Lifetime has bought basic-cable rights to reruns of “Desperate Housewives” but is allowing distributor Buena Vista TV to peddle the series to stations for simultaneous weekend play in off-network syndication.
Lifetime couldn’t hold out for total exclusivity — i.e., no TV syndication during the term of the Buena Vista contract — as “Housewives” carried less than half the $1.35 million-per-episode license fee Lifetime agreed to pony up last year for Paramount Domestic’s “Medium.” By paying such a steep price at the time, Lifetime in effect bought out the syndication window of “Medium.”
With “Housewives,” Buena Vista will be able to line up TV stations throughout the country beginning in the 2008-09 season, when Lifetime will be able to run the first four years of the series a minimum of five times a week.
In a second concession by Lifetime, net will not have any video-on-demand rights to “Housewives.”
Lifetime will not, as previously reported, begin right away to repurpose new episodes of “Housewives” within about 10 days of their Sunday-night premiere on ABC.
Instead, Lifetime will get reruns only of the first two seasons of “Housewives” (2004-05 and 2005-06) once a week beginning in August, when the weekly Lifetime repeats begin, and running through September 2007.
From September 2007 to March 2008, Lifetime gets weekly runs of the third season of “Housewives” (2006-07). On a six-month delay, Lifetime gets season four of “Housewives” between March and September 2008.
The new-episode repurposing won’t start until September 2008, when Lifetime also begins stripping the hours from the first four years.