Network scores hit Showtime series

TV Guide Network is going green, nabbing rerun rights to the Showtime comedy “Weeds” starting in the fall.

Half-hour series starring Mary-Louise Parker as a widowed suburban mom-turned-pot dealer is set to go into its sixth season on Showtime this summer. It hails from Lionsgate TV, which is a co-owner of the TV Guide cabler. Debmar-Mercury handled the off-net sale with TV Guide.

Under the stewardship of Lionsgate and investor Allen Shapiro, TV Guide has been focused on beefing up its off-net acquisitions. In recent months the cabler has grabbed ABC’s “Ugly Betty” and HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Diane Robina, TV Guide’s exec veep of programming and marketing, said she’s looking forward to the fall when she’ll have three notable off-network shows to build a primetime sked around. At the moment, she’s leaning toward spreading the shows among two nights of the week, probably Sunday and a weeknight.

With “Weeds,” Robina is counting on the show having appeal with a femme demo that might not otherwise tune in to the cabler. She aims to brainstorm with “Weeds” creator/exec producer Jenji Kohan on possible interstitial or add-on elements for the show that generally runs a bit longer than the traditional 22-minute length of half-hours produced by ad-supported TV. TV Guide has a similar such plan for its airings of “Curb” because the show’s running times are frequently more than 30 minutes (Daily Variety, March 23).

“What I love about ‘Weeds’ and ‘Curb’ and ‘Betty’ is that they’re all great quality shows that come to us with a big community of fans,” Robina said.

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