Par may want to clip USA’s ‘Wings’ pact

Now that NBC’s “Wings” has become a solid ratings performer from its days of being a “Cheers” lead-out, Paramount is said to be second-guessing its decision to sell reruns to USA Network.

Paramount has to decide whether the show’s success makes it worth looking for an out in its deal with the cable web or waiting for the multiyear deal to expire.

USA — which is co-owned by Paramount and MCA — bought the rerun rights for 116 episodes last year for $ 600,000 per episode.

A Paramount spokesperson declined comment on the rumors that the studio would like another crack at selling “Wings.” USA Network has heard such talk but not directly from the studio. A source at USA said only, “We have a contract.”

When Paramount took “Wings” into syndication, it intentionally went direct to cable thinking it could do better that way.

Ironically, while the show is picking up steam on NBC, it has been something of a ratings disappointment for USA along with MCA’s “Major Dad” averaging ratings of 1.0 and 1.3, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 1993.

The low ratings for the shows were partly responsible for Paramount taking a writedown of $ 18 million in after-tax losses.

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