Starz Encore Group LLC Tuesday acquired the rights to classic Western
Gunsmoke and 1960s war series Combat for its respective Westerns
and Action multiplexed channels.
Beginning in September, Starz's Westerns channel will air 176 black-and-white
episodes of Gunsmoke, which originally aired from 1961 through 1966, the
Action will run 152 episodes of Combat, a series depicting the
exploits of a U.S. Army platoon fighting its way across Europe during World War
II following D-Day. The show, which ran on ABC from 1962 through 1967, first
aired on Action in 2000.
In addition, Starz Encore licensed 136 Western movies from the Republic
Pictures library including Johnny Guitar, Angel and the Badman and
Three Faces West. The deal, which takes effect in 2003, also includes
films starring such Western legends as John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Dale
'We're pleased to add these evergreen classics to two of our most popular
theme channels,' Starz Encore senior vice president of program acquisitions,
planning and scheduling Stephan Shelanski said in a prepared statement.
'We are also particularly excited to further strengthen our already
movie-rich subscription-on-demand service by adding two landmark television
series with built-in appeal,' he added.