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Update: RetroTV Will Air Episodes

A little teaser promo from RetroTV:

Thanks to @GlitchyParadox for the catch.

Well, this came out of the blue:

Retro TV Adds Cult Classic Mystery Science Theater 3000

Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 25, 2014) – Luken Communications is proud to announce the long-awaited return of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to television on Retro TV.

A cult favorite since its inception in 1988 as a cable-access show, Mystery Science Theater 3000 follows a man (played first by series creator Joel Hodgson, then head writer Mike Nelson) forced by a mad scientist to watch the most terrible movies ever produced. To stay sane, he and his robot sidekicks (Tom Servo, voiced by Kevin Murphy and Crow T. Robot, voiced by Trace Beaulieu) provide a hilarious running commentary making fun of the film.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran for 11 years, spawned a feature film, won a Peabody Award, was nominated for two Emmy Awards (for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Variety or Music Program), was nominated for a CableACE Award, and was recently named the #4 Best Cult TV Show Ever by Entertainment Weekly.

Matthew Golden, Luken’s Vice President of Production, said “We are absolutely thrilled to return Mystery Science Theater 3000 to the airwaves. With its marriage of sharp humor and vintage films, MST3k is tailor-made for Retro TV, and our audience will fall in love with it all over again.”

Mystery Science Theater 3000 will make its Retro TV debut in the “not-too-distant future”: Saturday, July 5th, 2014.

Luken Communications is a Chattanooga, TN-based broadcast group with networks including Retro TV, The Heartland Network, The Family Channel, PBJ, Frost Great Outdoors and TUFF TV. Luken Communications offers diverse, family-friendly programming on its networks reaching approximately 80 percent of all U.S. households via a blend of over-the-air, cable and satellite television. For more information about Retro TV, please visit or

I spoke with Mr. Golden and he says they have the rights to 26 episodes:
103- The Mad Monster
105- The Corpse Vanishes
211- First Spaceship On Venus
320- The Unearthly
323- The Castle of Fu Manchu
402- The Giant Gila Monster
409- The Indestructible Man
412- Hercules And The Captive Women
419- The Rebel Set
424- Manos: The Hands of Fate
507- I Accuse My Parents
511- Gunslinger
517- Beginning of the End
518- The Atomic Brain
610- The Violent Years
616- Racket Girls
619- Red Zone Cuba
701- Night Of The Blood Beast
812- The Incredibly Strange Creatures…
820- Space Mutiny
821- Time Chasers
822- Overdrawn at the Memory Bank
908- The Touch of Satan
1002- Girl in Gold Boots
1003- Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders
1009- Hamlet

What is RetroTV? It’s one of those networks that sprang up after local TV affiliates were all required to go digital. It runs over-the-air on local affiliates’ digital sub-channels and low-power stations.
A list of their affiliates is here.

What a week, huh?

74 comments to Update: RetroTV Will Air Episodes

  • 1
    Joseph Nebus says:

    Man. Fu Manchu, Manos, Red Zone Cuba, Incredibly Strange Creatures … this is a real set of episodes that sit on your head and make you beg for mercy, isn’t it?

    Is anyone else kind of waiting for about April 3rd to quite believe in this whole week?


  • 2
    Jason says:

    Well good golly miss molly.


  • 3
    R.T. says:

    Sadly, none of their affiliates are in my area.


  • 4
    Clint says:

    OTA, no less. First time since 1988?


  • 5
    Goshzilla says:

    Huh. Retro, indeed. I feel like these airings should only be watched on old CRT TVs in wood cabinets with wonky vertical hold and a greenish tint. Preferably with rabbit ears perched atop the digital converter box.


  • 6
    Sampo says:

    Clint, first time since ’95-96 and the syndication experiment.


  • 7
    KidFlash25 says:

    Gah, no closer than Utica/Olean! Problem is, we in Rochester (NY) already have Me-TV, so we’re probably screwed. Pretty sure that all of the local DTV slots are taken.


  • 8
    Laura says:


    And I get the channel is going to be on!!!!!!!!!! THERE IS A GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • 9
    Joey Parkhill says:



  • 10
    Mitchell "Rowsdower" Beardsley says:

    That is AWESOME. But no Chicago affiliates? That sucks. But maybe a good sign going forward….


