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Decades TV network brings together history, pop culture

Doris Day starred in her popular CBS sitcom

Doris Day starred in her popular CBS sitcom "The Doris Day Show" from 1968 to 1973. Credit: Decades TV

“The Fugitive” had been gone for decades, but now it’s being found on Decades.

The rarely seen TV drama — which starred David Janssen, who would have turned 85 on Sunday, March 27, as a man on the lam after being wrongly accused of murdering his wife — is getting the binge treatment this weekend on the digital channel devoted to matching vintage programming with moments in history and pop culture.

The popularity of gorging on current shows, such as “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards,” inspired Decades’ Weekend Binges, which start each Saturday at 1 p.m. and run through 7 a.m. Monday.

The binge concept was the brainchild of Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting, which developed Decades with CBS Corp., and began with a soft launch in January 2015 by offering daily 24-hour of shows from the 150 series in its library, including “I Love Lucy,” “Get Smart” and “Mission: Impossible.”

“We wanted to take longer to get the network up and running so we could focus on developing our original content, which includes the show ‘Through the Decades’ with Bill Kurtis,” Sabin says. “So I said, we can binge on television shows for about six months. We went through a bunch of series for the network and got a great response from viewers.”

When Decades officially premiered last May 25, Sabin wanted to continue doing series marathons, and since then the Weekend Binges have become a hit based on viewer responses the channel has received. “They love some of the rare programs, like ‘Car 54, Where Are You?’ No one ever runs it,” Sabin says. “Viewers have said that they’ve never gotten to see this show before, and it was great. We purposely run the Weekend Binges for two days so that we can often get in the entire series in one weekend.”

So far, Sabin says, “The Love Boat” has been the highest-rated binge, so expect that ship to set sail again on the channel. Among the most asked-for shows requested by viewers are the spooky soap opera “Dark Shadows,” the classroom clowning of “Our Miss Brooks” and “The Doris Day Show,” which will air as a binge next weekend in honor of the star’s 92nd birthday on April 3.

And it turns out, Day is also a Decades viewer. “She’s a fan and we bought the show directly from her. Her reps got in touch with us,” Sabin says.

To celebrate, Day also has a special present for Decades’ fans, Sabin says: “She even recorded some promos for us.”

— Daniel Bubbeo

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