‘Shipmates’ to dock at Spike TV in 2004

Cabler's edition may get new host, additional footage

Sony’s “Shipmates” will set sail once again on Spike TV.

Male-centered cabler is aboard for 50 firstrun episodes of the reality relationship skein from Sony Pictures Television, giving “Shipmates” a rare post-syndication afterlife. Strip ends its two-season syndie run this week.

The new episodes are set to bow on Spike in early 2004.

“Shipmates” sets up five blind dates on a commercial cruise and records their goings-on over the course of three days.

Sony Pictures TV programming/production prexy Russ Krasnoff said tentative plans for the Spike edition include a possible new host and more footage of the couples exploring their exotic locales.

“(Spike prexy) Albie Hecht came out here, and we talked about the changes they were making for the network, and in their research of male TV viewers, one of the things that they learned was that men are very much interested in travel and travel planning, which is a big part of ‘Shipmates,’ ” Krasnoff said. “It just seemed like the perfect match.”

Production on new segs of “Shipmates” will likely begin in the next month.

While “Shipmates” was not a ratings hit in syndication, skein’s 0.6 average among men 18-34 and men 18-49 represents twice the audience that tuned into Spike during a similar time frame last season.

Krasnoff believes “Shipmates” suffered in the stormy seas of syndication. However, skein did well in Gotham when paired with “Blind Date” — a strip now seen regularly on Spike.

“This is a show we believe will have better success with the kind of scheduling and support a major cable network (provides),” Krasnoff said.

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