  • 11
    KidFlash25 says:

    Perhaps they’ll be like Me-TV and have a handful of episodes available for streaming?


  • 12
    hellokittee says:

    San Francisco has one but no Comcast channel listed for it. Guess I will have to poke around on the non-HD channels to find it. We have a channel here called Me TV that has some great old shows (Mary Tyler Moore, The Twilight Zone, Bob Newhart, etc) so I am wondering if it is that one or maybe some entirely different local channel that only shows 25+ year old tv shows… Anyway, great news, imagine the bored channel surfing kids that will accidently tune into this and discover their new favorite show (I know that’s how it happened for me back in the day)!


  • 13
    hellokittee says:

    Also, some pretty great episodes on this list! I Accuse my Parents, Time Chasers, Girl in Gold Boots and Merlin are all in my top 10…


  • 14
    Tarlcabot says:

    I’m guessing Jim Mallon heard about the Rifftrax thing and remembere that he owns a beloved property with a huge fanbase thar he wasn’t doing anything with.
    This might be the first time I say this, but: good job, Jim! Hopefully this is a sign of things to come!


  • 15
    Goshzilla says:

    What a week, huh?

    And it’s only Wednesday! Remember when months would go by without anything newsworthy for you fellas to report? Crazy.


  • 16
    Cubby says:

    hellokittee @12, ME-TV* is totally different (Chicago-based versus Luken’s Chattanooga base). I love ME, but being local, I love their digital spinoff ME-TOO even more – it’s slightly more esoteric or arcane (Cannon, Streets of San Francisco, The Iron Horse, The Rebel, 77 Sunset Strip, etc) at times.

    And, yes, while there isn’t a RetroTV affiliate anywhere near me, as an old MSTie, I’m delighted for anyone who’ll get a chance to see this over the air. Who knew, ten years ago when Sci Fi had their last broadcast, that MST would ever come back to TV?


  • 17
    syferdet says:

    No Twin Cities affiliate, either.


  • 18
    Skunk McMustelid says:

    How does this list map at all with the DVD releases, time-wise? I mean, is it a mix of recenidet and old, or what?

    I know TV and video rights are separate, but I wonder if there are tea leaves to be read.


  • 19
    Skunk McMustelid says:


    Not sure what happened there.


  • 20
    KidFlash25 says:

    All of them are available on DVD. There are a bunch that were Rhino/Shout Select titles, and the newest one is Hercules and the Captive Women which is on the latest set.


  • 21
    goalieboy82 says:
    damn it they dont have retro tv in my area.


  • 22
    ready4sumfootball says:

    Wow. I remember back in November when they were having the online Turkey Day. I mentioned on here that if they wanted to take it one step further they could probably go to a station like Me-TV to air future Turkey Days, and it kind of catapulted into a conversation on whether a station could syndicate certain episodes. I wonder if that might have led to this. (Probably not, but my ego wants to say maybe. Grin)

    So does Retro TV count as an independent station? If so, then MST3K kind of goes full circle.


  • 23
    Statskeeper says:

    I’m so happy – even if the local Retro affiliate is on a hard-to-get channel that’s not on cable where I live (62.4 in the Boston area). There was a Retro affiliate in Texas that streamed but I’m not sure they’re doing it anymore.


  • 24
    syferdet says:

    I just Googled “MST3k Return” and got this SatNews page as the #1 listing:

    Might want to update it is all. Smile


  • 25
    JM says:

    And thus sayeth God “Return to Broadcast Airwaves MST3K”. And it was good.

    Unfortunately, not in Columbus Ohio though.


  • 26
    Retcon says:

    This is cool.


  • 27
    pondoscp says:

    It figures since Tucson had Comedy Central waaay back in the day, that we wouldn’t have Retro TV for the return. Still, this is very awesome.

    Time for a new addition to the broadcast schedule!!! After ten long years, and so many Screaming Skull reruns later… so cool.

    It’s only a matter of time, now. And you know what I’m talking about. Don’t know when, where, how or who, but it’s coming…


  • 28
    pondoscp says:

    I believe this is the first time any season 1, 6, 7, 9 or 10 episodes have been in syndication. Jack Perkins, where are you! Excuse me, I meant “The Host”…

    I also can’t wait until I read this post:
    “I saw this show on Retro TV, now I’m hooked, and I discovered your website!”

