A Double Shot of ‘Golden’

Jul 11, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Lifetime has purchased the off-network rights to the short-lived “Golden Girls” spinoff “The Golden Palace” from Buena Vista Television. The half-hour series aired on CBS from 1992 to 1993 and totals 24 episodes.

The original “Golden Girls,” which Lifetime acquired in 1997, became an unexpected hit for the women’s network, averaging 1.2 million viewers during its weeknight run in the second quarter of 2005, according to Nielsen Media Research. A 2003 retrospective, “The Golden Girls: Their Greatest Memories,” was the highest-rated special in the network’s history.

“‘Golden Girls’ has obviously performed exceptionally well for us, and somebody pointed out that there’s ‘Golden Palace,” said Leslie Glenn-Chesloff, senior VP of planning, scheduling and acquisitions for the network. “So I called up Buena Vista to make sure it was still available and I bought it.”

The series will be supported by a marketing campaign that includes a petition to “Give us the Golden Palace!” Lifetime put the petition on its Web site, and it has been signed by 14,000 visitors. The petition will be used in an on-air promotional campaign featuring on-the-street interviews demonstrating fan enthusiasm about bringing the spinoff to Lifetime.

“The ‘Golden Girls’ area on our Web site is the most popular; we have a very active message board,” said Kris Soumas, VP of new media content development. “We took our cue from them and put the petition online.”

“The Golden Palace” stars original cast members Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, but not Bea Arthur. In the show, the trio runs a Miami Beach hotel called The Golden Palace. Oscar nominee Don Cheadle, in his first television series, and comedian Cheech Marin also star as members of the Golden Palace staff.

The series will air at 6:30 p.m. nightly (ET/PT), paired with original “Golden Girls” episodes, beginning Aug. 1.