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Superstation Adds Sex

The other syndicated shoe dropped on Sex and the City Monday.

TBS Superstation has secured the rights to the hit Home Box Office comedy
from Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution beginning in June 2004.

Steve Koonin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of TBS
Superstation and Turner Network Television, said TBS holds many options with the
show, but its initial game plan calls for it to run a pair of hours in

He said Sex would be paired with Seinfeld -- which TBS
currently runs in primetime from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday nights -- as well as
Friends and other new original programming the network has in

Sources said TBS paid upward of $400,000 per episode for each of 94
installments over a nine-year window. TBS beat out Oxygen for the cable

The show -- about Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), her three friends
and their pursuit of love and lust in Manhattan -- will air on TBS 15 months
before it makes its debut on 26 Tribune Co.-owned stations. Tribune closed its
deal earlier this month.

Sex’s final eight episodes will air begin airing on HBO in January.

In addition to TBS being the first stop for Sex after its premium
sister network, Koonin said, Tribune stations do not hold primetime-window
rights for the series and can’t position it on Chicago’s WGN-TV as a
superstation until "later in the contract."

Koonin called the series a "virtual original show" for TBS because "while
100% of the country has heard about Sex and the City, TBS is available in
58 million more homes than HBO."

Despite its female protagonists, Koonin said, Sex is in keeping with
TBS’ dual-audience skew, attracting a strong male following during its premiere
installments on HBO.

Koonin said TBS would be working with the show’s producers for editing
purposes, and the network is not concerned about some of its more salacious
elements. "They were smart enough to produce ‘safer’ versions," he added, noting
that having looked at some of the earlier episodes of the series, he believes
what "was outrageous in 1998 isn’t so outrageous today."

Moreover, he said, TBS is prepared to run "longer versions" of the show. He
said some run 32 minutes and "require little editing." He pointed to NBC running
48- and 41-minute versions of Friends and Will & Grace,
respectively, and said, "That was very effective, great TV. We want to give
viewers more, not less, of Sex and the City."