Network's subscribers grow to nearly 40 million

Movie news net ReelzChannel has acquired reruns of Jon Lovitz starrer “The Critic,” an animated show by longtime “The Simpsons” writers Al Jean and Mike Reiss.

Reelz saw its carriage grow by a little more than 1.3 million subscribers on Wednesday when it launched on Time Warner cable in New York.

“The Critic” is the first scripted acquisition for the fledgling net, but it’s the second purchase in less than a month: Reelz has also picked up post-syndication cable rights to “At the Movies With Ebert and Roeper.”

Reelz exec VP-general manager Terry O’Reilly notes that original programming makes about 70% of the net’s sked, but that Reelz made an exception for “The Critic” because the show was “a slam dunk for our brand.”

O’Reilly didn’t rule out further acquisitions or scripted shows but said the net’s primary business in the midst of all the change is to stay on message as it grows.

“I think the business world in general is littered with the carcasses of people who forgot what their strengths were,” O’Reilly said.

The two-season “Critic” features Lovitz as film reviewer Jay Sherman, who holds forth on fictional films like “A Few More Good Men” and skewers real-life celebrities.

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