Diller’s Trio plays way to deal on ‘West 54th’

Canuck cabler looks to jump into original prod'n

NEW YORK — Trio, the Canadian cable network bought by Barry Diller’s USA Cable last year, has engineered its first programming deal under the new regime, purchasing all 78 hourlong episodes of “Sessions at West 54th.”

“We’re entering a new phase in which we’re actively looking to acquire product and do original production,” said Patrick Vien, president of emerging networks for USA Cable.

Vien says “West 54th” is a good fit for the popular-arts label that Trio has placed on its programming strategy. Performers who have appeared on the show include Fiona Apple, Beck, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, the Dixie Chicks, Jewel and Randy Newman.

Sony has produced “West 54th” for PBS with Jeb Brien, executive producer for Automatic Prods.

Over the next few months, Vien said Trio will announce many more purchases of series, concert specials and theatrical movies.

Cable and satellite subscribers in about 10 million households get Trio.

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