, CBS has tapes of almost all of it’s space coverage of the 1960s and 1970s in its archives.

  • booboo says:

    Hi I’m in nyc just got Decades in January I luv it. LUVV the Lucy Gomer Pyle Untouchables and now watching Naked City. Can’t wait for Dark Shadows Twilight zone and the Fugitive. Thanks

  • Kim Baxter says:

    I’m watching Mission impossible right now and love it! I hope you do Leave it to Beaver too!

  • Peaches says:

    When will Family Affair air

  • Alex says:

    It would to see pass episodes of detective shows like Mike Hammer or SPENCER FOR HIRE.

  • Joseph Blake says:

    Waiting for The Fugitive, Harry O, and Richard Diamond, yes I am a fan of the late David Janssen. As for classic old TV series, it brings back memories to see them again or to see episodes that I missed.

  • Robert Wiesman says:

    Someone finaly shows the one hour “Twilight Zone” episodes, and you put most of them on after midnight, while everyone is sleeping. Please show them again in “prime time”.

  • Corein says:

    I want to see the modern classics from the late 80s, 90s and early 2000s. There were so many awesome shows made back then. The modern shows are way better than the 60s kitch.

  • Stephen Ritchings says:

    Just watched another episode of Dick Cavett. Why do the producers of Decades not think viewers would want to know the date of the original broadcast ?

    It’s like reading a great history text, without any confirmation of what year — or decade — anything in particular happened . Frustrating !

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