January 14th, 2015 Update: WBAY-TV has announced that it will not launch Decades on January 16th as planned. Instead, the Live Well Network will continue for a few months.
Decades, the new classic television digital specialty network (or diginet), from CBS and Weigel Broadcasting announced last October, will soft launch this Friday (January 16th) on at least one station. WBAY-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin has announced that Decades will launch on its digital subchannel 2.3 as a replacement for the Live Well Network. The official launch of Decades will take place on May 25th. During the soft launch period the diginet will air marathons of TV shows from its library, starting with The Millionaire.
Program schedules for the first four weeks reveal that later marathons will include The Mothers-in-Law, Family Affair, F Troop, Get Smart, The Phil Silvers Show, The Doris Day Show, Colonel March of Scotland Yard, Burke’s Law, The Invisible Man, Honey West, and Route 66. The WBAY-TV press release states Decades will air “its entire library of shows with back-to-back-to-back episodes,” so presumably we’ll know by May exactly what shows the diginet has rights to, at least initially.
Some of the shows, like The Millionaire and Colonel March of Scotland Yard, have never been released on DVD and probably haven’t been seen in syndication for years or decades. Hopefully Decades will be showing more shows like these as opposed to more readily available shows like Get Smart and The Doris Day Show.
Recall that Decades plans to differentiate itself from other classic TV diginets like Me-TV or Cozi TV by airing themed programming every day relating to various historical and pop culture events.
WBAY-TV is not a CBS owned-and-operated station. Presumably, all CBS O&Os will also be soft launching Decades but that hasn’t been confirmed.