‘Providence’ to Lifetime

Skein to lead-in to cabler's 9 p.m. movie

NEW YORK — Lifetime has purchased the rerun rights to NBC Enterprises’ family drama “Providence” and will begin stripping it immediately every weeknight at 8.

“Providence,” which engineered a solid four-year run (1999-2002) on NBC Fridays at 8, began its rerun life on the Fox Family Channel twice a week in September 2000.

But in Family Channel reruns the series was never able to come close to duplicating its success on NBC, falling victim to the rule that most serialized dramas do not score with audiences when they go into repeats.

Lifetime, however, is desperate for an 8 p.m. show, having tried everything in recent months from reruns of the “Golden Girls” or “The Nanny” reruns to made-for-TV movies. None of these programs have caught fire in the ratings, with the result that Lifetime’s 9 p.m. movies have suffered from low-rated, or incompatible, lead-ins.

Lifetime had to experiment last year when “Unsolved Mysteries,” the network’s 8 o’clock bellwether throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, finally lost too many viewers to hold down the slot.