Fox O&Os sink teeth into ‘Buffy’

Weekend off-net runs picked up for 2001 start

The Fox O&Os have picked up weekend off-net runs of the WB Network fave “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” beginning in fall 2001.

The 20th Century Fox TV-produced actioner is expected to be a workhorse for the Fox TV family in its syndie lifespan, even if the WB weblet lays claim to its original primetime run. Earlier this year, the FX cabler picked up Monday-Friday off-net rights to the series, also beginning in 2001.

Fox’s Twentieth TV is offering “Buffy” for weekend plays to broadcasters on an even barter basis, whereby each station turns over half of the 14 minutes of commercial time in each seg to the studio. The studio, in turn, packages the spots for sale to national advertisers.

Hot ticket

Now that the Fox O&O deal is inked, Twentieth will fan out to the broader station market, where “Buffy” is expected to be a hot ticket among WB, Fox and UPN affils. The 22 Fox-owned stations cover nearly 40% of U.S. TV households, including nine of the top 10 markets.

“Buffy’s” dual cable/broadcast off-net window follows the model Twentieth TV established this year for the 20th-produced dramas “NYPD Blue” and “The X-Files.” Both dramas have been racking up solid Nielsen numbers with Monday-Friday runs in primetime on FX and weekend plays on broadcast TV outlets.

“Buffy,” starring up-and-comer Sarah Michelle Gellar, is entering its third season on WB this fall.

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