CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Hallmark Channel has made its largest off-network commitment to date as the cable network has purchased the repeat rights to Paramount's "J.A.G." in a deal valued over $41 million. The pact calls for Hallmark to pay about $200,000 per episode for each of the series' 205 installments expected to be produced through the 2003-04 season. In exchange the cable channel will get two runs of "J.A.G." a day, primetime and late night, beginning in January 2005.
USA, the series' current off-network home, will continue to strip the drama in an earlier daypart once the Hallmark deal goes into effect. Already being groomed to replace "J.A.G." in primetime is "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," which begins off-network run on USA this fall. Back in 1998, USA paid $750,000 per episode for the repeat rights to "J.A.G." which began stripping on the channel in fall 2000. The series went on that season to be the highest rated off-network series on basic cable.
As for Hallmark, in order to maintain its family-friendly image, standards-and-practices for the network will go over each episode of "J.A.G." and edit out any scenes that may prove disturbing to its viewers.