Inside Move

Cable takes USA shows

Studios USA’s agreement to distribute “The Invisible Man” to Sci-Fi Channel won’t be the last syndication/cable distribution deal for the company. In fact, the agreement may signal a shift in distribution strategy for the Universal division.

Two shows that had been rumored to topline the Studios USA slate for January’s NATPE confab, “Lover or Loser” and “The Jack Cass Show,” have been picked up — not by station groups but by cablers USA Network and FX, respectively. While “Cass” will likely be pulled from syndication, “Lover” will join “Invisible” as shows to run concurrently on both cable and syndication.

FX reps acknowledged that they had struck a pilot deal for “The Jack Cass Show,” which was originally to feature Mark DeCarlo of FX’s “The X Show” as the voice of a donkey gameshow host. Sources at the cabler now say that the idea will be reworked before a decision is made whether to take it to series. The gamer now appears all but certainly gone from NATPE. “Its a perfect fit for FX — over the top and young-skewing,” said a station rep monitoring the situation.

Relationship show “Lover or Loser” has already been pegged, in one memo, to run Monday-Friday on USA Network sometime between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. A USA Network spokesman, however, said that the channel “has not finalized market plans for ‘Lover or Loser.'” Meanwhile, stations buying the series would have a window between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or after 10 p.m. to air the program.

A Studios USA spokesman acknowledged that both shows were shopped to the channels and some agreements are in place. As for a shift in strategy at the company, he said, “Our goal has always been to bring maximum exposure to our programs.”

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