Inside move: ‘Angel’ wings to Hallmark

Price too high, Pax prefers original programming

What the heck?

That’s what Pax viewers might be saying this fall when they tune in to the wholesome web for reruns of net staple “Touched by an Angel.” A deal is being finalized for repeats of the long-running skein to flutter from Pax TV to the Hallmark Channel this fall.

The off-network run of the CBS drama is making its move in an unusual sublicensing deal under negotiation. Insiders said Pax approached the Eye about leasing out the program before its rights to the show were up, apparently because the net wants to devote more of its resources to original programming.

But others point out “Angel’s” sky-high pricetag may have turned out to be too much for the Bud Paxson-owned network, which has not yet been able to break through as a fully recognized seventh broadcast web.

“Angel” has been a part of the Pax lineup since the network’s 1998 launch, and it’s been an expensive one.

Network paid around $1 million per episode for “Angel.” At the time, only repeats of “ER” had gone for more.

As for Hallmark, which is undergoing its own on-air evolution, getting “Touched” gives the cabler a well-known, family-friendly program that is particularly on-brand. Skein is also still in production, so Hallmark will have fresh episodes it can bill as cable premieres.

CBS, which produces the show in association with Moonwater Prods., Pax and Hallmark were all mum about the deal Tuesday.

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