    Makes me wonder if the old Hopkins, Minnesota address will be on screen…


  • 29
    goalieboy82 says:

    now turn your church hymnals to hymn 507 and let us all sing “Happy in Your Work”


  • 30
    Herb Finn says:

    Anyone notice most of the episodes are the ones with public domain film? The ones from the scifi era must have been easy-affordable to clear.


  • 31
    Cambot J.N. says:

    Hopefully this will give people unfamiliar with MST3K, young and old alike the chance to discover it the way it was meant to be discovered; no idea what the heck is going on or who the guy and the talking gumball machine and reindeer-looking thing are.


  • 32
    Brandon says:

    I’d probably argue my only complaint with the episode line-up is “Mitchell” and “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” aren’t included. To me, it’s the most important transitional moment in MST3K (changing of the hosts), and it’s not here.

    Now granted, I can understand “Laserblast” and “Revenge of the Creature” not being in the line-up, I’m sure they’re pretty pricey films to acquire, but aren’t “Mitchell” and “The Brain that Wouldn’t Die” public domain?

    Other than that nitpick, this is AWESOME news!


  • 33
    Captain Cab says:

    WOW. Jealous. Our NBC affiliate station got MeTV a year ago (actually addicted to it, like what Nick at Nite used to be before they started playing Raymond and King of Queens), wish they’d gotten the rights to MST3K, instead we get Svengoolie which is a lot of fun but yeah…jealous.Thinking What network is RetroTV usually associated with? CBS, ABC?


  • 34
    Pulatso says:

    No affiliate in my area, but I have all these on DVD anyway, so I can just pop one in the player and pretend.


  • 35
    Tarlcabot says:

    Interesting that its 26 episodes. 26 weeks is half a year. So this first run of syndication should go from July 5-December 27. Hopefully they extend it after that and mix in more episodes. The ones they have, are slightly lacking. With more PD and cheap episodes(which is what the syndicated episodes appear to be) perhaps being released by Shout! in the coming months, they might be able to run more episodes like:
    602-Invasion USA
    605-Colossus and the Headhunters
    618-High School Bigshot
    912-The Screaming Skull
    1007-Track of the Moonbeast

    And possibly more of the previously released episodes from Rhino that are public domain like:
    206-Ring of Terror
    321-Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
    404-Teenagers from Outer Space
    406-Attack of the Giant Leeches
    407-The Killer Shrews
    408-Hercules Unchained
    410-Hercules Against the Moon Men
    503-Swamp Diamonds
    504-Secret Agent Super Dragon
    612-The Starfighters
    902-Phantom Planet
    1011-Horrors of Spider Island

    And that’s 21 episodes right there.
    (Public domain episodes are from Travis’s list)


  • 36
    KidFlash25 says:

    @33: Funny thing is Kevin has always cited the original Svengoolie as an influence on the show.

    @35: Perhaps it’s easier to license the stuff that’s already been on DVD?


  • 37
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    Our cable system currently has CoziTV, ThisTV, and Antenna TV. I think my brother’s system has Retro TV. But, just in case, I guess I’d better start pestering Optimum to add it to the lineup.


  • 38
    JeremyR says:

    Woohoo! There are two affiliates in St. Louis

    16.1? 13.2? D’oh! I have no idea what those are.


  • 39
    FordPrefect says:

    Holy cow. I originally discovered Mystery Science Theater during it’s brief run in syndication on WBNA in September 1995. I was so sad when they stopped airing it a year later. Fast forward 18 years in the future and Retro TV picks it up. Who’s their digital affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky? WBNA!!!! Smile


  • 40
    Alex says:

    Great… except I live in Spokane. Smile

    I’m glad it’s on again, though.


  • 41
    Cornjob says:

    I don’t think I get this channel, and with my DVD’s I don’t really care. But I am very happy that the show is on the air again. The world is a better place now. Thanks for the Handel above. Nice touch.


  • 42
    Jason says:

    You know if the last three episodes of Season 8 are such easy gets, I’d love to see Shout! express that with some re-releases.


