Dabl dumps lifestyle shows, adds Black sitcoms

“Girlfriends”, a sitcom running from 2000 to 2008 on UPN and later The CW, is part of Dabl’s new lineup.

Move is reminiscent of Netflix deal as shakeup hit digital subchannel space 

Circle chooses FAST channel over linear as it shutters 

Usually when we talk about format changes, we talk about radio (i.e. WDAI-FM dumping rock for disco or WLUP becoming a Christian music station and so forth) but in television, it rarely happens – unless you’re in the digital subchannel space.

In a surprise move with little or no advanced notice, CBS digital channel Dabl (seen locally on WBBM-TV channel 2.3) changed formats from lifestyle programming to reruns of off-network sitcoms targeting Black female audiences on Friday, airing six sitcoms with mostly Black casts: Girlfriends; Half & Half; Sister, Sister; One On One; The Game; The Parkers; and Moesha

Of these, Sister, Sister aired on ABC and The WB; and The Game aired on The CW for three seasons starting in 2006, when The WB and UPN merged to create the network. The Game was re-launched on BET in 2011 and was recently rebooted a third time with a mostly new cast on Paramount Plus, which was canceled earlier this year.

Dabl’s new logo (Paramount Global)

Dabl is the second lifestyle channel to shutter this week; earlier, Tegna pulled the plug on Twist after nearly three years with both airing reruns of female-targeted reality shows – with most not known for the highest quality if the titles Candice Tells All and Dance Moms were any indication. Dabl launched on September 9, 2019 with the CBS-owned stations as its core group and had reruns of Martha Stewart Living as a centerpiece and was run by CBS Television Distribution (now CBS Media Ventures.) But it also had its fair share of reality TV junk as well, including Hotel Hell and Kitchen Nightmares. 

In 2020, CBS Media Ventures – who owns the syndication rights to all seven off-network sitcoms, made a similar deal with Netflix for the same shows. At the time, Netflix trumpeted the deal as part of the streamer’s Strong Black Lead Initiative. The deal with Netflix is perhaps one of the reasons Dabl is no longer available on streaming platforms. 

In an unusual move, CBS declined to comment on the format change and did not explain why it is taking place. 

Meanwhile, country-themed Circle is closing its linear digital subchannel on Sunday but remaining as a FAST (free advertising streaming television) offering. Circle had two different feeds: one named Circle Network (for linear) and Circle Country (for streaming), and operated by broadcaster Gray Television with Nashville-based Opry Entertainment Group, who of course, operates the Grand Ole Opry. Circle airs programming targeted to country music fans and rural America with both original and off-network fare. Circle was available on CBS-owned stations, including WBBM on Channel 2.5. 

On January 1, Gray is replacing Circle on linear with Free TV Networks (yep, that’s the name) a joint venture between Gray, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. Discovery. Two formats are launching – The 365, featuring programming targeted to Black audiences and Outlaw, featuring Western movies and reruns of shows such as F Troop. It is not known if the CBS-owned stations who carried Circle would replace it with one of the two formats, but with Dabl already converting into a network targeting Black audiences, it is unlikely they would carry The 365 but may carry Outlaw. 

Earlier, NBC’s LX converted into LX Home featuring LX’s lifestyle programming; and Stadium became The Nest after the Chicago-based Silver Chalice took full ownership from Sinclair. 

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49 thoughts on “Dabl dumps lifestyle shows, adds Black sitcoms

    • Dahl was our favourite channel, not anymore. There are enough trashy sitcoms on without Dabl adding to the pile!

      • Trashy?

      • I TOTALLY AGREE! I am so disappointed. Loved all the old Martha Stewart shows…Escape to the Country…all the makeover shows…the cooking shows (Jamie in the UK was my favorite). Another garden makeover show with Danny in the UK. Those shows were not only entertaining, you could get great decor ideas for indoor and outdoor. VERY DISAPPOINTED! BAD MOVE!

        • I agree! There are many of the as they called them “black sitcoms” that I love to watch,Living Single, The Jeffersons, Sanford & Son, the classics..and I DO watch them regularly because THEY ARE FUNNY!!! It was nice to have a channel like Dabl with shows like Martha Stewart, This old house, You gotta eat here, Sell this House,…even BOUNCE TV is a network primarily focusing on the black community but it gives us a choice and many different options not just low rated sitcoms. Seriously…u lost myself and many others.

