Court Adds Subs, Buys 'Profiler'

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Further bolstering its primetime lineup, Courtroom Television Network has acquired reruns of Profiler, the canceled NBC series about a female forensic psychologist who can visualize crimes, officials said last week.

Court TV will ante up $200,000 per episode for the series as part of a five-year deal, according to sources, making it the network's priciest purchase since it bought the off-network rights to Homicide: Life on the Street.

Court TV vied against cable networks such as A & E Network to get Profiler [MCN, July 3], which it plans to strip weeknights at 8 p.m. starting Sept. 18.

"We think it fits in perfectly with our schedule," Court TV executive vice president of programming and marketing Art Bell said.

Profiler, which debuted on NBC in the fall of 1996, was part of a "thrillogy" of three dark series the broadcast network had on the air Saturday nights. But NBC pulled the plug on the series, which had a four-season run, earlier this year.

In September, Court TV will also debut a reality-based, half-hour series called Forensic Files, which will explore the world of forensic science, probing intriguing crimes and accidents. The documentary show will look at the increasing role modern science plays in the world of crime and justice.

In addition to its programming deals, Court TV said last week that it is rolling out in 2.5 million analog homes during the next 30 days, including a relaunch at Cox Communications Inc.'s system in Phoenix, which has 650,000 subscribers.

The network also signed a long-term carriage deal with Mediacom Communications Corp., which alone will give Court TV 700,000 homes.

With all of its new launches, the network will have more than 45 million subscribers.

The Cox Phoenix system dropped Court TV back in the summer of 1997-one of a number of cable operators, including MediaOne Group Inc., that were switching out the network in part because of its low ratings.

But under the leadership of new president Henry Schleiff, Court TV has invested in programming that has made its ratings soar, including Homicide. As a result, a number of cable systems have added the network-which is paying modest launch fees-back on their lineups, including Media-One and, now, Cox.

A spokeswoman for Cox in Phoenix said Court TV was being returned to the system's lineup for "a combination of reasons. Part of it is customer demand, and they've made investments and improvements in their programming."

Next month's Court TV launches will include Cox, Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable systems in markets such as Tulsa, Okla.; Flint, Mich.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Shreveport, La.; and Birmingham, Ala.

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