NEW YORK — CBS will again expand its “48 Hours” newsmag franchise to two nights per week this summer.
Eye has ordered 14 episodes of “48 Hours: Monday Mysteries” to run Mondays at 10 p.m. from June 7 through Sept. 13, replacing the canceled “L.A. Doctors.”
Newsmag’s usual seg will continue to run Thursdays at 10.
Dan Rather will anchor both “48” shows and the “CBS Evening News.” He also will continue to be seen as the lead anchor of “60 Minutes II,” which is expected to mix about one original story per week into each summer seg.
As was the case last summer, the core of “Monday Mysteries” will be single-topic stories already aired on “48 Hours,” updated with new information about how the case turned out. Production costs are expected to be less than half the amount typically spent on a firstrun “48” seg.
Last summer, the Monday version of “48” averaged 10.1 million viewers, boosting the Eye’s ratings in the slot by 17% over summer 1997 Nielsen ratings. CBS researchers estimate that the Monday segs were seen by 21.4 million viewers who hadn’t sampled the newsmag during the regular season.
“48 Hours” and “Monday Mysteries” exec producer Susan Zirinsky said in addition to the financial benefits of repurposing “48” segs, the “Monday Mysteries” serve a journalistic function by allowing reporters a chance to finish telling stories often left unresolved in the original broadcast.
ABC News also plans to recycle some of its news product over the summer. The web will recut several “Nightline” segs into new primetime packages to air throughout the summer, reprising a strategy first used last summer.
The primetime “Nightline” showcase will also include original segs.