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Col Tristar shops dropped ‘Net’

Nixed series looks to syndication

NEW YORK — USA Network has canceled “The Net,” the TV series based on the hit Sandra Bullock movie, but Columbia TriStar TV, the distributor, will try to keep the show alive on a broadcast network or in firstrun TV syndication.

Rob Cowan, one of the executive producers of the series, said Col TriStar has contacted all of the broadcast networks, asking them to consider ordering new episodes of “The Net” if the development staffs of one of the webs, including WB and UPN, fail to come up with enough one-hour pilots that deserve to go to series.

Unprecedented pickup

It would be unprecedented for a scripted weekly series canceled by a cable network to get picked up by a broadcast network. So, Cowan said, Col TriStar’s backup plan is firstrun syndication if none of the broadcast networks shows an interest in “The Net.” Col TriStar distributes another action hour with a female lead in firstrun syndication, “V.I.P.,” with Pamela Anderson Lee.

Brooke Langton, star of “The Net,” is under contract to continue if the show stays in production. There are 22 one-hour episodes in the can, which Cowan said Col TriStar has sold well in foreign markets.

Thrifty production

Col TriStar has kept the production cost of the show at a thrifty $1 million an episode, Cowan said, at least in part because “The Net” operates out of Vancouver, not Los Angeles.

USA canceled “The Net” mainly because Rod Perth, former president of programming for USA, is the executive who commissioned it. When Stephen Chao replaced Perth in the job, Chao, said Cowan, “wanted to put his own imprint on the network, and take it in a different direction.”