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Twentieth renews off-net ‘X-Files’

Deal includes 135 markets

The truth is still out there: Twentieth Television has renewed the Fox off-net drama “The X-Files” in 135 markets repping 80% of the country.

Two-year pact keeps “X” in weekend timeslots through the 2002-03 season. Fox-owned WNYW in Gotham, KTTV in Los Angeles and WFLD in Chicago are among the stations on board for new deals; stations in metered markets such as Pittsburgh, Portland, Minneapolis and Orlando have also signed on.

Syndication vindication

“This solidifies ‘The X-Files’ as one of the true winners in syndication,” said Paul Franklin, exec vice president and general sales manager at Twentieth. “It has established itself as the premier weekend hour.”

The Chris Carter-created thriller has been the top-rated weekly hour in syndication since its off-net bow in 1997.

“The X-Files” was the first off-net weekly to be sold as a weekday cable strip with a weekend syndie window.

Other studios quickly adapted the model, which has now become common for hourlong off-net skeins.

Coin operated

“The X-Files” has also been a cash cow for News Corp.’s syndie arm. When Twentieth first brought the show to the off-net market in 1996, the distributor snagged an estimated $1.5-$2 million per episode in revenue from both its weekend broadcast window and a weekday cable window on FX.

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