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‘X,’ ‘Melrose’ fans respond to pay TV false alarm in Oz

Hundreds of “thirtysomething,” “The X Files,” and “Melrose Place” junkies flooded Network Ten with angry calls Sept. 14.

Was it outrage at the tantalizing cliffhanger season finale of “The X Files,” which implied the death of one of the lead characters, or disgust at Amanda succumbing to the sleazy charms of Michael in “Melrose Place” in episodes that week?

Not so, according to Ten publicity manager Kimberly Scott, who blamed a cover story in the Australian newspaper that mistakenly implied a boardroom coup where all Fox programs would migrate to Rupert Murdoch’s and Telstra’s Foxtel cable pay TV and vanish from free-to-air.

However, Ten and Foxtel reported a just-inked deal that will deliver Fox programming exclusively to the cabler for pay TV only, after airing on terrestrials.

“In addition to their commercial television broadcast, Foxtel subscribers now have the opportunity to see their favorite shows commercial free and in a fresh new format,” Foxtel chief executive Mark Booth said, signaling a subscription rate comparable to rival cabler’s Optus Vision at “approximately $40 a month.”

Had the deal pulled Fox fare off the terrestrials, Ten’s program library would have looked pretty bare, as the package includes “The Simpsons” and “Melrose Place.”

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