‘Practice’ made perfect for Nova in final race

Territory report: Czech Republic

PRAGUE — Stateside series are hot again but local soaps are making waves during primetime, too, in the Czech ratings battle between the longtime terrestrial foes TV Nova and Prima TV.

“Foreign series seem to be making a comeback,” says Nova program director David Stogel, recalling that the national ratings leader once aired only “MASH” as an American offering. That changed around 2000, when Western series were all the rage, but interest has shifted since then to local narratives, such as the Nova hits “The Street” and “Practice in the Rose Garden.”

Such shows, plus the second season of “Luck Insurance,” “have an unlimited life,” Stogel says, and once an aud is captured, you can expect stable ratings in future.

Of the hot U.S. fare these days, Stogel points to the success of America’s most-watched scripted series “CSI,” Hugh Laurie starrer “House,” critical hit “Gilmore Girls” and this fall’s highly promoted new offering, the Disney castaway island series “Lost,” which is about to enter its third season in the States.

Prima has countered with “Desperate Housewives,” which beat Nova with a 38 aud share Sept. 4, and new sudser “Airport,” which Prima topper Martin Dvorak has high hopes for.

Fine-tuning the localizing of reality show franchises is also key these days: Prima has invested in the first Czech “Survivor” skein but Stogel argues that because it’s taped, it lacks the spontaneity of Nova’s own real-time talent search hit now in its third season, “Superstar.”

“Superstar” is certainly doing better business than the Czech “Big Brother” did last fall and Prima learned equally painful lessons with the dramatic drop in interest this year in its competing reality house show “The Chosen,” and with one in which local celebs helped ordinary folk serve drinks at the “Bar.”

As for what either station may be acquiring soon, Dvorak has said Prima wants proven hits from abroad such as “Housewives” while Stogel says licenses for franchises like “Wife Swap,” a boffo hit in spring for Nova, are of interest.

TOP 3 SHOWS

  1. “Superstar,” TV Nova

  2. “Practice in the Rose Garden,” TV Nova

  3. “Kobra 11,” TV Nova
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