‘Best of’ fare for ‘World’

Sep 2, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Fans of syndication’s once thriving action hours who anxiously await the start of the new season will have to wait a lot longer than expected to see original product.
New Line has confirmed that “The Lost World” will air this season in a “Best of” format in lieu of new episodes, joining “Relic Hunter,” “Beastmaster” and “Sheena,” which similarly are offering repeat fare. Other series have been canceled outright this season, including “VIP,” “Tracker,” “Earth: Final Conflict” and “The Invisible Man.”
In essence, the only first-run veterans to offer new episodes this season will be Tribune’s “Andromeda” and “Mutant X” and MGM’s “Stargate SG-1”-a far cry from the days of successful syndies “Xena” and “Baywatch.”
“We are moving forward with season four of `The Lost World’ by utilizing the best of seasons one, two and three,” said David Spiegelman, executive VP, New Line Television. “During that time, we will explore every possible option to create a viable financial model to allow us to produce new episodes of the series. Our affiliate partners believe in this project and are supporting us by keeping our time periods intact. This is a golden opportunity to keep a franchise alive that consistently delivers strong ratings and demos across the board.”
“The Lost World” averaged a 1.6 rating in households this season (down 16 percent from last year’s 1.9) with a 0.8 in adults 18 to 49. The series also airs on cable network TNT.
That doesn’t mean that New Line is out of the genre, however. The company has “The Twilight Zone” set to air on UPN this fall, and sources said the distributor is mulling such action fare as spinoffs of movie library titles including “Blade” as potential future series.
With only three veterans guaranteed to air new episodes for syndication, new players are already emerging this fall to stake a claim in the business. Western International will unveil “Starhunter” with 22 episodes already wrapped and a possible order of 44 more on the table. MGM joined NBC to create “She Spies,” which received a limited prime-time run on NBC. October Moon has a full 22-episode order in the can for “John Woo’s Once a Thief,” and Tribune will launch another franchise, “Adventure Inc.”