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Nick, TV Land plan major sked revamp

Cabler will lose flagship 'Griffith'

NEW YORK — TBS, which made “The Andy Griffith Show” its flagship off-network sitcom for more than a decade after the superstation went up on the satellite in 1976, will lose the series to Nick at Nite’s TV Land beginning in January 2000.

That program shift is one of the highlights of the presentation that Nick at Nite and TV Land will give to advertisers today at New York’s Waldorf Astoria.

Other announcements to be made at the presentation include:

  • Nick at Nite’s purchase of the exclusive cable rights to 222 off-network half-hours of DLT Entertainment’s “Three’s Company” for about $25 million, making it the second most expensive series in the history of the network, behind Paramount’s “Cheers,” which will fetch close to $70 million. Nick at Nite’s seven-year license term for “Three’s Company” begins in the third quarter of 2000.

  • TV Land will add six off-network series to its schedule for the first time, starting with CTTD’s (Columbia TriStar TV Distribution’s) “Maude” in August 1999. Five other series kick off on TV Land in January 2000: “Griffith,” “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” “The Honeymooners,” “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “The A-Team.” Four of these five are from TV Land’s sister company Paramount TV Distribution. Studios USA distributes “A-Team.”

  • For the first time, a series, namely CTTD’s “All in the Family,” will migrate from TV Land to Nick at Nite. Many reruns have gone in the opposite direction, but “Family” was pulling such a strong audience on the 40-million-circulation TV Land that the 75-million Nick at Nite went after it, planning to pair “Family” with the network’s current success “The Jeffersons,” which is one of a number of spinoffs of “Family.” Nick at Nite will start stripping “Family” in January 2000.

On “The Andy Griffith Show,” a spokeswoman for TBS says the network actually passed on the renewal because it’s buying contemporary sitcoms such as “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “The Drew Carey Show” and “Roseanne,” and “Griffith” doesn’t fit the schedule anymore. TBS has relegated “Griffith” to back-to-back runs every weekday morning at 11.

Larry Jones, g.m. of TV Land, says he’s hoping that series like “Beverly Hillbillies,” which is also running twice each morning on TBS, and “Griffith” find new viewers when the network starts playing them in primetime, where they haven’t appeared since the late ’60s and early ’70s, when their producers stopped churning out original episodes for CBS’s primetime schedule.

Although Jones declined to discuss dollar figures, Paul Kagan Associates says TV Land’s programming expenditures will rise from $20.1 million in 1998 to a projected $23.1 million this year and $26.6 million in 2000.