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Band of Brothers Becomes History

The History Channel has picked up off-net rights to HBO’s Emmy-winning World War II miniseries, Band of Brothers. History plans to debut the ten-part series in second quarter 2004. It has the rights for two and a half years.

The network plans to run Band of Brothers in wide screen with a lighter commercial load, likely six minutes per hour instead of cable networks’ more typical 10-12 minutes of ad time.

The $120 million miniseries, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks is based on the best-selling book by historian Stephen Ambrose.

Although HBO heavily promoted Band of Brothers during its run, History Channel General Manager Dan Davids said he is not concerned the show is overtly branded as an HBO property. "It is Band of Brothers first, it is second as to where it airs," he said. His History Channel counts 86 million subscribers, compared to about 34 million for HBO.

To viewers who didn’t catch it on HBO, Davids said, "For them, it is a History Channel miniseries."