Turner Broadcasting Systems Inc. chairman Jamie Kellner says he's still bullish on repurposing and would like to see more programs from broadcast network The WB appear on Turner cable networks in the near future.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour here last week, Kellner said repurposed programming — like Turner Network Television's encores of Charmed, which show a week after their original airing on The WB — should be the norm rather than the exception for the industry in order to give consumers more viewing options and choices. The experiment has helped the show increase its overall viewership by 20 percent, while not duplicating the audience, Kellner said.
With top shows from the broadcast and cable networks often competing head-to-head, Kellner said the ability to deliver high ratings on any one show is limited. By combining both the cable and broadcast network viewership through repurposing, advertisers can more effectively reach more viewers.
Kellner indicated that he would love to see other WB series such as Smallville
repeated on TNT as many as three times a week, but said no deal is in the works. He also warned that if the networks can't find ways to increase viewership, new technologies such as personal video recorders will draw viewers away from them altogether, making it difficult to attract significant advertising dollars.
Also at the TCA, TNT announced the development of several new original movies, including King of Texas
— a western take on Shakespeare's King Lear tragedy starring Patrick Stewart — set to premiere in June, Turner Entertainment Networks president Bradley Siegel said.
TBS Superstation will debut three original films in the first half of 2002: Dead In A Heartbeat
starring Judge Reinhold on March 3; Disappearance, featuring Susan Dey and Harry Hamlin; and Atomic Twister, casting former NYPD Blue
star Sharon Lawrence in June.
In other TCA news, Court TV has signed Vanity Fair
columnist Dominick Dunne to host a new documentary series taking a look at how the legal system deals with the rich and famous.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.