Grab the remote and rabbit ears, 86 and 99 are back on the tube

Listen up! Get Smart will be airing on Decades starting in October.

Listen up! Get Smart will be airing on Decades starting in October.

Unless you’re living on your own island or in some sort of cocoon, 2020 has been pretty horrendous. There’s a global pandemic that, as of this blog, has infected more than 32 million people and killed more than 980,000 worldwide. There’s also civil unrest, supply chain and food shortages, lockdowns, massive job losses (yes, I’m still looking!) and devastating forest fires on the west coast of the U.S. What a way to start a decade.
Here’s some good news. That’s right, there is legitimate good news that may offer some

Why go to the fuss of streaming and casting when you can grab the clicker and enjoy Get Smart on the tube?

Why go to the fuss of streaming and casting when you can grab the clicker and enjoy Get Smart on the tube?

distraction from all that other crap. Get Smart is set to air on American TV. Decades, a nostalgia station known for its Weekend Binge, has announced that Get Smart will be part of its “Smart Comedy” lineup on Oct. 5. The show joins a schedule that includes The Dick Van Dyke Show, Cheers, Taxi, The Bob Newhart Show, The Honeymooners (the lost episodes), The Phil Silvers Show, Car 54, Where Are You?, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Abbot and Costello Show and Our Miss Brooks.
There is a catch. I mean, why not? It’s 2020 so there has to be a catch. Get Smart will be shown at 1:30 a.m. Eastern/10:30 p.m. Pacific. Fans on the East Coast and Midwest will need to keep their eyes open. Alright, there’s another catch: Not everyone can pick up Decades in their pay-TV package or over the air. I feel your pain. Sometimes I have it, but right now I don’t. All I can do is rescan the TV and hope for the best.
In terms of prior syndication, GS was shown on varying stations starting in 1970. Chicagoland kids of the 1980s may remember seeing it on Channel 32. It’s worth noting that the season five CBS episodes didn’t air in syndication for a number of years due to restrictions, reporting requirements and red tape.
Get Smart made its way to cable when Nick at Nite aired it from 1991 to 1995. TVLand

A TV Guide ad from 1972 when Get Smart aired in syndication on New York's WOR-TV.

A TV Guide ad from 1972 when Get Smart aired in syndication on New York’s WOR-TV.

began airing GS in 2001, but bumped it from their lineup in 2003.
In the mid-2000s Chicago-based MeTV began showing it randomly on their affiliates in ‘da region -usually around midnight Saturday. In 2010 the channel went national so GS was available to “most markets” via pay-TV or antenna, but it was mostly shown in that midnight time slot. Get Smart’s time on MeTV ended in 2018.
I’ve noticed a pattern to these syndication stints. Get Smart often ends up in the midnight or later time slot. During its run on Nick at Nite, I would often stay up to 2 a.m. to watch it.
With syndication comes a side effect: Editing. Will Decades give us “Cut” Smart? I would imagine that would be the case. In its original run, a Get Smart episode lasted 23 minutes. During its cable syndication runs that was trimmed down to 20 minutes. Different channels offered different edits – as noted in this Smartian Controversies installment on Get Smart’s missing scenes.
Now, if you’re not a night owl and want to watch an unedited episode, there are other options in these modern times. Of course there are the DVD sets. Get Smart is also available for streaming on Amazon and iTunes. However, they charge per episode and having Amazon Prime won’t get you episodes for free. Personally, I’ll take the ease of turning on the TV and catching GS on the airwaves.

Get Smart's run on Nick at Nite and TVLand led to a few fun promotions: Collectible watches from each channel and the storied Nick at Nite Get Smart Shoe Phone.

Get Smart’s run on Nick at Nite and TVLand led to a few fun promotions: Collectible watches from each channel and the storied Nick at Nite Get Smart Shoe Phone.