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On the Air

The latest news from the TV beat

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Long Arm of the ‘Law’

NBC’s Law & Order franchise may be looking to expand its beat. Rival net execs say the Peacock is considering airing reruns of all three Law & Orders on Saturdays next season or in the fall of 2003. NBC execs would not comment, but the network already gave the idea a trial run Jan. 26, when some 9.1 million viewers tuned in to the back-to-back reruns — a 49 percent jump from NBC’s typical performance on Saturdays. But NBC isn’t the first network to see reruns as an offensive, rather than defensive, move (repeats, after all, are typically subbed in for canceled shows): The WB has announced that it will add two hours of programming on Sundays next fall to double-pump its best shows. Explains WB president and COO Jed Petrick, ”If TiVo and ReplayTV are the ultimate consumer-friendly ways to program your own network, we think airing the same episode of a popular series at different times of the week is the best way we can provide the same service.” But will all the broadcast nets eventually follow suit? One scheduling head thinks so, in spite of the strategy’s inherent flaw: ”Each time you set aside time for reruns, you take away a time period to create a potential hit.”

‘Green’ Living

That’s not a wrap! Producer Chris Moore is planning to find another newbie director to star in a second season of the HBO filmmaking documentary Project Greenlight. HBO wouldn’t comment, but Moore is already working to launch a second Web-based screenplay contest. If all goes well, he and fellow Greenlight producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck will have their guinea pig in mid-April for a series debut in early 2003. Says Moore, ”In making the decision to go to year two, the only two things were: Do we want to do it again, like put ourselves through it, and can there be a compelling television show?” Sure, especially if the winning script is Stolen Summer 2.

Gay-Per-View

Now that Showtime and MTV are developing a gay channel for the United States, they might want to focus their gay-dar on Canada, where a similar channel has been up and running since September. Dubbed PrideVision TV, the digital network reaches at least 10,000 homes and offers original fare like the reality series Locker Room and foreign imports like Britain’s Metrosexuality and Showtime’s own Queer as Folk. While some of PrideVision’s programming has gone over the top — it recently aired a Liza Minnelli mini-film festival, for God’s sake — execs at Showtime and MTV are taking notice. ”Locker Room is a very funny idea for a show, although it’s just an excuse to shoot pictures of hot guys in sports,” says one insider. ”They do late-night erotica, something we would not do….That’s not the way we plan to do things down the road.” PrideVision reportedly is looking to enter the U.S., even though it’s unclear whether American cable operators are open to carrying a gay channel. As it is, Showtime and MTV have yet to announce a name, a debut date, or any programming plans for their venture. Do we sense some commitment issues? (Additional reporting by Joshua Rich)

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