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Peacock Feathers Pax TV's Primetime

New York— The latest series to segue from NBC's primetime schedule to Pax TV is The Weakest Link
— and that game show has so far proven anything but weak for the family-friendly network.

The addition of Link
was just one of the schedule changes announced during Pax's upfront presentation to the ad community here last month. At that gathering, the fledgling programmer announced an expansion of its alliance with NBC.

The Weakest Link's initial off-NBC rerun, part of Pax's Friday slate, scored a 1.2 Nielsen Media Research primetime rating during the week ended June 3. That was enough to make it Pax's strongest draw yet in the leadoff Friday 8 p.m. time slot among adults and women 18 to 49, as well as adults and women 25 to 54, according to Pax TV.

Doc, meanwhile, remains Pax TV's most popular first-run series, averaging a 1.4 household rating through June 3, a spokeswoman said.

Those two hits also lifted the network's ratings 22 percent ahead of where they stood during the corresponding week of 2000. They also powered Pax to a tie of its highest-rated week — a 1.1 household rating, with more than 1.5 million viewers, the network announced.

The hybrid network — which features a dove in its logo and is 32-percent owned by the Peacock Network — now reaches 82 percent of U.S. households via broadcast, cable and satellite distribution, up from 63 percent a year ago.

Pax TV will also be home to other NBC fare, as evidenced by the return of Mysterious Ways
and the addition of freshman series Crossing Jordan.
Starring Jill Hennessy as a crime-solving medical examiner, Crossing Jordan
will premiere on the Peacock Network this fall before bowing on Pax in January.

In a more nostalgic bow to NBC, Pax has corralled Ponderosa, a prequel series to Bonanza
(which NBC ran on Sunday nights from 1959 to 1973), as part of its series-only Sunday primetime.

Describing an all-series Sunday primetime as "the broadcasting Holy Grail," Paxson Communications Corp. CEO Jeff Sagansky said Pax's lineup would comprise the renewed Candid Camera
at 7 p.m., followed by Doc, the popular returnee starring Billy Ray Cyrus, Ponderosa
and Mysterious Ways.

Pax has ordered 33 fresh episodes of Doc, which Sagansky called "our new signature show," which is particularly popular among adults 18 to 49.

Also on Sundays, he said, Pax will redefine primetime to extend to the 6 p.m. time slot, where Ed McMahon's Next Big Star
will air as his follow-up to the syndicated hit Star Search.