The program-repurposing trend is catching on in first-run syndication. The Hallmark Channel has just picked up the rights to the Paramount-distributed Life Moments,
which bows in first-run this fall. Under the terms of the deal, Hallmark will air daily episodes of the program one week after they air in syndication.
Also being repurposed this fall is the new Caroline Rhea, the Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution talk show that's co-owned by ABC and will air on ABC's owned stations. As part of the arrangement, Rhea
will also air on ABC Family in late night.
As of last week, the time period hadn't been finalized, an ABC Family official said, but it's understood that the cable network will have the right to air Rhea
episodes one week after they air on stations in the initial first-run exposure.
Other first-run programs have clauses in their station license agreements allowing for repurposing. Among them: the new John Walsh talk show from NBC Enterprises. There's no announced deal yet, but stations picking up the show understand that it could happen.
Repurposing, though steadily increasing, is a controversial trend for network TV. Just last week, CBS gave up its repurposing of Amazing Race
on UPN after complaints from affiliates, although some suggest that its ratings performance on UPN made CBS's concession a lot easier. In syndication, the trend started last season with Crossing Over With John Edward,
which started on the Sci Fi Channel and crossed over to syndication.
Bill Carroll, vice president of programming for Katz Media Group, says it's here to stay. "Many, if not most, of the first-run shows now have clauses in the license agreements allowing for it. It's just a natural progression in the way business is being done these days."