Cancelled show tries for second chance

NEW YORK — MGM TV is battling the Grim Reaper to bring its supernatural comedy “Dead Like Me” back to life despite the show’s cancellation by Showtime two months ago.

Since December, MGM’s salespeople have pitched the Sci Fi Channel, TNT and A&E, among other basic-cable networks, to keep “Dead Like Me” in production for at least another season to add value to the 29 episodes the studio produced during its two seasons on Showtime.

An MGM spokeswoman declined to comment, but 29 hourlong episodes for Showtime (including the 75-minute pilot) are too small a number to make the reruns of any series salable in basic cable or TV syndication.

But if a network such as Sci Fi were willing to pony up a license fee to bring “Dead” back from the beyond, MGM would do a package deal with that network that would include the reruns.

Time is running out, however, because the options on the services of the stars Mandy Patinkin and Ellen Muth are close to an expiration date. The executive producer of “Dead Like Me,” John Masius, is gung ho about going forward with more episodes, as are Bryan Fuller, the creator of the show, and Clancy Collins, the creative exec assigned by MGM.

Partisans of “Dead Like Me” say its days became numbered when Robert Greenblatt replaced the man who greenlit the show, Jerry Offsay, as president of entertainment for Showtime. But the network said the show’s ratings were not robust enough to warrant a third season.

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