Repeats are a new programming strategy

BUENOS AIRES — The hottest programs on Argentine broadcast television in the recently wrapped summer season were reruns.

While a staple in most territories, repeats are a new programming strategy in Argentina, where viewers have demanded fresh fare.

“If reruns work around the world, then why not here? We tried and it worked,” says Claudio Villarruel, artistic and programming director of Telefe, the country’s No. 1 net. “We are going to continue.”

A main reason is that reruns help squeeze more money out of programs, some of which are not profitable in the first run because of high production costs, Villarruel says.

“Los Simuladores” (The Pretenders), a private-eye drama that’s been repeated six times in primetime over the past three years, was “a very expensive program to produce,” so “reruns help amortize costs,” he says.

Of course, the content of the series helps.

“There are many ideas in each episode — political, ideological and psychological,” says Damian Szifron, author and director of “Pretenders.” “The problems are real and everyday, and people identify with them. You can also identify with the villains.”

Other hot reruns in recent months have been a local adaptation of “Married … With Children” and the telenovela “Pasion de gavilanes.”

The upside of regularly scheduling reruns is that producers — independents and the networks — will put more money into production, improving quality, says Szifron, who expects his latest series, detective drama “Hermanos y detectives” (Brothers and Detectives), to follow in the vein of “Pretenders.”

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more