Cable nets pull programming punches


Feeling the effects of the worst advertising marketplace in a decade, cable networks are putting large parts of their programming budgets on hold, Reuters reports.

Some major general-entertainment networks, including TNT, Lifetime and USA, have not greenlit to any new weekly series for the next six months. That's due to cost of originial productions, currently in the range of $1 million or more per episode. Comedy Central recently canceled That's My Bush, the latest comedy series from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, mainly because its $1-million-an-episode cost couldn't justify the decent but unspectacular rating.

The financial pullback goes beyond original series, Reuters further reports, affecting expensive broadcast network dramas such as Third Watch, Felicity and Dawson's Creek have not yet landed rerun deals on cable despite many weeks of sales-pitch meetings and discussions.