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TBS Moves Its 'Movies' Series Around

TBS Superstation is rescheduling two of its most popular franchises next month with an eye toward giving each a better chance to become appointment viewing.

"Dinner & a Movie," now in its seventh season on the network, will move to Monday evenings from Friday nights, beginning Nov. 12, according to vice president of programming Bill Cox.

The "Movies for Guys Who Like Movies" franchise, hosted by Rick Schwartz, will air on Tuesday nights beginning Nov. 13, as well as in its current slot on Thursdays, following "The Man Made Movie," through the end of the year. Thereafter, "Movies for Guys Who Like Movies" will screen only on Tuesdays, immediately following TBS NBA Tuesday.

Hosted by Annabelle Gurwitch and Paul Gilmartin — who furnish step-by-step instructions on preparing a meal that fits the film — "Dinner & a Movie" will be replaced by an encore presentation of a recent network movie premiere or an original movie premiere.

" 'Dinner & a Movie' has been a great persona for us," Cox said. "We will have some people who won't like us moving 'Dinner & a Movie,' but I think it will be easy for them to find it on Monday nights, and even if we lose a few people, I think we stand to gain many more."

Operators gave a thumbs-up to TBS's programming shuffle. "Generally speaking, our position is that the networks should move programming where they see fit to optimize the ratings," Cable One Inc. vice president of programming and strategic marketing Jerry McKenna said.

"Dinner & a Movie" has been No. 1 in its 8 p.m. time slot on Fridays among adults and women 18 to 49. Likewise, "Movies for Guys" is basic cable's No. 1 show in its 10 p.m. time period Thursdays with men 18 to 49 and men 25 to 54.

"Once you get to Braves baseball in the second and third quarters, 20 out of 26 weeks, [ 'Dinner & a Movie'] is preempted by a sports event," Cox said. "That's an enormous amount of preempting. On Mondays, we do not carry Braves baseball."

TBS executives hope the schedule shifts will create appointment viewing for each of the film franchises. Relative to "Dinner," Cox said that franchise could benefit from the higher number of households using television on Mondays.

"Out of a 52-week schedule, you are going to get "Dinner & a Movie"
42 weeks, and Mondays offer us an opportunity to reach more people," he added

For the year-to-date, TBS ranks first among adults 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 in primetime, according to Nielsen Media Research data, provided by Turner. TBS averaged just over 1 million adult 18 to 49 viewers in primetime from Jan. 1 to Oct. 21, and 584,000 for the same demo in total-day over that span. TBS did not break out the demo numbers for its movie franchises.

TBS officials have a raised sensitivity to the types of movies aired with the franchises in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, Cox said.

"We wouldn't have that problem with 'Dinner & a Movie' as much as 'Movies for Guys,' except with perhaps a movie like Back to the Future,
where there is terrorist activity in the beginning," Cox said.

TBS decided not to air Platoon
(Oliver Stone, 1986) in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks. It was pulled because it is a strong anti-war film, a network spokesman said. The movie has been rescheduled to air on Nov. 5, but that date could be pushed back further.