Bummer Nielsen summer has webs seeing double

NEW YORK — With summer heat leading to Nielsen meltdown, webs are double-running a handful of shows to bump up their profiles.

ABC plans a four-week live primetime stint for its latenight “Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,” airing an original installment at 10 p.m. Thursdays from July 10 to July 31 followed by a repeat, with a second repeat airing in “PI’s” normal timeslot, at 12:05 a.m. in most markets.

And CBS’ “48 Hours” newsmag will get four special airings at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on July 30, Aug. 13 and Aug. 27, and Sept. 3, following new installments of canceled newsmag “Coast to Coast” at 9 p.m.

For the Wednesday airings, “48 Hours” will offer repeat segments updated with new developments.

Both moves are designed to improve sampling of the shows. CBS will continue to air “48 Hours” this fall at 10 p.m. Thursdays, where it will face a more formidable newsmag competitor in ABC’s “20/20,” as well as NBC’s “ER.”

And “PI,” while posting encouraging results in latenight, has yet to tap its full potential, web execs said. “This is a way to introduce both his unique brand of humor and the series’ topical edge to a much broader audience,” said ABC Entertainment prexy Jamie Tarses in a statement.

ABC had planned to air “PI” in primetime following President Clinton’s State of the Union address in January, but the O.J. Simpson civil trial verdict interfered with its plans.

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