Cable network picks up rerun rights to CBS show

Lifetime has picked up rerun rights to CBS’ Julia Louis-Dreyfus starrer “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”

The deal with Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution calls for Lifetime to pay about $350,000 per episode for the show, and the cabler will also hand over 1½ minutes of barter advertising time. The show, featuring Louis-Dreyfus as a harried single mother, will bow on Lifetime in fall 2010.

JoAnn Alfano, exec veep of entertainment at Lifetime, called the show “funny, modern, smart and relatable — a perfect fit for our brand.”

Warner Bros. has cleared “Old Christine” reruns on TV stations covering more than 85% of U.S. TV households, including Tribune’s WPIX New York and KTLA Los Angeles, also for fall 2010. In Chicago, “Old Christine” will air in primetime on indie WCIU. On the local station front, Warner Bros. is getting cash license fees plus two minutes of barter ad time.

“Old Christine” has been on the off-network block at the same time that NBC Universal TV Distribution has been shopping rerun rights to “30 Rock.” NBC U landed a significantly higher cash license fee of around $800,000 from Comedy Central and WGN America for “30 Rock” in a deal without any barter time (Daily Variety, July 8).

On the station side, NBC U confirmed Wednesday that it has cleared “30 Rock” on Fox O&Os in New York and L.A. and on Tribune’s local WGN Chicago, starting in fall 2011. Those deals were done on an all-barter basis, with NBC U taking three minutes of ad time in each half-hour.

The all-barter structure for “30 Rock’s” broadcast deals reflects the ad slump in the local TV biz and the fact that “30 Rock” is likely to draw a niche aud. But “30 Rock” nonetheless drew spirited bidding from Fox and Tribune stations, which committed to double runs of the show in prime evening and latenight time slots.

“Old Christine” doesn’t have the same creative cachet as “30 Rock,” but it does have the familiar face of star Louis-Dreyfus, a mainstay in syndie comedy thanks to the enduring appeal of “Seinfeld.” The thesp earned an Emmy in 2006 for the Warner Bros. TV sitcom, which is heading into its fifth season on CBS.

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