Czech: ‘MASH’ battlefield tested by auds

Mipcom 2005: Hot show

PRAGUE — Though Czech auds are demanding more homegrown content, one surprisingly consistent import hit is Fox’s “MASH.”

Scoring audience shares that have only slightly declined from the 51% it hovered around during its first run in 2003, the series that began 32 years ago in the U.S has proved so big for terrestrial TV Nova that the station runs it opposite the nightly news on competing stations.

” ‘MASH’ is a kind of fairy tale for adults with the type of humor that Czechs understand and easily can identify with,” says Nova director of acquisitions Petr Chajda. “And the stories, as you know, are evergreen.”

Some 1.2 million Czech viewers, about 10% of the population, tune in and Nova has scheduled “MASH” just before aggressively marketed new drama “The Street.”

Nova topper Petr Dvorak admits that he’s at something of a loss as to the show’s success — it handily beats “Without a Trace” and “24.” “The people know all the characters. If we used any other similar show (in that slot), it wouldn’t work as well,” he says.

“MASH” also shares some qualities with hit local series “Hospoda” and “The Pub,” he says, in terms of being down to earth. “They are just trying to solve different problems with humor.”

Nova plans to re-enlist with “MASH,” but the deal for 2006 is being negotiated with Fox.

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