  • 43
    Dan in WI says:

    We used to have Retro TV in the Green Bay WI market but it was dropped over a year ago. It was a good channel. It’s another one you could describe as old time Nick at Night. They also had Svengoolie knock off Wolfman Mack for a while.

    Anyway the notable first here is that this is the first time Comedy Central episodes and Sci-Fi episodes will air on the same channel. It only took 17 years.


  • 44
    asdf says:

    Any word on time edits or anything? iirc the syndication run shaved a few minutes off here and there.


  • 45
    Nanoriff says:

    Based on some tweets from @KevDGrussing:

    I figured out why #MST3K will be airing on RetroTV. Or why its only 26 episodes anyway.

    RetroTV owns rights to air titles frm Peter Rogers Organization library, which owns rights to, among others, Cosby’s first 2 TV projects.

    PRO also happens to own rights to many of the films that were riffed by #MST3K. That’s how MST3K will suddenly appear on RetroTV.

    RetroTV, by the way, is owned by Luken Communications. The superpower of digital subchannels with a whopping 7 subchannel networks.


  • 46
    JM says:

    I decided to contact my cable provider (Time Warner Cable) and see if there were any plans to add RetroTV to their lineup in my area and was told the following:

    “We have launched it currently in NYC and Dallas and upcoming upcoming launches in Austin, San Antonio, Kansas City, Raleigh, Cleveland and Columbus (in TWC areas)”.

    So, coming soon, in some places.


  • 47
    jjk says:

    I have Me-TV, Antenna TV, Get-TV and This-TV. So of course NO Retro-TV. Leave it to MST3K to make us wait 15 years to see this on broadcast TV again and then pick the most obscure channel they could possibly find.


  • 48
    MikeK says:

    RetroTV does not here in IL. I, of course, have every episode commercially released, but it would be nice to watch MST3K on broadcast TV. I guess we’ll eventually get RetroTV. A movie channel called GetTV started last month.


  • 49
    FordPrefect says:

    I’m pretty sure if BBI had their way the show would be airing in every market with all 176 episodes in rotation. Unfortunately “popular” channels don’t see the same degree of value in a two hour puppet show with movie rights issues that we do. Heck, Comedy Central and SCI-FI Channel both dropped the series around the time they started becoming available on more basic cable packages around the country.

    Does anyone else think that Shout Factory should sponsor this? They could air ads for the box sets during breaks.


  • 50
    Th1rt3eN says:

    now if we can just get National Geographic channel to give Rifftrax a permanent show everything would be perfect.


  • 51
    Luther Heggs aka Number 6 says:

    This blows my mind. I feel like we are mentally forcing all this to come to a head as we create the universe WE want.

    Narcissistic and “magical thinking,” I know. But I can’t help but have that weird feeling, what with all the good news as of late.


  • 52
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    Figures we lost our Retro TV station a couple of years ago here in Boise, I can’t believe Twin Falls (possibly the smallest television market in the entire country) will get it and I won’t in the big city. Of course I get MeTV, thisTV and a bunch of other networks I have never watched. ARGH!


  • 53

    I’m glad everyone is excited! We’re thrilled to bring it back. We hope it’ll be extremely successful and we’ll be able to bring more and more episodes to everyone. If you don’t have Retro TV in your area, let your local stations (and cable providers) know you want it; it helps us out, too. Smile


  • 54
    Wally Earl says:

    One of those “good news/bad news” situations. Great that it’s coming back to the airwaves, really sucks that no Twin Cities affiliate carries RetroTV. We have Antenna TV and MeTV, but no Retro. Somebody needs to talk to channel 4 and ask why they have no secondary channels like every other station does….


  • 55
    FordPrefect says:

    Yes, I just noticed that Retro TV doesn’t have any affiliates in Minnesota. The closest is one on the edge of South Dakota. I hope they get a Minnesota affiliate sooner rather than later. It would be nice if we could convince WUCW to create a subchannel for it since they have a major historical connection to the series. (They used to be KTMA back in the day.)


  • 56
    Geoff says:

    Most of the episodes you can find on YouTube, or some other video site, but at the same time, it does seem exciting in some way to see MST on television, which it hasn’t been for ten years.


  • 57
    SAVE FERRIS says:

    WHAT ??? NEW episodes of MST3K on a channel I should be able to get ???

