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Inside Move: ‘Hillybilly’ heaven for retro TV

Nets mining conglom parents' libraries

HOLLYWOOD — TV viewers who remember the past are destined to repeat it — again and again and again.

That’s because hit-starved webheads, hungry for success any way they can get it, have apparently decided the smallscreen’s future is in the past.

Case in point: CBS last week resurrected “The Beverly Hillbillies” as a half-hour skein that will track a clan of transplanted country folk as they spend a year in a real Beverly Hills mansion, “Osbournes”-style.

The show melds the red-hot reality genre with the growing retro renaissance.

Eye execs, encouraged by the phenom that is Fox’s “American Idol,” also greenlit a new take on 1980s talent competish “Star Search.”

And NBC, which did okay numbers this summer with the mock-com “The Rerun Show,” has been working on a possible revival of “Let’s Make a Deal.”

The budding trend even extends to scripted series.

“Family Affair” returns to television via the WB netlet later this month, while revivals of “Dragnet,” “The Bionic Woman” and “Battlestar Galactica” are all in the works at various webs.

Programmers say the emphasis on the old isn’t anything new.

“There’s always been an attraction to an instantly recognizable brand,” says CBS reality chief Ghen Maynard.

But several factors are helping fuel the latest revival of interest in revivals.

Nets are getting better at mining the vast libraries of their conglom parents. It was easy for CBS to redo “Hillbillies,” for example, since the net already owned the show.

What’s more, the emergence of reality shows as a legit genre of TV gives execs a fresh way to approach old faves.

“You’re not really doing the show when you remake ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ as a reality show,” says one industry vet. “You’re doing the concept behind the show that made it work in the first place.”

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