NBC renews PAR’s ‘Wings’

NBC has confirmed a renewal of “Wings” for the 1993-94 season–providing an endorsement and boost for the Paramount Network TV comedy after the web bumped the show from its coveted post-“Cheers” time period to make room for “Seinfeld.”

The renewal is one of NBC’s first for next fall and can be seen in part as a reimbursement for the time-period shift: “Wings” had commanded the 9:30 p.m. Thursday slot for more than two years, until NBC learned “Cheers” wouldn’t return next year and shuffled its sitcoms in an effort to boost “Seinfeld.”

Though the NBC deal is firm only for the coming season, Paramount has apparently committed to produce “Wings” through 1994-95, having already agreed to license 116 episodes of the Timothy Daly-Steven Weber comedy to the USA network, an equal partnership of Paramount and MCA. That sale put “Wings” among the first off-network sitcoms to go directly to a basic cable service.

“Wings,” exec produced and created by the team of David Angell, David Lee and Peter Casey, premiered behind “Cheers” in April 1990 and is in its third full season.

As for the time-period change, NBC finally had something to smile about last Thursday, as “Seinfeld” retained 98% of its “Cheers” lead-in to score its best results ever in both households and the key age 18-49 demographic.

“Cheers” gulped down an 18.3 rating/28 share in Nielsen and “Seinfeld” stood up with a 17.9/27, seemingly breathing new life into the critical favorite, which had been drubbed out of its Wednesday slot by ABC’s “Home Improvement.”

NBC is hoping to establish “Seinfeld” as a potential Thursday anchor for next season.

The first “Cheers” repeats, slotted for February at 8 p.m., improved NBC’s performance but did little to blunt “The Simpsons,” as the animated smash recorded a 14.9/23. That helped lift lead-out “Martin” (13.3/20) to its best household numbers yet in the 8:30 half-hour; “Wings” countered with a 12.1/18 but actually topped “Martin” among adults 18-49, with a 22 share to the Fox freshman’s 21.

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