Retro tv: The Best in Classic Television

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Although MeTV and Antenna TV are currently the dominant national classic TV programming services, another company actually paved the way.

Retro Television Network launched back in 2005 under the RTN branding. The service was originally carried by a handful of stations owned by Equity Broadcasting, later expanding across the country as stations converted to digital and sought programming for their new subchannels.

RTN once aired a large number of programs from the NBC Universal library (including Dragnet, Leave It To Beaver and The Rockford Files), many of which are now carried by MeTV.

Due to a series of financial problems, RTN wound up changing hands and brands. They switched to the RTV name in 2009 and to Retro TV in 2013.

Although they have lost many of their early affiliates to competing services, Retro TV survives to this day. They offer an interesting mix of classic and more recent shows, along with a heavy schedule of overnight infomercials to help pay the bills.

Here’s a list of the classic TV shows on Retro tv as of January 2014:

Adventure & Drama Series
The Adventures of Robin Hood, Highway to Heaven, I Spy, Movin’ On, Naked City, Route 66, The Saint

Comedies
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Colgate Comedy Hour (comedy-variety show), The Joey Bishop Show, The Real McCoys, The New Soupy Sales Show

Cartoons and Kids Shows
The Archies, BraveStarr, Harveytoons, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Lassie, Mr. Magoo, She-Ra: Princess of Power

Westerns
The Adventures of Jim Bowie, The Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy

For more information and to find out if there’s an affiliate in your area, please visit the Retro tv website.

Classic TV Birthdays: January 25

Dinah Manoff leads off today’s list of classic tv stars celebrating a birthday. The now-58-year-old starred in the 1970’s comedy Soap, then later played one of the daughters on the sitcom Empty Nest. Manoff is the daughter of actress Lee Grant and the late screenwriter Arnold Manoff. He penned episodes of classic TV shows The Defenders, Naked City and Route 66.

Other January 25 birthdays: Leigh Taylor-Young (Peyton Place) is 68, Gregory Sierra (Barney Miller, Sanford & Son) is 73 and Dean Jones is 83. The Disney movie star (Herbie The Love Bug, That Darn Cat!) starred in several short-lived sitcoms in the 60s and 70s (Ensign O’Toole, The Chicago Teddy Bears).

Classic TV stars born this day but since passed: Ernie Harwell (legendary Detroit Tigers broadcaster), NBC newsman Edwin Newman and Sally Starr (popular children’s TV host in Philadelphia).

Diana Hyland was also born on January 25. She had major roles in 1960s series’ Peyton Place and Young Doctor Malone, later playing the original wife/mom on the family drama Eight Is Enough. Sadly, she only appeared in the first 4 episodes and passed away at age 41.

Character actor Christopher Allport died on this day. He was a regular on the daytime drama Another World and guested on shows including Harry O and M*A*S*H.