Encore Westerns will give Marshal Dillon, Miss Kitty, Chester, Doc and Festus a "six-gun salute" in January, when the channel will begin airing Gunsmoke again.
The Starz Entertainment muliplex acquired the rights to the black and white half-hour and hour installments of Gunsmoke that ran on CBS from 1955 through 1961 from CBS Television Distribution.
Deal terms were not disclosed. Starz Westerns last ran Gunsmoke episodes in 2005.
In addition, Encore Westerns has reached deal with CBS Television Distribution for Have Gun Will Travel and Rawhide for channel premieres in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
"Our Westerns viewers are made up of true and diehard fans of the genre," said Nancy Silverstone, vice president, program acquisitions for Starz Entertainment, in a statement. "They were devastated when Gunsmoke went off the channel four long years ago.It's been sorely missed, but now it's back uncut and commercial free. The series is still relevant today as it was over 50 years ago. We have no doubt that our fans will also be excited by the addition of the classic series Have Gun Will Travel and Rawhide."
Gunsmoke ran on the CBS network from 1955 to 1975. Until 2005, it had the longest run of any scripted primetime American television series with recurring characters