Showtime dusts off ‘Wasteland’

Skein got Alphabet guillotine after 3 weeks

NEW YORK — “Wasteland,” a Kevin Williamson-produced series from Miramax TV that suffered a swift death on ABC early last season, will rise from the grave in June on Showtime Next.

“I’m hoping that the purchase of ‘Wasteland’ for our multiplex channel will begin a trend toward rescuing TV series that would otherwise keep sitting on a shelf in some stock room,” says Gary Garfinkel, VP of acquisitions for Showtime Networks.

Garfinkel said Showtime Next sought rights to “Wasteland” because Williamson, the series’ creator and exec producer, wrote the first two “Scream” movies and the hit WB series “Dawson’s Creek.”

ABC was high on “Wasteland” when it commissioned Miramax TV to produce 13 episodes for the 1999-2000 season. But the series got off to a flying stop in the Nielsen ratings, causing ABC to activate the guillotine after only three weeks.

Waste not

So the 10 episodes that have never seen the light of a TV tube will appear on Showtime Next as North American premieres. Garfinkel said the network reserves the option of giving “Wasteland” a run on the main Showtime network after the series ends its term on Showtime Next.

But the net isn’t interested in the production end of the show; even if the 13 “Wasteland’s” ignite lots of buzz. Showtime has no plans to commission more episodes, Garfinkel said.

Since Showtime Next is gearing its schedule to appeal to adults 18 to 24, Garfinkel said “Wasteland” is the right vehicle because it deals with three men and three women recently out of college who struggle with careers, relationships and their connections with each other.

Showtime is contacting producers and agents and scouring back issues of TV Guide to find other potentially worthy busted series that have slipped below the radar because they have no resale value in TV syndication or basic cable. Failed series generate too few episodes for the five-a-week rerun scheduling that’s most typical in syndication and basic cable.

The co-exec producers of “Wasteland” with Williamson are Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein. Williamson’s company is Outerbridge Entertainment.