          • It won’t last!! Nobody now a day cares about all these sitcoms shows anymore not only that the the shows are poor quality not clear at all I really hope you wake up.

          • Hate the change love Design Sara Richardson escape from the country. Stupid move get enough black from Bounce these sitcoms are irritating will not watch at all. You should be fired! Ditto to other commenters

        • I totally agree with Sue. The “now discarded” programming was entertaining and educational. REALLY DISAPPOINTED WITH THE CHANGE

      • This channel is terrible now why would you change it, it was perfect. What rubbish is on now

        • I’m a 63 year old black woman living in Seattle and I’m deeply insulted that DABL would refer to this new Line-up as “Black-centric”. What garbage! Do they imagine everyone with dark skin is stupid enough to sit around watching moronic sitcoms like Moesha simply because the actors are black? A shi**y show is a shi**y show. Folks could be purple and it’s still garbage.
          Your channel is now a joke. Happy?

      • My favorite till now

      • I totally feel the same. I’ve been watching Dabl for years. Some of my favorite shows were broadcast on Dabl. We will not be watching this lineup of stupid old programming again!

      • So very disappointed. No other OTA in my area with lifestyle programming. Going to delete the channel on my remote so that I don’t waste braincells even stopping on the channel. Punk move CBS.

    • The recent change is beautiful because at least people can be able to watch some old black sitcoms again. & I even like how Dabl went from an Ion Life replica to a UPN replica. I even like ALL of the new shows which are “The Parkers”, “One On One”, “Girlfriends”, “Half & Half”, “The Game” & “Sister, Sister”. Even though I did love the old Dabl for “Essence Of Emeril”, “The Martha Stewart Show” & “You Gotta Eat Here”, I think the improvement is really good.

      • I wouldn’t call it an improvement. There is room for all the shows. They just chose to make it all black sitcoms, which is on another network. I can’t think of which one it is right now but they took my favorite Jamie Oliver off.

      • I agree. They’re all rather new to me because I really didn’t watch any of them in their first run. These aren’t “trash” shows like some seem intent on defining them as. They’re no different than most sitcoms beyond the actors “not stories” being predominantly of color. Could THAT be the real issue some are having? methinks that’s exactly the issue.

        • Please add those shows! Trent, I had forgotten about all of those great shows! Good looking out & thanx for jostling an old woman’s memory!
          Sylvia

        • M. M. I totally agree! Thanx for calling it what it is!! How selfish & insensitive can a certain aspect of society be when there are 100’s of thousands of tv shows that showcase only white shows by white people about white people for white people !! Give us a couple of channels why dontcha & the shit really hits the fan!!! “ Why can’t we all get along “? FAMOUS LAST WORDS FOR THOSE OF US WHO REMEMBER WHO & WHAT I’ M TALKING ABOUT!!

      • Don’t want too

    • I enjoyed watching dabl but not now. I refuse to watch these stupid sitcoms.

    • Watched Dabl all the time. Not anymore. I didn’t watch this trash on there now back in the 90’s and I’m not watching this trash now. You are going to lose A LOT of viewers with this crap on. Remember: not only black lives matter! Quit taking over everything!

    • I enjoyed the DIY and home shows and the British programming like Escape To the Country daily. UPN and other channels cover the same ground. We don’t need more tired retreaded rerun sitcoms. They’ve definitely lost a viewer here.

    • Bummer. As a cord-cutter, Dabl was actually my most watched channel now that I think of it. Gordon Ramsey shows, Sell This House etc. Move over for Moesha. No thanks.

    • I hope Dabl will not use those shows to build there network and then dump them the same way that UPN and CW did.

      It was shocking to see the change but a welcome surprise.

      Please add the Jeffersons, Family Mattress, Hanging with Mr Cooper, Living Single, etc.

    • I hate the new dabl

      Will ever watch it. Garbage.
      Loved the other dabl with gardening british shows. Escape to the county. Martha Stewart.

      Now cbs has turned it in to trash. Just like regular channels. Hope they get smart and read options here.

      Bad moved

    • I won’t be watching dabl anymore. I used to watch all the time.

