Lifetime Takes Strong Medicine

Lifetime Television is bringing back its original series Strong Medicine for a fifth season in 2004 and is picking up strip rights to the drama from distributor Sony Pictures Television.

Strong Medicine is the first basic cable drama to go on long enough to accumulate enough episodes for syndication and Lifetime becomes the first cable channel to strip its own scripted show.

Lifetime had a first-look at the strip rights but some industry insiders speculated one of Lifetime’s competitors, perhaps WE: Women’s Entertainment or Oxygen, would go after the Strong Medicine repeats.

"Lifetime’s acquisition of the off-net rights to the show affirms that there is a viable business model for successful made-for-cable series," Sony Pictures Television President of Programming and Production Russ Krasnoff said in a statement. Some of cable’s other original hits, like Monk and The Shield, could be candidates for syndication if they last.

Lifetime plans to schedule Strong Medicine repeats on weekdays, although the time slot has not been decided. First-run episodes air on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET.