The State of Classic TV on TV: January 2016

[October 10th, 2016 Update: The information in this post is outdated. See this post for the latest schedule updates for Me-TV, Antenna TV, Cozi TV, and other diginets.

There was a time a few years ago when I foolishly thought I could keep track of all the digital specialty networks like Antenna TV, MeTV and Cozi TV that air classic television programming. This was around mid-2013. I was very wrong. It’s hard to even remember how many classic TV diginets there are, let alone what shows they’re airing and when schedules are being overhauled or altered. I only get a few of them via cable or over-the-air. At some point, I had to stop trying to report all the schedule changes. It just didn’t make sense to spend so much time and energy when so few short-lived or halfway forgotten TV shows are actually airing on any of these networks.

However, I know there is a lot of interest in these classic TV networks. So, I’ve decided to occasionally publish general updates with the latest information on schedules and programming additions. Perhaps every six months or so. I’m kicking things off this month with “The State of Classic TV on TV: January 2016 Edition” examining the latest changes affecting diginets Retro TV, The Family Channel, Me-TV, Antenna TV, Cozi TV, getTV, Heroes & Icons, and Decades.

Not included in this overview are diginets This TV, Laff, Escape, The Works, Buzzr, Grit, or Comet. These networks feature mostly movies, game shows, or primarily TV shows from the 1980s and 1990s. However, some of them do air limited classic TV programming. For example, This TV airs The Addams Family and Sea Hunt; Grit airs Laramie and Zane Grey Theater; and Comet airs Men into Space.

Retro TV (Launched July 2005)

Retro TV introduced its Winter 2016 schedule on December 28th, 2015. It mostly airs popular classic TV shows like Bonanza, Dragnet, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Route 66 but also airs several more recent shows in prime time (Cold Squad and Da Vinci’s Inquest). It also airs Movin’ On (NBC, 1974-1976).

In 2015, Retro TV added Mister Peepers, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Police Surgeon, and The Jerry Lewis Show to its schedule. Only The Jerry Lewis Show and Police Surgeon appear to still be airing on the network. Retro TV also continues to air episodes of the NBC soap opera The Doctors as well as Doctor Who and Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The Family Channel (Launched December 2008)

Formerly known as My Family TV, The Family Channel is co-owned by Luken Communications, the same company that operates Retro TV. It debuted a new schedule on December 28th, 2015 that focuses primarily on general entertainment, health, outdoors, and wellness programming. It does air some classic TV shows, including Route 66, The Beverly Hillbillies, I Married Joan, Naked City, and Movin’ On.

Me-TV (Launched December 2010)

Of all the classic TV networks in existence, I have the hardest time keeping up with Me-TV. It seems to change its schedule more often than any of the others. It introduced a new schedule on January 4th that saw Mama’s Family and The Patty Duke Show join the network. On February 8th, Me-TV will overhaul hits schedule with the addition of The Incredible Hulk and Diagnosis Murder, plus the return of The Twilight Zone and Kojak. Several shows will be leaving, including Quincy, M.E., Route 66, and Naked City. A half-dozen other shows will move to new times. A full rundown of the February changes can be found here.

Otherwise, it looks like Me-TV continues to air the same mix of big name classics: M*A*S*H, Bonanza, Happy Days, Batman, Hogan’s Heroes, Star Trek, and The Andy Griffith Show. The network continues to offer affiliates the choice to air The Rebel on Saturday mornings or educational/instructional programming.

Antenna TV (Launched January 2011)

Antenna TV’s January 2016 schedule went into effect on on January 1st. The big news for the diginet is the addition of “full” episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. According to a Variety.com article from August 2015, the episodes will be “as intact as possible” with new licensing/residual agreements for musical performances being negotiated for each episode. 90-minute episodes from the 1970s air on Saturdays and Sundays from 10-11:30PM ET while hour-long episodes from the 1980s and 1990s air weeknights from 11PM-12AM ET.

Also joining Antenna TV in January are Dear John and Mork & Mindy. Returning shows include McHale’s Navy, Leave It to Beaver, Gidget, and The Monkees. Shows leaving the network either temporarily or for good include Married with Children, The Flying Nun, and Diff’rent Strokes. One season wonders It’s About Time and My Mother The Car, which joined Antenna TV in September of this year, remain on the schedule.

Cozi TV (Launched January 2013)

A complete list of changes to Cozi’s schedule for Winter 2016 can be found here. The diginet is only adding one new show: The A-Team. Among the shows being removed are The Name of the Game, Dragnet, and Run for Your Life. Returning shows include It Takes a Thief, The Virginian, Charlie’s Angels, and The Six Million Dollar Man.

getTV (Launched February 2014)

getTV has made big strides in the past five months. It used to feature an all-movie format. In September 2015, it added three western TV series: Nichols, Hondo, and A Man Called Shenandoah. Three more were added the following month: The Tall Man, Whispering Smith, and Laredo. Also in October, getTV debuted a Monday-night block of variety and talk shows featuring The Judy Garland Show and The Merv Griffin Show, plus a rotating mix of musical variety specials and episodes from variety shows like The Perry Como Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Jim Nabors Hour, and more. The current weekly getTV schedule can be found here.

