Classic TV on TV: Antenna TV

The FFC mandated transition to digital television allowed stations to begin broadcasting digital subchannels in addition to their primary channel. Depending on the market, subchannels are available over-the-air (i.e. 30.1, 30.2, 30.3) as well as on cable. Over the next few days I’ll be examining a number of what I call “classic television digital specialty networks” which are distributed primarily via digital subchannels. In most cases, affiliates have the option of taking some or all of the national feed, meaning their schedules may not match the national schedule.

Antenna TV

Launched: January 2011
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Although it has aired dramas in the past, Antenna TV currently broadcasts sitcoms exclusively along with repeats of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It has also in the past aired movies under the “Antenna TV Theater” banner. Educational/instructional programs air Saturday mornings from 9AM-1PM ET. The network has affiliates in roughly 130 markets covering nearly 90% of the country. Tribune Broadcasting owns the network.

Most of the TV shows airing on Antenna TV are from the 1950s through the 1980s. As of September 2016, the network airs shows like McHale’s Navy, Good Times, All in the Family, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Green Acres, Gidget, Dennis the Menace, Barney Miller, Three’s Company, Family Ties, Small Wonder, Dear John and Family Ties.

Antenna TV also airs It’s About Time and My Mother the Car.

Antenna TV Promotional Spot

In January 2016, Antenna TV added repeats of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Due to copyright concerns it airs under the name Johnny Carson. Episodes from the 1970s air on weeknights while episodes from the 1980s and 1990s air on weekdays.

The network announced in September 2016 it will add nine sitcoms at some point in 2017, including Becker, Growing Pains, Alice, My Two Dads, and My Two Dads.

A Brief Review

Antenna TV is one of the digital subchannels I receive over-the-air or via cable. I don’t watch it much. Back in May 2013, I recorded and timed several episodes to determine if they’re edited. Here are the results:

Sampling of Antenna Episode Lengths, May 2013

Hazel – 22:18
Crisis (aka Suspense Theatre) #1 – 50:19
Crisis (aka Suspense Theatre) #2 – 50:20
McHale’s Navy – 25:26
Bachelor Father – 25:29
Father Knows Best – 22:36
Dennis the Menace – 22:31

The episode lengths for Crisis (aka Suspense Theatre), McHale’s Navy, and Bachelor Father suggest they are uncut. Hazel, Father Knows Best, and Dennis the Menace, on the other hand, appear to have been cut by about three minutes each.

Originally, Antenna TV didn’t feature an on-screen bug in the corner although local affiliates occasionally threw up station identification as required by the FCC. The closing credits to all of the above programs were likewise shown without being squeezed for a promotional spot and without a voiceover. In mid-2015, however, it began squeezing closing credits to most, if not all, of its shows. And in the fall of 2015, Antenna TV began using an on-screen bug.

Antenna TV Promotional Spot

Example of Antenna TV’s on-screen bug.
Antenna TV Promotional Spot

Example of closing credits being squeezed.

From what I’ve seen, commercial breaks feature little in the way of promotion for Antenna TV.

If you’re an Antenna TV viewer, hit the comments with your thoughts.

Revised September 23rd, 2016

31 Replies to “Classic TV on TV: Antenna TV”

  1. When we first started getting Antenna TV around these parts,was my favorite station.There wasnt even any contest.But just in the past month,they replaced timeless classics like Leave It To Beaver,Dragnet,and Adam 12 with drivel like Married With Children and The Nanny.I find that very disturbing,for these new additions arent from the Classic TV era,and I didnt even like them when they first ran.TV Land got to where they are today by starting to mix a few newer shows in with the old classics,will have to see how this turns out.Are still some good shows on Antenna TV,just not as many as there were.Luckily,just recently started to get Cozi TV here.Are a few old favorites on there,like Lone Ranger and Lassie.

  2. Their movie library seems to be exclusively Sony. I’ve enjoyed quite a few of the old Columbia B-movies from the 30’s-50’s on the channel. Unfortunately, the station showing it here in Miami, FL is cramming together *3* sub-channels along with a 1080i main channel so the macroblocking is horrendous in action scenes.

