WPIX primetime switches to Sat. sitcoms

Golden oldies find a new home

Cable networks like TNT, TBS and USA have elbowed out syndicated TV for the highest-visibility theatrical movies, so WPIX-TV, the Tribune flagship in New York, has picked up four sitcom Golden Oldies to run every Saturday in primetime.

WPIX used to reserve that Saturday slot for movies, but Julie O’Neil, head of programming for the station, said vast numbers of quality movie titles have migrated to cable, and ABC and NBC have also scheduled strong theatricals every Saturday.

“So we’re counterprogramming with comedies,” said O’Neil. Starting at 8 p.m. Oct. 2, WPIX will run, in order, Warner Bros.’ “Welcome Back, Kotter,” Sony Pictures TV’s “The Jeffersons,” and Paramount’s “The Odd Couple” and “Taxi.”

Although all four shows taped in Los Angeles, they are set in New York. O’Neil said they all share “a New York sensibility.”

Other sitcom oldies bought by WPIX include “The Munsters” and “The Addams Family,” which will share a Halloween marathon. WPIX picked up “Bewitched” as a marathon stunt for next year as a tie-in to the theatrical version of “Bewitched,” with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell.

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