[03/19/03 - 12:00 AM]
TBS Adds 'Creek,' More 'Ripley'S' to Lineup
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- TBS Superstation has acquired the off network rights to the WB's "Dawson's Creek" in a deal worth an estimated $25.6 million. In addition, the cable network has picked up its original series "Ripley's Believe It or Not" for a full season. Both series are distributed by Sony Pictures Television.

The "Creek" deal comes after almost two years of trying to find a second-run home for the series, which will close its run on the WB on May 14. TBS will pay roughly $200,000 for each of the series' 128 episodes. The slim pay day finds it well behind TNT's recent bargain-basement acquisition of fellow Frog series "Angel." The Turner network paid $250,000 for each of the 88 episodes of that series.

In a rare sign of cooperation between broadcast and cable networks, TBS will begin airing four-hour marathons (in broadcast order) of "Dawson's" weekdays beginning March 31 to help promote its finale on the Frog. The series will then replace the network's current weekday run of "Matlock" at 9 and 10 a.m. eastern after its WB finale.

"We've gotten younger in primetime and the afternoon, so this will help do the same in the early part of the schedule," TBS senior VP of programming Bill Cox told The Hollywood Reporter. "This is a great opportunity for us to work together with the WB and turn this into a real slam-bang event." The Superstation currently enjoys the highest total-day ratings in the 18-34 demographic among basic cable networks.

TBS Believes 'Ripley's'

TBS has tacked 11 episodes onto "Ripley's" current fourth season, bringing its season total to 22 episodes. The series, which airs Wednesdays at 9:00/8:00c on the network, is the top rated cable program in its timeslot among adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.

"'Ripley's Believe It or Not' performs extremely well among our targeted young adult audience," TBS executive VP and general manager Dennis Quinn told Daily Variety. "We are excited that the show will continue to be an important part of TBS Superstation's original programming strategy." Distributor Sony Pictures Television is set to launch "Ripley's" syndicated run this fall, with clearances in 75% of the markets across the country.

  [march 2003]  


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