Weigel Hopes Viewers Find Rebrand of Decades Network More Catchy
Catchy Comedy premieres March 27, offers vintage sitcoms
Weigel Broadcasting digital network Decades becomes Catchy Comedy March 27, featuring classic sitcoms such as I Love Lucy, Good Times and Night Court. Catchy Comedy features the tagline “Catch All the Laughs” and is set to be Nielsen-rated.
“It’s a celebration of some of the best situation comedies ever made through the decades,” Neal Sabin, Weigel vice chairman, told B+C. “What Decades did was comedy-centric, but we decided we should rebrand it and fully focus on comedy.”
Daytime during weekdays, Catchy Comedy features female-driven comedies, featuring the likes of I Love Lucy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Carol Burnett Show. “On the screen, behind the scenes or both, they really changed our business,” said Sabin of Lucille Ball, Moore and Burnett.
In weekday primetime it’s “Norman Lear’s Catchy Classics,” including Good Times, Sanford and Son and All In the Family. Late night, it’s “Smart and Catchy Sitcoms”, including Night Court, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Cheers, Taxi and The Bob Newhart Show.
Each weekend offers “The Catchy Binge,” a different comedy marathon. Those will start Saturdays at noon ET, and wrap early morning Mondays. Sabin called the binge-worthy programs “gems that don’t get seen on broadcast or cable,” mentioning The Flying Nun, Brooklyn Bridge and Square Pegs, among others.
Decades also featured binges. When the network launched in 2015, a joint venture between Weigel and CBS Television Stations, it offered vintage news–what happened on that day in history, including archival CBS News footage. As it transitioned to classic TV, showing the likes of Happy Days, Cheers and I Love Lucy, it presented the shows of a certain decade, be it the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s or ‘80s.
Shows acquired for the Catchy rebrand include Good Times, Sanford and Son, All in the Family and Night Court. The latter was remade at NBC, and premiered in January. Weigel had acquired the original Night Court, with Harry Anderson playing the judge, before it returned on NBC, which Sabin called “very advantageous.”
Weigel networks include MeTV, Start TV, Heroes & Icons and Movies! Its stations include WCIU Chicago and WDJT Milwaukee. Catchy reaches around 70% of U.S. markets.
Sabin called Lucille Ball “a guiding force” for Catchy Comedy. “She invented women in comedy,” he added, “and took it to heights that no one else has.” ■
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
By David Bloom