Happiness is a Warm TV

Classic sitcom channel Antenna TV no longer available for local viewers

Antenna TV, a popular network specializing in classic sitcom reruns, has been removed from the local market.

The network ran on WNCN’s over-the-air channel 17.3 and on Spectrum Cable channel 1245. But the station replaced it this month with two other networks: GRIT TV and Escape TV.

GRIT shows Westerns (TV shows and movies) such as “Death Valley Days,” “Laramie” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

Escape has crime programming (it airs in some markets as the Justice Network). A quick scan of the schedule shows movies and TV shows such as “Single White Female 2: The Psycho,” “Wisegirls” and “The FBI Files.”

The two networks share the 17.3 over-the-air channel. (You can also watch Escape – currently mislabeled as Antenna TV – on Spectrum 1245; GRIT – currently mislabeled as Justice Network – airs on 1246).

The change took place Nov. 1.

Antenna TV – a far superior channel by any measurement – has shows such as “All in the Family,” “Johnny Carson,” “Maude,” “Barney Miller,” “Good Times,” “Becker” and “Bewitched.” The network is adding more shows in January, including “Benson,” “Murphy Brown” and “Soap.”

Viewers who reached out to WNCN to complain about the switch were told: “Thanks for contacting us. We made a decision to end our affiliation with Antenna TV and replace it with two additional channels, GRIT and Escape TV. It’s possible Antenna TV will find another affiliate in the market. Thanks again for the feedback.”

An inquiry from this newspaper elicited the same response.

WNCN later released an additional statement: “CBS North Carolina has added two new channels to our lineup of channels, GRIT and Escape TV. We believe the combination of those two plus Justice TV will give viewers in our community a wide variety of programming options. We were proud to be an Antenna TV affiliate for many years but look forward to the new program options available now.”

Brooke Cain: 919-829-4579, @brookecain