DEAL allows show to rerun immediately from TV network to cable

Thursday, November 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ In a deal likely to be copied in the television industry, ABC Entertainment will be allowed to immediately rebroadcast the new Sally Field drama, ``The Court,'' on one of its cable networks.

The deal struck Wednesday with Warner Bros., which produces the show, will provide royalty payments to writers and actors if ABC decides to rebroadcast episodes on any of its cable networks.

Networks have been looking for ways to generate more revenue from shows, especially dramas, which can cost millions per episode to buy. Some networks have been replaying episodes on cable networks, in most cases, networks they either own or have a financial stake in. That arrangement has angered writers and actors, who feel they should receive a larger share of the advertising revenue generated by such a practice.

The so-called practice of ``repurposing'' was an issue in the recent negotiations between the Writer's Guild of America and studios, with screenwriters seeking an extra fee when shows air twice, first on broadcast and then on cable.

The deal between ABC and Warner Bros. is believed to be the first between unrelated companies and certainly the first that provides formulas to compensate both the producer and the network as well as artists.

``This precedent-setting agreement is a win for all parties involved _ the network, the studio and the creative community,'' said Mark Pedowitz, executive vice president, ABC Entertainment Television Group.

Under the deal, ABC will pay an extra fee to Warner Bros. for the right to rebroadcast ``The Court'' within eight days of its initial telecast on ABC.

If the show is a hit and runs long enough to be sold into syndication, ABC will share in some of the revenue on the assumption that exposing the show to more viewers the first time increased the value of the show in reruns.

If the value of the show is reduced because of overexposure, ABC has agreed to compensate Warner Bros. for the lost value.

The companies did not disclose the value of the agreement or the structure of the formulas used to determine compensation.

``The Court'' stars Field as a U.S. Supreme Court justice and is set to debut sometime next year.