WB, NBC Cut Back on Repurposing


In a setback to the repurposing trend, broadcast networks The WB and NBC said they have no immediate plans to air repeats of any of their new shows on Turner Network Television and Pax TV during the 2002-03 season.

Instead, TNT will continue to run episodes of
a week after they debut on The WB. And Pax will offer primetime encores of at least two of its four new shows to attract more viewers, said network executives.

Turner Broadcasting System Inc. CEO Jamie Kellner — who'd advocated the benefits of repurposing broadcast networks shows on cable — said at last week's The WB upfront that Turner has no plans to repurpose any of The WB's six new original shows. That's because advertisers failed to provide enough support to TNT's plays of Charmed.

TNT executives had hoped the network would be able to offer shows from sister outlet The WB — especially new series just getting off the ground — within one week of their broadcast premiere.

Although advertisers bought time on TNT's Charmed
airings, Kellner said TNT, which improved overall viewership for the female-skewing show with virtually no audience duplication, was only able to extract between 50 percent and 70 percent of the CPM (cost per thousand) pricing that The WB garnered for the series.

The WB had been packaging both its and TNT's runs of Charmed
in an effort to draw advertisers to cable, but TNT will now sell the Charmed
telecasts on its own, starting next season.

Kellner said there might be an opportunity for TNT or TBS Superstation to tie into The WB's original movie pilot The Lone Ranger
— which has yet to be slated — if it's later green-lit as a series.

Pax also won't benefit from any new repurposing opportunities from NBC, save for the game show The Weakest Link.
NBC, which owns a minority interest in the hybrid cable/broadcast network, instead last week announced a deal with Spanish-language network Telemundo to air some of the 2004 Summer Olympics. NBC recently acquired Telemundo for $3 billion.

Pax — continuing a tactic it has employed since its inception five years ago — will double-run episodes of at least two of its four new original series in primetime next season.

Episodes of Body & Soul,
a drama that examines both traditional and holistic medical procedures, and Just Cause, about an ex-con who uses a law degree she earned in jail to help others, will repeat on Sunday nights after initial plays on Monday and Tuesday night, respectively.

Pax president and CEO Jeff Sagansky said running encores of original series works especially well, in terms of building awareness for new shows.

"We always try do it at the launch so that the show gets known quicker," he said. "You're bringing in a very significant audience, with very little duplication."