TNN trades western duds for space gear
Rebranded network acquires 'Star Trek' films, series to catch eyes of adults 18-49
By Susanne Ault -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/3/2000 7:00:00 PM
Thinking up all new content for a network has to take a lot of work, but rebranded The National Network thinks it's on the right track with its $364 million pickup of a slew of Star Trek films and series.
TNN says it had to grab some big-name programming to attract its new core audience base: adults 18-49, who are used to seeing TNN (formerly The Nashville Network) as a network geared toward country-western fans. The acquisition, totaling 500 hours of Star Trek-themed programming available for airing in 2001, includes Paramount-distributed syndicated series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.
"We need people to sample our new network," explains General Manager Diane Robina, "and Star Trek definitely has a loyal following."
That's for sure. For seven straight years, Deep Space Nine was the highest-rated first-run syndicated program. Star Trek: Voyager has been UPN's top show since the network's debut.
Although TNN is aiming to eventually offer half original and half acquired programming, "you can make the greatest original programming in the world," Robina notes, "but, if no one is watching your network in the first place, then it doesn't matter."
TNN already offers the World Wrestling Federation franchise and has nabbed the cable rights to the WWF's and NBC's new football league, the XFL. Robina believes the Star Trek programming-which also includes films Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock -will be a great platform for promoting TNN's original shows. Also acquired were Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Expect TNN to announce more content in the next six to nine months. All shows are being hyped under the slogan "We've Got Pop."
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