NBC, Discovery outline Saturday deal

NBC and Discovery Communications Inc. officially unveiled their new
three-year partnership that will put Discovery Kids programming on NBC each
Saturday morning starting next fall.

After looking over a number of different offers, sources said NBC chose to
lease three Saturday hours to Discovery Kids at $6 million per season.

The Saturday-morning block -- which will air from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST and 8
a.m. to 11 a.m. PST -- could be a two-and-a-half-hour block if NBC renews its
contract with the National Basketball Association for next season.

NBA-produced series Inside Stuff would fit into the block that meets
Federal Communications Commission kids'-programming requirements.

NBC West Coast president Scott Sassa said the network was getting out of the
Saturday-morning business because it had no place to promote the block.

'One of the misgivings we had about this daypart is that we did not have a
Monday-through-Friday presence to promote to kids or teens -- in our case,
teens,' Sassa said. 'Our highest-rated teen vehicle is Friends, and it
was hardly a good business proposition to promote our Saturday-morning kids'
block during Friends.'

Sassa said the deal with Discovery was a 'special and specific situation,'
and he did not say that NBC will be leasing out any of its other dayparts.

Discovery executives said they are still determining which shows will be
placed on NBC, but it will be a mixture of new and possibly repurposed Discovery
Kids programming.

Discovery Networks U.S. president Jonathan Rodgers said leasing the time on
NBC makes sense for a number of reasons, including getting promotion for
digital-cable channel Discovery Kids.

'With this added platform at NBC, it will allow us to help our digital
strategy and help cable operators around the country,' he added.

Discovery will sell and keep all of the advertising revenue, and the
Saturday-morning block will be co-branded between the two networks.

As for reports that NBC and Discovery were discussing a potential merger,
Rodgers said those conversations were concluded this past summer. 'This is not a
precursor to a bigger deal,' he said.

Sassa added, 'Whatever did happen, we realized there are many ways we can
work together and our assets complement each other.'

NBC and Discovery have teamed up previously for news and primetime specials,
including Crocodile Hunter specials.

NBC executives said they are looking for new ways to work with some of the
producers of their current Saturday-morning lineup, including Peter Engel and
Tommy Lynch.