‘Crash’ lands on TV

Showtime to puff 'Huff'

Showtime is hoping “Crash” gives a boost to “Huff.”

Oscar best picture winner will make its world television debut on the pay network April 2 at 8 p.m., leading directly into the second season premiere of “Huff.” Both preems happen during a free sneak preview weekend.

It won’t be the only place one can catch the film. Lionsgate is re-releasing the race relations drama theatrically beginning Friday (Daily Variety, March 7). DVDs of the pic have been available since September.

Still, Showtime execs believe “Crash” will bring audiences to the channel who have not yet sampled “Huff,” which stars Hank Azaria as a middle-aged psychiatrist whose personal life is turned upside down after a patient commits suicide in front of him.

Cable network FX boarded the “Crash” train last summer, ordering up a pilot script for a series version to be exec produced by film’s writer-director Paul Haggis. That project is still in contention for a pickup.

Showtime remains determined to build the aud for the critically hailed but ratings-challenged drama, the first to be ordered under the watch of entertainment prexy Robert Greenblatt. Despite an aggressive, multimillion-dollar launch campaign, “Huff” didn’t draw a strong following Sunday nights, peaking at 462,000 viewers for the season one finale.

But “Huff” has brought the network much attention with its awards recognition. Drama scored Showtime its first-ever Emmy win for a series — Blythe Danner last year took home the supporting actress prize — thanks in part to an aggressive Emmy campaign in which DVDs of the entire season were mailed to voters months before ballots were due. “Huff” also landed noms at the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild kudofests.