Warner Bros.' high-profile series The West Wing (officially available in 2003) could be on its way to a high-priced cable run as early as next year if some cable shakers get their way.
Sources say the series is being priced at $1.2 million, with the stipulation that episodes not run in prime time (airing at 7 p.m. at the latest).
The price tag matches that reportedly fetched by the cable run of E.R., although E.R. was bundled with a weekend option that The West Wing doesn't have. TBS, which picked up E.R., eventually sold off its weekend run to broadcast stations for a reported $800,000 per episode.
A number of cable networks are apparently eager to get their hands on The West Wing, and at least one as early as next season. Sources say A&E is requesting a once-a-week play of the show that would run concurrently with its NBC airing.
One source close to the network said: "We've asked that it be made available that way, looking at the success of Once & Again's run on ABC and Lifetime." The executive added that Warner Bros. was "open to the discussion" but noncommittal.
A Warner Bros. spokesperson wouldn't comment on the negotiations with any network (others said to be getting the pitch include USA, Turner and Court TV) but did say: "This is the beginning of what typically is a year-long process." - Susanne Ault