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Split shift for Blue

In a rare sharing of a series by two cable networks, Court TV and TNT will split off-network reruns of police drama NYPD Blue.

The episodes move from FX, whose parent and NYPD producer News Corp. was accused by show-creator Steven Bochco of granting the network a sweetheart deal of just $400,000 episode. A weekend broadcast syndication window brought in a few hundred thousand more.

It could not be learned how much Court TV and TNT will pay, although the older episodes have gotten a lot of airtime on FX for the past four years. AOL Time Warner owns 50% of Court TV and all of TNT, making the sharing arrangement easier to negotiate.

The show will end its run on both FX and broadcast syndication this fall. Court TV will have the episodes in prime time, while TNT has rights for the rest of the day. Neither network has officially slotted the show, although Court TV President Henry Schleiff said the eight seasons of episodes completed so far won't begin airing on his network until January. TNT may put it on in the fall.

NYPD Blue gets a 0.7 cable household rating on FX. New episodes get a 10.0 national TV household score on ABC. Court TV used off-network episodes of Homicide to supercharge its "crime and justice" positioning, raising its network rating from average 0.2 to 0.7.

TNT is trying to brand itself as drama's cable home. This summer, it will get episodes of Law & Order
that have been airing on A&E for years, running them at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET.