‘Party’ ready for weekends

Drama set for syndie run this fall

“Party of Five” is set to party on in syndication this fall. Columbia TriStar TV Distribution has cleared the weekend rights to Fox’s much-praised Gen-X drama to more than two dozen TV stations covering 50% of U.S. TV households.

Weekday rerun rights to “Party of Five,” now in its fourth season on Fox, were snapped up by cabler Lifetime Television in January. The Fox O&O station group picked up the weekend rights around the same time that the Fox network negotiated a three-season renewal of the show for a hefty license fee increase (Daily Variety, Feb. 20). Between the broadcast and cable windows, observers say “Party of Five” could gross upwards of $70 million for Col TriStar over the first five years of its syndie life cycle.

“Party of Five,” which has yielded budding pic stars Neve Campbell (“Scream,” “Wild Things”) and Jennifer Love Hewitt (“I Know What You Did Last Summer”), bowed on Fox in 1994. Although immediately embraced by crix, the serial about the struggles of five orphaned siblings was a slow-starter ratings-wise until gradually blossoming into a solid Wednesday 9 p.m. performer for Fox over the past two seasons.

“The fact that ‘Party’ has successfully anchored Wednesday nights (on Fox) for four consecutive seasons confirms the show’s marketability and longevity,” said CTTD prexy Barry Thurston in announcing the multiyear weekend syndie deals.

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