  3. Wouldn’t it be a kick and a treat to play cartoons that aired at that time along with old commercials that aired within the program? Us “Baby Boomers” would sure appreciate someone took the time to think about it, you guys play to many “sue these bastards” commercials, who needs extra stress with all that goes on these days? For those that miss Leave it to Beaver and any others that AnTv stopped playing, there is another channel called “MeTv” that also plays all the oldies. I love my classic television and I hope to be able to still see these shows until the day I die.

    1. Old cartoons yes the classics old MGM cartoons and of course Looney Tunes. The originals not the newer ones.

  4. Hmm. I seem to find more classics on youtube than elsewhere. Although they do come and go, as often pulled for copywrite reasons. I am building a site (link in my name) where you can watch many of the old shows. Feel free to visit!

  5. @Dwight… Agreed. Those shows cant really even be called classic. I guess us classic tv lovers are not a big enough part of the market, lol. @ Laurie, I am taking your suggestion at my classic site, and will be mixing commercials of the same time period with the shows that I host. The new link is in my Name. (the last post has a dead link, as that was the beta , or testing site.)


  7. Please Put The Felony Squad On Antenna TV.
    11:00 AM Laverne And Shirley
    NOON Leave It To Beaver
    1:00 PM The Felony Squad

  8. Please Put The Legend Of Jesse James On Antenna TV As Well As Peyton Place And Judd For The Defense Please Air The Monroes,The Detectives,Burke’s Law,Honey West,The Lloyd Bridges Show,The Loner,12 O’clock High,The Long Hot Summer,The Green Hornet,The Time Tunnel,Land Of The Giants,The Ghost And Mrs.Muir,Nanny And The Professor,Arnie,Cade’s County,The Rogues,And Daniel Boone.

  9. Funny that you recorded hazel to check to see if it was uncut. I just did the same thing yesterday since I can now DVR OTA TV and easily edit the recordings, and the hazel episode was 24:55, which is about right for an uncut show as the sitcoms of the past could be 24 to up to almost 26 min’s. I don’t see the antenna tv bug at all, although for some reason, my antenna TV is 36.3, which is a sub channel of WTVQ ABC in Lexington KY, and the picture is very clear, but this channel has a slight static sound to it. Maybe it’s just my market, I dunno.

  10. A very RARELY aired long running show that is NO WHERE to be found in syndication is Alice (Mel’s Diner). I would absolutely LOVE that show to be aired. The last time it was aired was on TNN and E! Entertainment in the 90s and ION TV around 2007. It was heavily edited or time shifted (sped up) to make more room for commercials.

  11. Not a fan at all of the “squeezed” credits, but Antenna TV still has some pretty good shows. Watched some of “Maude” yesterday. I’ll admit, they run a lot of shows like “All in the Family” and “Good Times” into the ground, so I wouldn’t mind getting a break from that.

  12. Lexington Kentucky has lost antenna tv so many people are wanting it back it’s the only channel people can go back in time to where the world was a better place kids could walk to school safely play out side not stuck inside on computers texting on cellphones kids killing kids today there’s just so much crime why on earth would anyone want to watch Justice tv nothing but true crime when we can escape to antenna tv . Tons of people over 50 needs a channel they love when sitcoms where truly funny today’s sitcom are not funny to much sex & violence on TV now that’s why people in Lexington ky really want antenna tv back. Thank you

  13. Oh yeah. I remember back in the seventies when I had just turned 13 was in the hospital after just having hernia surgery pumped up on Demerol and my roommate turned on Looney Tunes. I had to beg him to turn it off because I was laughing so hard it would be nice if antenna TV got the rights to the old Looney Tunes. I get me some Demerol then watch them all without the stitches of course

  14. I’m disappointed that Antenna TV edits some shows and also speeds them up, resulting in many commercials. Especially noted are McHale’s Navy and Burns and Allen.

    1. Yes,a station in or very near Lex..please have Antenna tv channel soo many in city limits and area can get it over the air (rabbit ears antenna) or please show Louisville or another city channel has Antenna tv channel on Spectrum Cable channel lineup.

  15. It is VERY annoying to squeeze the credits where you can’t read them or hear the closing theme song to the shows,while starting up the next show at the same time.This has been going on for the last 7 years and it has to stop!

  16. Antenna Tv, Please air more variety of Tv programs with Halloween episodes in October 2023 Bewitched Witch O Ween Marathon all day is too much not airing different tv shows with Halloween episodes. It needs to be a better schedule next year other Tv shows that people like watching besides Bewitched all Day long.

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