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TV Guide picks up rights to ‘Betty’

Drama will have a two-pronged run on the net

TV Guide Network has picked up off-net rights to “Ugly Betty” in its first major program acquisition since Lionsgate bought a majority stake in the channel.

The ABC comedy-drama will have a two-pronged run on the net. Beginning in the fall, an episode of “Ugly Betty” will air on TV Guide two weeks after its original Friday broadcast on the Alphabet. The fourth season launches Oct. 9.

Beginning in fall 2010, TV Guide begins airing reruns of the America Ferrera starrer, going back to season one, as a nightly strip in primetime.

TV Guide Network topper Ryan O’Hara said “Betty” is a good fit as the cabler rejiggers its programming slate following Lionsgate’s new ownership.

“We’ve had our sights on it, and we think our fans will like the show,” O’Hara told Daily Variety. “Of all the shows we tested, our data showed that this would work for us.”

O’Hara said the “Betty” pickup marks the start of a three-pronged programming approach: acquisitions, original series and inhouse shows such as “Idol Tonight,” “Hollywood 411” and “Reality Chat.”

The net also provides plenty of kudos coverage, including red carpet arrivals for many of the big award shows.

Lionsgate bought TV Guide Network in January for $255 million and then sold a 49% stake of the net and website to Allen Shapiro and Equity Partners a few months later.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, formerly of “The Sopranos” and currently co-starring in “Entourage,” will join the “Ugly Betty” cast for the upcoming season.

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