RIO DE JANEIRO — U.S. series built a network of fans during the 1990s thanks to payboxes including the Warner Channel, Sony Entertainment Television and Fox Channel.
But American series have a hard time in Brazil, where locally scripted shows, especially telenovelas, continue to rule, and where there are just 3.8 million pay TV subscribers as opposed to 40 million homes with TV sets tuned to mainstream terrestrial broadcasters.
The exception is No.-2 broadcaster Sistema Brasileiro de Televisao (SBT), which has an output deal with Warner Bros. and airs new and old U.S. series, especially during the weekend.
The three U.S. series with the highest ratings on SBT are “Smallville,” “Full House” and “The Dead Zone.” “Smallville,” airing at 2:30 p.m. on Sundays, is the most successful. SBT’s teen auds apparently identify with Clark Kent’s transition from boyhood to manhood in Kansas.
“‘Smallville’ performed well in the different slots we tried it. The public is particularly fund of the show’s score. We keep receiving messages from fans in search of CDs,” says an SBT spokesman.
The net has the rights for “Smallville’s” first four seasons until June 2008.
“Full House,” which runs in the Saturday 1:45 p.m. slot, has been on air since March 2000. SBT has the rights for four seasons until next August.
“The Dead Zone” is doing well at 10 a.m. Sundays.