ABC has turned to cable for help once again. Monday it tapped into the pay
tier in a deal for HBO-produced shows. Tuesday it hooked up with the basic tier,
making a deal with USA Network for a four-week repurposing of USA's Monk.
The hit drama will air on the network for four weeks starting Aug. 13, Tuesday
nights at nine (Mole II having run its course by then), following its
Friday night airing on USA.
ABC had planned to slate repeats of NYPD Blue in the time period for
those four weeks.
If the experiment proves successful, a repurposed Monk might prove an
inexpensive midseason show or fill-in strategy for the troubled network -- the
Tuesday 9 p.m. slot is already spoken for by new sitcoms Life With Bonnie
and Less Than Perfect.
Monk is a co-production of USA and Disney's Touchstone Pictures, which is
co-owned with ABC.
USA Network President Doug Herzog was fairly gloating over the deal:
"Monk's success proves that basic cable has closed the gap with broadcast
networks in delivering high-quality original programming."
ABC was happy too, because it gets a low-cost scripted drama.