INXS skein will air on cabler starting August 7

CBS is moving the Monday night edition of Mark Burnett’s “Rock Star: INXS” to Viacom sib VH1.

“Rock Star” has been airing three nights a week on the Eye, with segs on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Boosted by “Big Brother,” the Tuesday 10 p.m. shows have done fine, but the Monday and Wednesday editions have struggled.

So starting this week, what had been the Monday night telecasts — half-hours featuring the reality TV contestants-living-under-one-roof element of the show — will shift over to VH1. Cabler will air those segs on Sundays at 8 p.m., effective Aug. 7.

Eye will continue to air the one-hour Tuesday performance edition of “Rock Star” and the half-hour Wednesday elimination show. Those segs will also get a run on VH1, with the cabler airing them on Saturdays.

In addition, CBS now plans to end the “Rock Star” run two weeks earlier than planned, with the skein’s finale now set for Tuesday, Sept. 20.

No money traded hands in the deal. CBS will get promotional spots hyping the Eye run of “Rock Star,” while VH1 will get free original programming.

Burnett told Daily Variety he understands the Eye’s decision and actually hopes it will end up boosting overall ratings for the show.

“The reason we’ve been moved off of Monday is that clearly we weren’t helping (CBS’s) Monday night lineup. It was the only dip in the six half-hours of the night,” he said. “It didn’t make business sense for CBS, but in discussions with them, we thought that maybe narrowing it to two nights a week would encourage audiences to stay with it.”

Indeed, with the fall season just around the corner, CBS needs to have the strongest possible programming on Monday in order to hype two new laffers moving to the night next month. Eye will replace the Monday “Rock Star” with “2 ½ Men” reruns.

What’s more, those who are watching “Rock Star” will still be able to see the behind-the-scenes edition of the skein, while a new music/reality-friendly aud on VH1 will get exposure to the program.

“I actually think this is a good move; it was maybe a bit too much to ask people to watch three times a week in the summer,” Burnett said.

As for ending the skein early, Burnett said move — while clearly due to lower-than-expected overall ratings — will give the new INXS two more weeks to meet a Thanksgiving deadline for the release of their new album.

While not a ratings juggernaut for CBS, “Rock Star” fits right into the pop culture nostalgia niche in which VH1 traffics. Cabler has become a player in the acquisition of off-net reality and MTV Networks Music Group entertainment president Brian Graden has said the channel will continue to target broadcast skeins that might benefit the cabler’s brand.

VH1 is spending $75,000 an episode for exclusive off-net rights to Viacom sib UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model,” which is produced and distributed by King World (Daily Variety, June 4). Marathons of the competish skein have boosted net’s total day average, which is up 12% for the month of July. Cabler also pre-bought repurposing rights to NBC’s upcoming “Tommy Lee Goes to College,” featuring the Motley Crue rocker, and has been running repeats of “Britney and Kevin: Chaotic.”

This isn’t the first time VH1 has been able to capitalize on a broadcast show.

“The Surreal Life” spent its first two seasons on the WB before relocating to the music channel, where it now anchors the Sunday night Celebreality block. Cabler recently sealed an overall development/production deal with exec producers Cris Abrego and Mark Cronin, ensuring at least three more editions of the skein.

Fox also recently opted to shift summer reality skein “Princes of Malibu” to cable sib Fox Reality Channel.

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