NEW YORK — New NBC drama “Crossing Jordan” will become the first scripted series to find a second home on sister net Pax TV.
The NBC Studios-produced series will air at 10 p.m. Mondays on the Peacock. Beginning in January, Pax will rebroadcast episodes of the Jill Hennessy drama on Tuesday nights at 10.
Pax previously announced it will start running a dual window of the Peacock gamer “Weakest Link,” which will air Fridays at 8 p.m. beginning June 1. NBC will air the hit gamer Sunday and Monday nights at 8.
NBC TV Network prexy Randy Falco insisted that just because Pax is rebroadcasting two NBC shows, “there’s no thinking in the future of making Pax into NBC 2. I don’t think that would work for either network.”
News was announced Wednesday at Pax’s upfront presentation in New York where, in addition to “Crossing Jordan,” the net unveiled three drama series and two variety shows.
Poking fun at the net’s wholesome image, the presentation began with a faux CNBC report, announcing that “The Sopranos” will be joining Pax in an abbreviated three-minute version.
Keith Turner, president, NBC sales and marketing, continued the joke, saying, “Pax may be this year’s best upfront story. … Now if we can just get some sex and violence on the network, we might have something.”
Noting that “the audience has a real appetite for our brand of positive, family-friendly entertainment,” Pax president-CEO Jeff Sagansky pre-sented a chart showing that channel viewers are in “such a good mood that Pax underindexes the other nets in Prozac users.”
Now that CBS has canceled “Diagnosis Murder,” Pax said it is preparing for a “Diagnosis”-free future and is moving away from its reliance on off-net shows.
In the next couple of years, Pax plans to have an all-original primetime sked, Sagansky said, adding that the budget for original programming is up by 15% this year.
New dramas are “The Ponderosa,” a “Bonanza” prequel from “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” creator Beth Sullivan; documentary series “Forbidden Secrets,” starring Lee Majors; and “Left Behind,” based on the series of bestselling novels by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. The latter will kick off in January.
The net also has ordered its first midseason comedy, “Happy Life, Happy Wife,” starring standup Jeff Allen.
Sagansky conceded that it’s hard to make the economic model work for comedies, since they don’t travel as well overseas as one-hour dramas.