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TNN trades western duds for space gear

Rebranded network acquires 'Star Trek' films, series to catch eyes of adults 18-49 12/03/2000 07:00:00 PM Eastern

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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