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Lion roars in primetime for Pax TV

MGM title called 'a testament to the strength of the brand'

NEW YORK — The Pax TV network has scheduled “MGM Night at the Movies” as a weekly primetime series Fridays at 8, featuring “Dances With Wolves,” “Rocky V,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and other titles from the MGM theatrical library.

Jim Griffiths, president of the MGM Worldwide TV Group, said it’s the first time a major studio has stamped its name on a network-primetime series devoted exclusively to theatrical pics. The movie night kicks off Sept. 5. “Putting MGM in the title of the series is a testament to the strength of the brand and its movie library,” Griffiths said.

Although MGM sold its pre-1948 library to Ted Turner in the mid-’80s, the studio has subsequently bought other movie collections to swell its inventory to about 4,000 titles.

Griffiths said his sales staff makes much more money with the library since MGM shortened its windows for exclusivity from as many as four years to as little as three days.

Just about all of the titles in the Pax TV purchase are what Griffiths call carve-outs: Pax TV’s exclusivity may cover less than a week, carved out of a window being used by another buyer.

The sales force of MGM, led by Jim Packer, exec VP of TV distribution for MGM North America, keeps the movies flowing constantly among pay TV networks, basic-cable nets and broadcast TV.

Pax TV also announced it will bring back “It’s a Miracle,” with a new host, Roma Downey, and a new production company, Weller-Grossman. Original hourlong episodes of “Miracle” will run Sundays at 10 p.m., and half-hour reruns will fill the 11 p.m. slot Monday through Friday.