Saturday, October 9, 2010

RTV hits & misses on Saturday mornings

The Retro Television Network (RTV) prides itself as the "best in classic television", but their fledgling Saturday morning lineup could use a little tweaking.

Only two series in the block actually aired on Saturdays in their original run. Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids, which leads off the block in some areas, including my home district, was the longest-running and most successful Filmation series ever, as it ran for 12 seasons on CBS before moving to weekday syndication in 1984. The Archie Show, from 1968, began a run of 8 seasons for Archie Andrews and his friends on CBS, ending when 1974's US of Archie was moved to Sunday mornings in 1975 for its 2nd & final season. The rest of the block all aired either in prime time (Lassie) or in weekday syndication. Here's the lineup as it is constituted in the Albany market. Your market may vary.

8 (ET): Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids (CBS 1972-84, syndicated 1984-5)
8:30: Ghostbusters (syndicated 1986-87)
9: The Archie Show (CBS 1968-69; the series would undergo several format changes over 8 seasons)
9:30: Bravestarr (syndicated 1987-88; the last Filmation series)
10: She-Ra: Princess of Power (syndicated 1985-87)
10:30: He-Man & the Masters of the Universe (syndicated 1983-86)
11: Lassie (CBS prime time through 1971, then syndicated; 2 back to back episodes)

The end-of-show moral lessons from the 80's toons have been edited off, enabling RTV to add some other features, including Gumby and the controversial, syndicated Dick Tracy shorts produced by UPA in the 60's. Classic Media owns the rights to the whole kit & kaboodle, and have committed the unpardonable sin of plastering their logo over the final Filmation logo (1983-88), at least on Bravestarr. Classic television fans prefer to have the original studio logos left intact. If Classic Media wants to be a player in the syndication market and reintroduce viewers to the properties under their control, they'd be well served to leave the logos as is.

Now, you have to hope there is a rotation that will allow for later Archie series and other Filmation properties to be added to the mix. They would have been well served to have chosen the original Ghost Busters (note the spelling) from 1975, before airing the animated follow-up.

Saturday morning television, as we know it, has changed for the worse in recent years. RTV is at least giving us a chance to see it the way it was.

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