Heroes & Icons (Launched September 2014)

Heroes & Icons is owned by Weigel Broadcasting, the same company that operates Me-TV. Its Winter 2016 schedule went into effect on January 18th. It airs a mix of classic TV shows and more recent fare like The Pretender, The Commish, The White Shadow, and Hill Street Blues. Among the classic TV shows it airs are The Guns of Will Sonnett, Have Gun Will Travel, Combat!, The Saint, 12 O’Clock High, and one season wonders The Rebel and Stagecoach West. At some point this year all five live-action Star Trek TV shows will join Heroes & Icons.

Decades (Launched October 2014)

Decades is co-owned by CBS Corporation and Weigel Broadcasting (which operates Me-TV and Heroes & Icons). It takes a very different approach to its schedule by airing a daily six-hour block of programming related to a single theme. The block features a mix of movies, documentaries, and classic TV shows and is repeated four times each day. Interstitial material examines that day’s theme, as does an original series called Through the Decades (hosted by Bill Kurtis) that features archival CBS News footage.

On weekends, Decades airs “binge” marathons of classic TV shows. Among the shows it has aired are Kojak, The Brady Bunch, The Millionaire, I Love Lucy, The Big Valley, The Mothers-in-Law, and The Doris Day Show. The current schedule for Decades can be found here.

Be sure to hit the comments with any corrections or comments.


16 Comments

  • Lurky McLurkson says:

    Love how these channel’s shows are tagged as ‘repeat’ in the digital listings.
    I hardly ever look at the all-‘Rifleman’…I mean, Me-TV anymore.

  • Corein says:

    I grew up watching these modern classic sitcoms and would live to see these awesome shows rerun for us younger generation to enjoy. Eight Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughters, Life With Jim, Friends, Seinfeld, Wings, Two Guys A Girl And A Pizza Place, The New Adventures Of Old Christine, Suddenly Susan, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Drew Carey Show.

    • Patrick McNamara says:

      The rights for many newer shows are likely going to make them unaffordable by these stations, especially shows like Seinfeld, Friends, Rosie O’Donnell and Drew Carey.

  • Lori says:

    Drew Carey can be currently seen on Laff.Most of Laff’s programming is from the 1990s and some of the other programs on the network include Spin City, Grace Under Fire, and Ellen.

  • Lori says:

    I also want to mention that Dish Network subscribers can watch gettv on channel 373. It is available on all subscription packages.

  • Lori says:

    Finally, this column is a great idea. I used to keep up on all the diginet programs on a blog called TV Classics Are Us. It disappeared suddenly last November.

  • James M. Beer says:

    And now you can watch Cimarron City on get TV on Saturday afternoons as part of its classic TV westerns line-up.

  • Susan Clark says:

    Ironside is such a great series, but ME-TV refuses to return it to their schedule. My only hope is that one of the other retro stations will pick it up.

  • Lan says:

    You should forget trying to hope for these shows to surface on other channels. It gets rather tiresome waiting for them to be acquired and then its some death time slot like 3am once every Sunday.

  • Sheila says:

    Our cable provider added MeTV to their lineup last year and I’m loving it. I love that MeTV schedules (or try to schedule) classic TV shows close to their original air date and time, such as the Happy Days/Laverne & Shirley block airing back-to-back on Tuesday nights, just as they did back in the 70s/80s. By scheduling shows like this, MeTV ramps up the nostalgia quotient. I also love discovering ‘new’ old shows, such Perry Mason and Rockford Files. Great channel.

  • Apophis99 says:

    GetTV has added S.W.A.T, Airwolf, Riptide and The Equalizer to their weekday schedule.

  • Dorothy Greggs says:

    Decade TV. I love watching,but it has been without a signal for 2hours now. This is my 3 son week. Why does this always happen ! I’m a senior and on limited income, so I can’t get direct or dish TV. I wish you could help!!!! Please.

  • Bob says:

    I remember watching the ABC drama “Family” that starred Sada Thompson and James Broderick, when I was a child. I always liked the show and wondered why it was never rerun. There are some episodes of the first season 76-77 on YouTube, but that’s it. I think that this Spelling-Goldberg gem deserves to be back in syndication.

    Also, another childhood favorite of mine was Gary Marshall’s lovable, short lived,1979-80 ABC sitcom, “Angie” that starred Donna Pescow and Robert Hays. I was told NIck at Nite ran this series several years ago, unfortunately I didn’t have cable TV back then. I’d sure love to see this series rerun again. Any chance?

  • Sam says:

    MeTV is now airing classic TV shows in semi-widescreen in total disregard for how they looked when they originally aired. They partially crop the picture on the top and bottom and then make the image larger to fill more (but not quite completely) of the modern TV screen. I hate that. But it looks like that’s the future of classic TV stations. Classic TV, a true American art form, continues to be treated with astonishingly little respect.Thank god for DVD’s, even if some releases aren’t what they should be in terms of accuracy.

    • Basil says:

      Holy Apple Powerbook, Batman!
      That’s right, they are cropping 4:3 programs to a 3:2 aspect ratio. It started on August 12.

  • Robert says:

    I recently published The State of Classic TV on TV: October 2016 so I’m closing comments on this post. Please see that post for the latest schedule changes for MeTV, Cozi TV, Antenna TV, and other diginets airing classic TV shows.