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A Grownup's Guide to Late Night TV

Can't sleep? These talk shows, news hours and classic reruns are worth staying awake for

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams in Laverne and Shirley

'Laverne & Shirley' (Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams) were primetime TV sweethearts from 1976 to 1983. — Paramount Television/Everett Collection

Nightly Nostalgia

If you yearn for TV from decades past, you've got lots of options.

On Antenna TV, you'll find Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Burns and Allen Show and The Jack Benny Program from the '50s; on Me-TV you'll find '60s staples Mission: Impossible, Combat! and Perry Mason.

Another cable net, The Hub, recreates ABC's '70s powerhouse pairing Laverne and Shirley and Happy Days at 2 a.m. nightly.

Shows from the '80s, like Cheers, Roseanne, The Cosby Show and The Golden Girls can be found on Channels like TV Land, Nick at Nite and Hallmark. In fact, the dedicated Golden Girls viewer who knows just when and where to click could take in six episodes of that classic show every night.

 Join the discussion: Who are your favorite talk show hosts, then and now

Law & Order: Criminal Intent stars Julianne Nicholson, Jeff Goldblum, Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe

Have a few hours? You can watch 'Law & Order' episode after episode after episode. — Miranda Penn Turin/USA Networks/Everett Collection

TV Marathons

A few cable channels use the overnight hours to offer long programming blocks of their most popular shows.

A&E, for example, airs three straight hours of its half-hour reality hit Duck Dynasty beginning at midnight on Thursdays. On other nights during the week, the network offers binge blocks of its popular reality fare, including Storage Wars and American Hoggers.

TNT airs blocks of hit dramas like Major Crimes, The Closer and Las Vegas every night.

And the USA network relies heavily on Law & Order: Criminal Intent reruns. Bleary-eyed aspiring crime solvers can take in two nightly hours of CI at 4 a.m. And on Wednesdays, USA throws in two more hours of the original Law & Order at 2 a.m.

Austin O'Connor writes on lifestyle and entertainment topics for AARP Media.

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