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Dec 27, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Posted Thursday, Dec. 27, at 11:45 a.m. (PT); last updated at 1:50 p.m.

A&E launching series especially for repeats

The new year will bring a new weekly programming banner to A&E Network, which is launching “A&E Network Studios,” a Thursday night showcase for rebroadcasts of its highest-profile movies and miniseries.”Studios” debuts on Jan. 3 with part one of the four-hour “Victoria & Albert” miniseries, which will conclude the following week. Also getting the “Studios” treatment will be A&E’s Emmy-winning “Horatio Hornblower” miniseries and its productions of “The Great Gatsby,” Vanity Fair” and Jane Austen’s “Emma.” Upcoming projects that also will get second runs on “Studios” include “The Magnificent Ambersons,” set to debut on Jan. 13; the miniseries “Shackleton,” scheduled for spring 2002; and “Lathe of Heaven” and “The Lost World,” two new original movies.

‘Dragon Ball Z,’ ‘Survivor’ among most-searched TV shows: Sept. 11 may have dominated the news in 2001, but it didn’t eclipse TV, pop music and gaming when it came to online searches on the Yahoo! Web portal this past year.

The 10 most-searched-for TV shows at Yahoo! in 2001 were “Dragon Ball Z,” “Survivor,” “The Simpsons,” “Friends,” “Big Brother,” “Sailor Moon,” “Days of Our Lives,” “South Park,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Oprah.” No fewer than four of the top 10 are animated series, and two of the four (“Dragon Ball Z” and “Sailor Moon”) are examples of the increasingly popular Japanese-based “anime.”

The No. 1 search term in 2001 was “PlayStation 2,” according to the annual Yahoo! Buzz Index. “This and related leading terms indicate that gaming culture may be on the verge of eclipsing movies and television in the pop culture lexicon,” according to a Yahoo! statement. Following the Sony game console in the list of most popular overall searches are “Britney Spears,” “WWF,” “Dragon Ball Z” and “Napster.” Those five searches eclipsed “World Trade Center,” which was next on the Buzz list.

The only other Sept. 11-related searches in the Buzz top 20 were “Osama bin Laden” (15th) and “Nostradamus” (16th), the 16th-century prophet who made the list in the wake of a widespread myth holding that he predicted the events of 9/11.

NBC to pay tribute to ‘Roots’: NBC plans to air a one-hour special celebrating the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking miniseries “Roots,” which debuted in 1977 on ABC. Original “Roots” cast member LeVar Burton will host “Roots-Celebrating 25 Years: The Saga of an American Classic,” which will feature interviews with several other cast members, including and Ed Asner. It will air at 8 p.m. (ET) Friday, Jan. 18 in conjunction with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

ABC reportedly passed on the project. A spokesman at the network was unavailable for comment.

Encoda Systems gets contract renewals: Encoda Systems said Gray Communications has signed five-year renewal contracts for eight stations on Encoda’s Columbine and JDS traffic systems. Gray is renewing contracts for stations in Lexington, Ky. (WKYT-TV); Hazard, Ky. (WYMT-TV); Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT-TV); North Augusta, S.C. (WRDW-TV); Eau Claire, Wis. (WEAU-TV); and Waco (KWTX-TV), Sherman (KXII-TV) and Bryan (KBTX-TV), Texas.

Gray Communications operates 13 television stations, three NBC affiliates and 10 CBS affiliates, in the Southeast and Midwest. WKYT, was a beta site for early releases of the Columbine system nearly 30 years ago.