Peek at Spies shortened


She Spies, the first-run weekly action hour that debuts in syndication Sept. 16, has completed its network "preview" on NBC one episode shy of the original four episodes that were planned.

Earlier this year, NBC and MGM Television struck a unique deal to give the show a creative promotional sendoff: The first four episodes were to air in prime time on NBC before launching into syndication.

It turned out, however, that the network "sneak peek" would be just three episodes. NBC aired a second run of Meet My Folks
on Aug. 10 at 10 p.m., which was to have been the fourth outing for She Spies. One insider said Spies' "soft ratings" probably had at least a little to do with the switch. But NBC Enterprises President Ed Wilson says he didn't expect the show to get ER-size ratings in its four-week run on the network.

And it didn't. In fact, week one (July 20) was the show's best outing: It averaged a 1.8 rating for persons 2-plus and ranked 79th out of 114 prime time shows airing on the six broadcast networks that week; almost 5 million viewers tuned in. By week three, though, the show's rating had dropped to 1.3, ranking it 90th for the week, with 3.4 million viewers.

Wilson says, "We accomplished what we wanted to do, and that's introduce it to an audience and create some awareness before it goes into syndication." Ad sales are solid on the show, he says.

Certainly, the clearances are solid, too: It'll air in 98% of the U.S. in 190 markets. NBC Stations and Hearst-Argyle Television are among the groups airing the show.

Katz Media Group Vice President, Programming, Bill Carroll, says the show "probably didn't meet their expectations" from a ratings standpoint and that it made sense for NBC to try something else in the time period. But, he adds, "in many ways, they accomplished what they set out to do. It was hard for viewers not to be exposed to at least some of the promotion NBC gave it."