CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda" is getting a boost as the show's distributor, Tribune Entertainment, has pacted with the Sci Fi Channel to begin sharing episodes between the cable channel and broadcast syndication. Beginning in March, new episodes from the show's fourth season will debut on Sci Fi with a second airing in syndication a week to 10 days later. The deal includes a 22-episode renewal for the series' fifth and final season. In addition, Sci Fi will get the television rights to all episodes of the series produced to date.
Here's the press release about the news, including details on Sci Fi's acquisition of fellow Tribune series "BeastMaster":
TRIBUNE ENTERTAINMENT AND SCI FI CHANNEL ENTER MAJOR PROGRAM LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR "GENE RODDENBERRY'S ANDROMEDA"
Deal Includes New Original Episodes of Popular Action Hour
SCI FI Also Acquires Three Seasons of Tribune Entertainment's "BeastMaster"
SCI FI Channel and Tribune Entertainment Company have entered into a major program license agreement for the popular weekly action hour "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda," starring Kevin Sorbo. In addition to presenting the fifth and final season of "Andromeda" next fall as an original series, SCI FI will also have the television rights to the series' first four seasons. The announcement was jointly made today by Dick Askin, President and CEO of Tribune Entertainment; and Thomas Vitale, Senior Vice President of Scheduling, Acquisitions & Planning for SCI FI Channel. The Tribune Entertainment deal also includes 66 episodes of the weekly action hour "BeastMaster."
Marking one of Tribune Entertainment's largest cable license deals ever, SCI FI has been granted cable rights for 110 episodes of "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda," including the program's first four seasons, as well as all 22 new original episodes of its fifth season. The fourth season of "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda" will become available to SCI FI beginning in March 2004, when SCI FI starts sharing original episodes with syndication. New original episodes of the fifth season begin airing this fall on the Channel, and will air in syndication a week to 10 days after their SCI FI premiere.
In addition, the agreement grants SCI FI the rights for all 66 episodes, or three seasons, of Tribune Entertainment's weekly action hour "BeastMaster" the series will begin airing sometime in 2004 exclusively on SCI FI.
Regarding the announcement, Askin stated, "This deal with SCI FI represents one of Tribune Entertainment's largest ever cable license deals. SCI FI has been enormously successful in establishing its brand among the cable network community as a leading force with entertaining and original programming for its growing audience. We are delighted that they are looking to both 'Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda' and 'BeastMaster' to help them further define their brand."
He added, "'Andromeda' was a five year program plan based on our vision of producing a quality series that stars the globally-renowned star Kevin Sorbo and carries significant value in worldwide television. This arrangement with SCI FI validates our plan and we intend to continue practicing this business philosophy in our development, production and distribution strategy."
"'Andromeda' has so much going for it that attracted Sci Fi to the series," said SCI FI's Vitale. "The Gene Roddenberry name, the talents of Kevin Sorbo and the rest of the cast, and the quality that Tribune Entertainment and its partners bring to the screen, makes this an exciting addition to the SCI FI Channel schedule. We're particularly looking forward to airing new original episodes first on SCI FI as part of our Friday original lineup."
Starring Sorbo as Captain Dylan Hunt, "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda" premiered in 2000 with the highest first-run weekly hour household rating in three years; and established itself as the number one weekly hour three years in a row with Men 25-54. This season it ranks a close second in Men 25-54. The series is based on work collected from the late "Star Trek" creator's archives. Currently in its fourth season, Hunt and his crew's ongoing mission to restore order to the former System's Commonwealth (which suffered a cataclysmic civil war) is increasingly successful. But a corrupt arm of the newly re-established Commonwealth seeks to plunge their efforts and the universe back into darkness. The program is produced in association with Tribune Entertainment, Fireworks Entertainment and MBR Productions, and is executive produced by Sorbo, Bob Engels, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Josanne Lovick, Jay Firestone and Adam Haight.
"BeastMaster," starring Daniel Goddard and Monika Schnarre, follows the journeys of Dar the BeastMaster (Goddard) in a world where mythical creatures and miraculous powers are made real by equally magical special effects. An Australian/Canadian co-production, "BeastMaster" is an Alliance Atlantis Communications and Coote/Hayes Productions co-production in association with Tribune Entertainment. The program is executive produced by Jeffrey Hayes, Greg Coote and Sylvio Tabet.
SCI FI Channel is a television network where "what if" is what's on. SCI FI fuels the imagination of viewers with original series and events, blockbuster movies and classic science fiction and fantasy programming, as well as a dynamic Web site (www.scifi.com) and magazine. Launched in 1992, and currently in 83 million homes, SCI FI Channel is a program service of Universal Television Networks, part of the Universal Television Group (www.universalstudios.com), a division of Vivendi Universal Entertainment (VUE), the U.S.-based film, television and recreation entity of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.
Tribune Entertainment, a subsidiary of Tribune Broadcasting Company, is involved in the production and distribution of an extensive slate of television programming. Programs distributed by the company include the weekly action adventure hours "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda," starring Kevin Sorbo, "Mutant X" and "BeastMaster"; game show strip "Family Feud"; weekly "Soul Train" and "U.S. Farm Report" series; and numerous telefilms and television specials. In June, the company created an alliance with prominent producer Hearst Entertainment granting Tribune Entertainment with the exclusive domestic distribution rights for Hearst's first-run, live action and longform programming library of more than 250 movies-of-the-week and feature films, as well as approximately 1,000 episodes of live action series, including the lifestyle programs "B. Smith with Style," "Famous Homes & Hideaways," "Ron Hazelton's HouseCalls" and "Pet Keeping with Marc Morrone."
Tribune Entertainment recently acquired the exclusive syndication and barter advertising sales rights to DreamWorks SKG's highly-coveted library of 34 feature films. The company will begin distributing the DreamWorks SKG motion pictures in Fall 2006. Furthermore, the organization oversees all barter sales for DIC Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America, Hearst Entertainment, October Moon Television and Telco Productions. For more information on Tribune Entertainment, please visit the company's web site at www.tribtv.com.
Source: NSS/Galaxy Explorer; p-t-d ending 12/21/03, 5/25/03, 5/26/02, 5/25/01; GAA% measurement; weekly hour rankings do not include umbrella programs or weekend versions of strips