    • I am absolutely sick I can no longer watch Escape to the Country every evening. I work like a dog all day and that was the most relaxing thing I had to look forward to. It’s absolutely ridiculous what they’ve put on in its place I will guarantee there aren’t 2 people who care about this utterly ridiculous programing you’ve put on, it’s not even mainstream actors that anyone would even recognize what a waste of effort and electricity you might as well be showing home movies from 60 years in the past what a joke! You took a wonderful channel with interesting and relaxing shows and put nothing on! You have ruined my weekday evenings thanks for nothing!

    • WHY did you go and do this? We have enough channels like that already Now you ruined it. CHANGE IT BACK

    • Well Dabl was my favorite channel, BUT NOT ANYMORE! Why take all the GOOD SHOWS AWAY, That we all LOVED!!! The programming now is just like Bounce, why not put them there and leave all the very much loved programs alone on Dabl. I loved them all, many people did. Now it’s all shows we could watch on other channels. Omg I can’t live without escape to the country, gotta eat here, all the redo homes, or rooms and etc, Oh and Gordon Ramsey, Martha Stewart ,Drew Barrymore and many many more that was so enjoyable to watch, now dabl can go in my delete channel file!!! DABL was one of the best channels on antenna tv. NOT NOW! This is just HORRIBLE!!! PLEASE BRING THEM BACK!!

    • I TOTALLY AGREE 100 % WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!! YOU TOOK A GREAT CHANNEL, WITH GREAT PROGRAMMING AWAY, NOW ITS JUST AS MISERABLE AS LIFE IS, IN THIS WORLD!!!!

    • Please watch your reviews and change it back!

      This was a terrible decision. I suspect your ratings will prove that.

      Perhaps you could poll people like Crime TV or ION do.

    • Dabl, can you add Living Single, The Hughleys, Eve, The Wayans Bros, All of Us, The Cosby Show, In Living Color, My Wife & Kids, Malcolm & Eddie, Smart Guy, Martin, The Parent ‘Hood, The Bernie Mac Show, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, A Different World, In The House, The Steve Harvey Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, Kenan & Kel, The Jamie Foxx Show, Roc, etc. please

    • Already so many sitcoms on antenna TV. Dabl was the only channel with lifestyle programming on Antenna TV. Now there is little variety between game shows, sports, and sitcoms/re-runs. Bounce still offers an interesting mix with movies in its black-oriented programming. New shows like the Neighborhood and Bob Hearts Abishola are much better quality, as are many others. I don’t see the need to eliminate programming that offered alternative genre. I don’t enjoy any of the “new” old programming – it’s pretty boring & I stopped watching.

    • I only have access to OTA television, but even when I was in places with cable and streaming, DABL was my go to channel for relaxing, educational and positive programming. Jamie Oliver, Amanda Lamb, Escape to the Country, etc were programs I looked forward to and are unavailable on any other OTA antenna station. There are multiple stations that provide similar programming to the new line up. OTA has become the dumping ground of low grade sitcom repeats and reality/game shows. DABL was a refreshing retreat. I certainly won’t be watching. Perhaps create a lifestyle focused channel, oh that’s right it WAS called DABL.

    • DITTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I hardly watched daytime TV. Yours was an exception. Loved Escaped to the Country. It will be greatly missed

    • Dabl was the best. Not now. Have no interest in what they call comedy on channel now. Bring back the old dabl!!!!

    • Really dislike programming changes. I loved the UK shows. There are already channels that show Black programs. No need for another one.

    • What a terrible move. The good shows on dabl have now turned to garbage shows. Sad.

    • They should have used a more accurate title. “Dabl dumps lifestyle shows, adds Black sitcoms and now their Viewers are dumping Dabl”

    • This is a great example of racism, why are the blacks monopolizing my tv?

    • What is wrong with all of these bigoted ass white people. I am a very young 70 year old black woman who loves television. I was & will remain a dedicated DABL CHANNELER, I was/am upset that I can’t find many of the shows that I loved on DABL but did I or many other black people ever fricking complain about watching “WHITE SHOWS” on (before & after the new format) every damned channel that you switch on? Broaden your minds people (your true COLORS are showing) not that you really give a damn!! And they say RACISM doesn’t exist anymore. PUHLEASE PEOPLE!! Stop the madness & give us our moment in the sun & no pun intended!!

    • Sooo disappointed. Bad move. We won’t be watching Dabl. This will prove a big mistake. Many retirees who watch daytime tv will be dumping dabl.

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