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Briefs

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Comedy Dons 'Scrubs’ In Off-Net Addition

New York — In a rare off-network sitcom acquisition, Comedy Central has secured syndication rights to NBCcomedy series Scrubs.

Comedy will air 93 episodes of the four-season skein, about the exploits of a young medical resident, beginning in 2006, network executives said.

WGN Superstation will also air the episodes as part of its national cable offering.

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, is the first off-network sitcom acquisition for Comedy since it purchased rights to Jay Mohr-vehicle Action in 2003. The network also acquired rights to Sports Night in 2000.

Time Warner Cable Adds Turner Nets’ VOD Package

Atlanta — Time Warner Cablewill distribute TBS On Demand and Turner Network Television On Demand under terms of an agreement with Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

Each network will provide between eight and 10 hours of programming, Turner said.

The MSO said systems currently signed up to carry the video-on-demand content are Austin and El Paso/Rio Grande, Texas; Binghamton and Syracuse, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Los Angeles.

TBS On Demand will showcase shorts and highlights from current and upcoming TBS original programming, including Minding the Store and Daisy Does America, as well as Turner original movies such as Sweet Revenge, Crazy from the Heart and T-Bone & Weasel.

Meanwhile, TNT On Demand will feature TNT original movies and series that complement monthly programming themes and genres on the linear network, as well as behind-the-scenes footage, long-form trailers, music videos and other content centered on current originals such as Into the West and The Closer.

DirecTV Launches MTV Desi Channel

El Segundo, Calif.MTV Networks bowed MTV Desi on direct-broadcast satellite provider DirecTV Inc. last Tuesday.

The new channel is targeted toward viewers who live in the United States, but have ties to the Indian subcontinent. The DBS leader said it has added MTV Desi to its “HindiDirect” programming package at no additional cost.

Dennis Is No Menace To Weather’s Ratings

AtlantaThe Weather Channel was the cable network of choice for those interested in tracking the flight of Hurricane Dennis on July 10, the day of landfall.

Weather, citing Nielsen Media Research data, said it averaged a 1.5 household rating (1.3 million households) on a total-day basis from 5 a.m. on July 10 to 2 a.m. on July 11. Fox News Channel was second in that period with a 1.2 million household average, according to Weather officials.

Dennis’s peak hour for The Weather Channel was between 3:15 and 3:30 p.m. on July 10: the storm hit land at 3:25 that day. During that quarter hour, Weather averaged a 3.3 household rating, garnering some 2.9 million households, according to Nielsen data.

The network said it also set the Nielsen pace on the Dennis watch in other key dayparts, including primetime and morning.

Here! Gets Political With 'Birch & Co.’

New YorkHere! next month will bow a new talk show hosted by Elizabeth Birch, the former head of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization. 

Birch & Company will premiere on the network on Aug. 12 with its host interviewing Rosie O’Donnell. Her second guest is arch-conservative Pat Buchanan; Birch’s on-air sparring with Buchanan is slated for Aug. 26.

Network officials said future guests could include: former Vice President and Current network head Al Gore; Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball; and Will & Grace creator and producer Max Mutchnick.

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