‘Spies’ gets tuneup after network run

Aug 26, 2002  •  Post A Comment

In a conspicuously overt operation, “She Spies”-a one-hour action-adventure-comedy series from MGM Television Entertainment-got the jump on the competition with a special network preview on NBC this summer before heading off to syndication in the fall.
Having the opportunity to promote, review and fine-tune the series on the broadcast network before its syndication debut was a big help to Jim Griffiths, president of worldwide television distribution for MGM Worldwide Television Group, and Hank Cohen, president, MGM Television Entertainment.
“We’ve had time to tweak the show,” Mr. Cohen said. “Most shows don’t get a chance to do this until four or five episodes into the season. The fact that we got a jump-start … we’re going to be ahead of the game.” Mr. Cohen said tweaks will include more development of the three main characters in an episode that will provide more of the backstory on how the three became a team.
With a 98 percent clearance level already, Mr. Cohen views the network experiment as a success even though NBC ended up running only three episodes instead of the planned four. The series averaged a 1.4 Nielsen Media Research rating among adults 18 to 49 in its three-week run on NBC. While its debut ranked first in its time slot among adults 18 to 49, with a 1.7 rating, it fell to third place the next two weeks with a 1.35 rating the second week and a 1.15 rating the third week.
“You have to look at the entire picture to determine if it was a success,” Mr. Cohen said. “You have to judge this and any experiment on how it leads to a given result. The fact that we were able to clear so many stations speaks to the success of the network trial.”
An NBC spokesperson said it was also beneficial to the network. “It was an opportunity to have original programming in the summer, which is a definite goal of the networks,” the spokesperson said.
Mr. Cohen said he is realistic yet optimistic about how much the broadcast network exposure will help boost the show against its syndicated competition. While “She Spies” received a big promotional boost to the tune of almost 300 spots equivalent to a $600 million ad campaign, Mr. Cohen said, “The competition is the competition. We already have exposure on the show, so it’s a relaunch as opposed to a launch. It’s a decided advantage already.”