Col TV plotting ‘Knight’ moves

Columbia Pictures TV Distribution will continue its expansion into firstrun with 26 new episodes of “Forever Knight,” the one-hour Gothic action series that’s been airing as part of CBS’ latenight “Crime Time After Prime Time” action checkerboard.

The show, to be produced by Paragon Entertainment in association with German network Telemunchen and CPTD sister Sony Pictures division, TriStar TV, has already been cleared on roughly 60 stations, accounting for 40% of the U.S.

Several of those clearances include CBS outlets, the most significant being O&O WBBM-TV in Chicago, plus major-market affiliates in Detroit and Atlanta. It’s also possible Columbia will court Fox Broadcasting stations, offering the show as a companion to the weekly network offering “Tales from the Crypt,” which premiered Saturday.

“Forever Knight,” which stars Geraint Wyn Davies as a centuries-old vampire who works the police night shift, is being pitched principally for latenight or primetime-adjacent time periods, said CPTD prexy Barry Thurston, who believes the show offers a distinct alternative from other one-hour series in syndication.

“There are a lot of (action) shows out there,” he said. “There aren’t any like this one.”

Columbia will launch the series on an all-barter basis next fall, after the show ends its run on CBS, where it currently airs weekly after “Late Show With David Letterman.” The network has said it hopes to launch a new series behind Letterman by September.

“Forever Knight” aired at 11:30 p.m. prior to “Late Show’s” launch and has been on the network since May 1992. According to Thurston, that provides an advantage compared to other new series. “It’s a lot harder when you start from scratch with no name recognition whatsoever,” he said.

In addition to “Knight,” other onetime network shows have been taken into syndication, the most notable success being “Baywatch.” There are plans to launch a firstrun series based on the short-lived ABC drama “Sirens.”

The 22 episodes of “Forever Knight” produced for CBS are not part of the current deals.

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