Decades will feature originals and more than 100 television series, plus theatrical and made-for-TV movies. Original programming to include Decades Retrospectical, a daily topical show. It is expected to debut during the second quarter of 2015, with the 16 CBS-owned stations that are part of the CBS Television Network serving as the new service’s launch group.
CBS Television Stations is taking its first step into digital subchannels and it’s a big one with classic TV channel Decades, a partnership with MeTV’s Weigel Broadcasting that will include programs like I Love Lucy from the CBS library. Weigel is handling Decades’ programming and distribution to other station groups.
In second quarter 2015, CBS stations will launch Decades in 16 of its markets that reach 33% of television homes.
“We wanted to make the best deal in this space, not the first deal,” said Peter Dunn, president of CBS Television Stations. “This is now a profitable business and Weigel has a great track record in this business.”
He says Decades’ programming like Happy Days and Cheers is a good fit for CBS stations.
“It makes total sense for us,” said Dunn. “Weigel’s expertise in this space, coupled with our expertise in programming and content, is a great marriage.”
Decades will also air original programming that highlight TV shows and events from past decades, with archival content from CBS News and CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight.
“We have CBS News and ET involved, which we have on many of our stations, and which are perfect launch pads to promote the channel,” Dunn added.
Decades will draw from a library of more than 100 classic television series, including select titles from the CBS library such as I Love Lucy from the 1950s, Star Trek from the 1960s, Happy Days from the 1970s and Cheers from the 1980s, as well as a wide selection of theatrical and made-for-television movies and footage of historical news events from the archives of CBS News and Entertainment Tonight.
The companies say Decades will differentiate itself from other subchannel programming services by varying the classic series and movies that appear on the network every day.
“Decades takes the digital broadcast network platform to a new level,” said Norman H. Shapiro, president of Weigel. “Viewers will ‘Relive, Remember & Relate’ to the events that touched their lives and generations past. The events, themes and programming possibilities are endless. We are truly honored to be chosen as the company to develop the CBS Television Stations’ diginet product, and look forward to the launch of Decades next year.”
Decades will feature “a daily time capsule presentation of entertainment, popular culture and news,” with original offerings including Decades Retrospectical, 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.
Decades is expected to debut during the second quarter of 2015, with the 16 CBS-owned stations that are part of the CBS Television Network serving as the new service’s launch group. This includes the CBS stations serving New York City (WCBS), Los Angeles (KCBS), Chicago (WBBM), Philadelphia (KYW), Dallas (KTVT), San Francisco (KPIX), Boston (WBZ), Detroit (WWJ), Minneapolis-St. Paul (WCCO and its satellite stations KCCO and KCCW), Miami (WFOR), Denver (KCNC), Sacramento (KOVR), Pittsburgh (KDKA) and Baltimore (WJZ).
Weigel will be responsible for securing affiliation agreements with other stations across the country.