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Feb 17, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Sunday, Feb. 17, at 8:08 a.m. (PT); last updated Monday, Feb. 18, at 12:01 a.m.

NBC Enterprises partners with MGM on ‘B.A.I.T’ action hour

Just as NBC is considering an added summer 2002 network platform to springboard the launch of “B.A.I.T.” into first-run syndication, NBC Enterprises has entered into a deal with MGM to serve as a co-producer and international distributor. Vince Manze, co-president of the NBC Agency and co-creator of “B.A.I.T.,” confirmed Friday that MGM Worldwide Television Group — under President Hank Cohen — agreed to co-finance and co-produce the hour-long action series.

The deal came off just as NBC is said to be seriously exploring plans to use its Saturday night prime time slots — home to a movie night showcase for the last two seasons — as a potential promotional and audience sampling platform for “B.A.I.T.” as well as other scripted drama concepts.

“The key to re-thinking Saturday is where we go on nights where the financial situation dictates a different economic model for introducing more cost-effective scripted series,” said Mr. Manze, who co-created “B.A.I.T.” with NBC Special Projects VP Joe Livecchi. “There are several things in play here: Does it make sense to use the network platform to launch something into syndication? And is the project strong enough in terms of content and production values to be put on the network’s airtime? That all still has to be determined once the pilots are done.”

To that end, Mr. Manze said NBC Studios and MGM hope to begin shooting the pilot for “B.A.I.T.” an action hour about three female ex-convicts who are enlisted to fight crime for a government reform program, starting in March. He added that the working-title drama is being executive produced by Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle, the show runners behind NBC’s former Saturday drama, “The Pretender.”

Greenfield no longer ‘At Large’: CNN has canceled “Greenfield at Large,” the talk show hosted by Jeff Greenfield. The show premiered last June and bowed out quietly last Friday, a victim of low ratings.

For the time being, reruns of “Crossfire” will fill its 11 p.m. (ET) slot. Mr. Greenfield, a wry and erudite political and cultural commentator, is expected to remain with the network, contributing to other shows.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications