‘Monk,’ ‘Psych’ Repurposing Will Drive Sampling: Hammer

NBC will begin airing episodes of USA Network’s series Monk and Psych in a two-hour Sunday-night block, starting March 2.

Tony Shalhoub-starrer Monk will make its NBC debut at 8 p.m. that night, followed by Psych at 9 p.m., NBCU officials said late this evening.

The news follows the announcement earlier today that the Peacock network would repurpose two of the biggest hits on its cable cousin USA.

The “characters” network will begin airing the remaining six episodes of the series’ split current seasons on Friday Jan. 11. Both series premiered 10 installments on USA Network this past summer, according to officials.

The latest repurposing gambit provides NBC with a hedge against the lingering Writers Guild of America strike. However, officials said the move toward showcasing Monk, which years ago was repurposed on ABC, and Psych on NBC had been in the works for quite some time.

Bonnie Hammer, president of USA Network and Sci Fi Channel, said that having NBC showings was factored into the budgets for these series.

“That was always an end-game goal. The strike did accelerate the discussions,” she said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon.

NBC Entertainment co-chair Ben Silverman said capitalizing on programming synergies is “a corporate initiative under [NBCU president and CEO] Jeff Zucker. “In this case it made a lot of sense.

For her part, Hammer said the runs on NBC should bolster USA’s ratings down the road: “Monk and Psych have similar demographic compositions to series on NBC. This will generate new sampling opportunities and drive new viewers to USA next summer when we present more original episodes.”

Silverman, who said the broadcaster would handle the advertising sales inventory for the repurposed Monk and Psych episodes, called the shows “complementary” to NBC’s fare, noting that the Peacock’s lineup lacks “character-driven procedurals.”

He said the series’ have great appeal because of their non-serialized nature: “They are mysteries of the week. Episode 12 or episode one, both stand up on their own.”

It was unclear as to how many episodes of the two series NBC will air, but Silverman said scheduling decisions would be evaluated in part by whether the “strikes ends tomorrow or in two months.”

Asked if NBC was considering running other NBC Cable fare, Silverman said that for “right now” these are the series “we’ve targeted,” before adding that there are “tons of shows across NBCU that are coveted, delicious and good.”

Psych and Monk won’t be the first USA shows to be repurposed on NBC in 2008. Next month, the broadcast network will begin airing installments of Law & Order: Criminal Intent that premiered on USA this fall. Those episodes will appear alongside the original Law & Order Wednesday nights on NBC.

NBCU has been at the forefront of cross-promoting shows with series like Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, Project Runway, Top Chef, Heroes and Battlestar Galactica all gaining exposure on its broadcast and cable properties.