Spies' joint MGM/NBC plan


She Spies, the new weekly action hour for first-run syndication, has been cleared in 84% of the U.S., including 19 of the top 20 markets, reports Jim Packer, executive vice president, television sales, North America, MGM Worldwide Television Distribution.

The show has been cleared by the NBC stations in most markets and has also been cleared by many Hearst-Argyle stations and a few Gannett stations, including KUSA-TV Denver.

As part of a unique marketing and promotion arrangement with NBC, the first four episodes of the program, which stars Natasha Henstridge (Whole Nine Yards
and Bounce), will air in prime time on the network this summer and then debut in syndication in the fall. The show will debut on NBC on Saturday, July 20, at 10 p.m. ET and is already being promoted on-air (in NBC's NBA play-off coverage for example). The show will air on NBC in the same time period for four consecutive weeks.

As an added promotional boost for the show, NBC and MGM are crafting a sort of Natasha Henstridge night on the evening it debuts. From 8 to 10 p.m. that night, as the lead-in to the show, NBC will air the 1995 theatrical movie Species, which was Henstridge's break-out film.

According to Packer, a lot of the NBC stations picking up the show will air it on Saturday nights after Saturday Night Live. In several markets, he says, two stations have signed to carry it. In San Francisco, for example, network O&O KNTV(TV) will air one run of the show, and Young Broadcasting's KRON-TV will air a second run, on a week-delayed basis.

There's a similar situation in Cleveland, where Gannett's WKYC-TV will air Spies
Sundays in late night and Winston Broadcasting's WBNX-TV will air it Saturdays at 7 p.m.

The show is being sold in exchange for barter (seven minutes local time, seven minutes national). The NBC-MGM joint-venture media-sales company will handle ad sales on the show.