Family bags ‘Providence’ for big price

Cabler gets rights to reruns for $700K per episode

NEW YORK — Fox Family Channel has outbid Pax TV and the Henson-Hallmark Odyssey Network for the cable TV rights to reruns of the NBC Studios hit series “Providence.” The cost: $700,000 per episode — a record price for Fox Family.

This is a “show appropriate to a family audience, which (is) getting harder and harder to find,” said Rich Cronin, president and CEO of Fox Family. An NBC spokeswoman declined to comment on the negotiations.

Fox Family’s “Providence” exclusivity extends only to cable. NBC Enterprises will be able to sell weekend runs of “Providence” in off-net syndication beginning in fall, 2002, simultaneous with Fox Family’s scheduling of the series Monday-Friday.

Deal calls for Fox Family to get “Providence” for two weekly runs in September, when the first 17 episodes will be available. Series, which stars Melina Kanakaredes and Mike Farrell, kicked off on Jan. 8, 1999, and became a surprise hit in its 8 p.m. Friday timeslot.

Strip show

Fox Family will continue playing the reruns twice a week until fall, 2002, when it will start stripping “Providence.”

Cronin said he sounded out NBC Enterprises months ago about selling Fox Family the reruns, “because it’s such a departure. Most network-primetime series are too edgy for a family channel like ours.”

Fox Family’s previous record price was the $500,000 an hour it spent on King World’s “Early Edition.” Fox Family will start stripping “Early Edition” in May.

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