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New ‘Sliders’ travels well for Sci-Fi net

Primetime reruns slip into 'Star Trek' slot

NEW YORK — The Sci-Fi Channel’s decision to keep the action-adventure hour “Sliders” in production after the Fox Network canceled it in 1997 has paid off: While continuing in firstrun, the show will go into primetime reruns on the network Monday- Thursday at 8, starting next week.

“Sliders” thus becomes the first original series bankrolled, at least in part, by Sci-Fi that will go into reruns on the web. It bumps the original “Star Trek,” which shifts to 7 p.m.

On Friday, the original episodes of “Sliders” run at 9 p.m. as a key element of an all-firstrun lineup starting with “Poltergeist: The Legacy” at 7, “Farscape” at 8 and “First Wave” at 10.

In their bow last Friday as an original programming block, the four series averaged a solid 1.0 rating in cable households over the four hours, good for 565,000 homes. Even more important, they delivered an average of 352,000 men 18-49, putting Sci-Fi third among all cable nets in that category for the night, behind TBS and MTV. The 1.0 overall rating reps a 66% increase over the average rating for the first quarter of 1999.

Tim Brooks, senior VP of research for USA Networks, said “Sliders” reruns will “help us to refresh Sci-Fi’s primetime lineup,” as well as amortizing the $1 million-an-episode cost. The “Sliders” originals average between a 1.0 and 1.5 rating in cable homes.

The time-travel “Sliders” stars Kari Wuhrerand Cleavant Derricks. Jerry O’Connell appeared in the earlier episodes of “Sliders,” which ran from March 1995 through May 1997 on Fox. The first new episode commissioned by Sci-Fi kicked off on the net on June 8. Bill Dial exec produces and David Peckinpah is consulting producer for Sci-Fi sister company Studios USA TV and St. Claire Entertainment.

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