    WOW !!! That’s GREAT !!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT, THIS IS SO COOL !!! I CAN HARDLY………………………..uh,what’s that you say?


    They’re not NEW episodes, just rebroadcasts of the old episodes……………well, that’s cool too.

    What’s that you say? Here in Wisconsin, Wausau is the only place to see RetroTV, so I won’t be able to get it in the Milwaukee area?


    Well……………………………..that just sucks now, doesn’t it ???? Poop


  • 58
    BIG61AL says:

    It’s great that the show will back “on air” even if the market it plays in looks like spit-take on the map of the USA. Why have these shows not been replayed anywhere until now? Surely some of the episodes are public domain. I did notice that all of the titles have been released on dvd.


  • 59
    pondoscp says:

    I wonder which Blood Beast it will be, Turkey Day, Regular or Both? And how often will it air? Weekends or weeknights at midnight, like old school, and/or Saturday/Sunday morning airings? Wouldn’t it be crazy if they retrofitted the old promos and reused them? The possibilities….


  • 60
    pondoscp says:

    @55, that would be pretty crazy, if what was once KTMA started showing MST3K again


  • 61
    KidFlash25 says:

    @58: Part of the reason why the show went away instead of being rerun in perpetuity is because the rights for each of the movies would make it cost-prohibitive to a network looking to reair it. Since RetroTV is connected to a company that has the rights to a handful of movies that became episodes (per @45), being able to air those eps becomes much easier.


  • 62
    Dr. Batch says:

    No affiliate where I live. Oh well, I have the DVD’s. But it’s still a special feeling seeing it on an actual TV channel.


  • 63
    pondoscp says:

    Those of us without Retro TV will just have to synch up our dvd copies so we can all watch in unison. Then we can all live tweet while the episode is on


  • 64
    GodzFire says:

    ‘SAVE FERRIS says:
    March 31, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    WHAT ??? NEW episodes of MST3K on a channel I should be able to get ??? WOW !!! That’s GREAT !!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT, THIS IS SO COOL !!! I CAN HARDLY………………………..uh,what’s that you say?

    oh. They’re not NEW episodes, just rebroadcasts of the old episodes……………well, that’s cool too.

    What’s that you say? Here in Wisconsin, Wausau is the only place to see RetroTV, so I won’t be able to get it in the Milwaukee area? oh. Well……………………………..that just sucks now, doesn’t it ???? Poop’

    But guess who lives in Wausau? Wink


  • 65
    SAVE FERRIS says:

    But guess who lives in Wausau?

    Wink indeed, “GodzFire” !!!

    From one CheeseHead to another, here, enjoy a cold one on me !!! ===> Beer

    Big Smile


  • 66
    doug says:

    This may be the only time that El Paso is relevant to anything except making Manos. We get their stations in southern New Mexico and one of them offers Retro. Way to go, EP


  • 67
    Philski says:

    Hopefully Retro will substitute “Off Beat cinema” with MST3K. I’ve become a MeTV junkie also. Cannon, in color!
    MeTV also airs Svengoolie on Saturday night. It’s listed as th movie title in TV listings and EPG’s. Joel even mentioned him at a CT show.


  • 68
    Luther Heggs aka Number 6 says:

    While one of my televisions is unable to pick up the signal, I just verified my other one can.

    I’m in.

    July 5th never looked so good.

    The very first instance an episode provides the P O Box fan club address, I’m going to create (and send!) a snail mail letter in honor of the deja vu.

    Might draw a picture of a flaming Gamera with blue and orange crayons. Not sure.


  • 69
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  • 70
    Richard the Lion Footed says:

    So Cox Cable in Santa Barbra has it but Cox Cable in San Diego doesn’t???
    Why is St. Barbra so special but our saint, St. Diego discriminated against?
    This is one of the feminist things again, isn’t it?


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  • 74
    yukichigai says:

    Part of me was hoping that they might be airing episodes that hadn’t seen a DVD release, but after thinking about it I realized the reason why certain episodes haven’t seen DVD release is the same reason why they wouldn’t be broadcast again either: rights issues. It would take a bizarre set of circumstances for episodes to be totally okay to be rebroadcast by some other channel, yet not okay for DVD release.

    Still, I may have to watch these when they’re on. At the very least it’s an easier way to introduce friends to MST3K.