NEW YORK — A rerun of Paramount TV’s 12-hour miniseries “Shogun,” which wowed a mass audience on NBC in 1980 with its exotic adventure tale of feudal Japan in the early 1600s, is coming to the Hallmark Channel’s primetime schedule.
Hallmark plans to engineer an extensive publicity campaign to hype the mini, which will run for six consecutive nights from Sunday, July 13, through Friday, July 18. On Sunday, July 20, the entire 12 hours will be repeated from noon to midnight on the network.
In defiance of the conventional wisdom that says miniseries do poorly in repeats, Hallmark has proved that heavy marketing and careful scheduling can grab lots of viewers for such minis as “The Thorn Birds” and “Roots.”
Hallmark Channel chalked up the second-highest-rated week in its history (March 30-April 5) when it ran the 10-hour “Thorn Birds” (a Nielsen powerhouse on ABC in March 1983) across four nights. The mini delivered 4.6-million total viewers, according to Hallmark’s research.
And Jan. 20-25, 2002, Hallmark Channel’s six-part primetime cablecast of the “Roots” miniseries scored an average rating of 1.7 in cable homes, an all-time record for the network.
Hallmark Channel declined to discuss the license fee it’s paying to Paramount for “Shogun,” but since the mini was sitting on the shelf for a number of years, any cash represents found money for Paramount.
Filmed on location in Japan, “Shogun,” based on the novel by James Clavell, stars Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune. It was the first mini to use subtitles to translate the dialogue of characters who spoke in another language, which only added to its mystery and allure.