MyTV Desperate for ‘Housewives’

May 29, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Starting in fall 2008, the ladies of Wisteria Lane will be promoted with the moniker “My Desperate Housewives” for at least part of the hit ABC show’s syndication run.

The show’s distributor, Buena Vista Television, has sold “Housewives,” a crucial piece of ABC’s ratings turnaround strategy since it premiered in 2004, to the Fox-owned MyNetworkTV-affiliated stations for a weekend syndication run.

The one-hour, Emmy-winning “Housewives” will run on the MyTV stations under a two-year deal beginning in fall 2008.

As with most deals in recent years for hour-long off-network weekly series, the stations will not pay a license fee to carry the show’s syndicated run. Instead, the advertising time in each show will be divided up between the stations and the distributor, with the stations getting seven minutes per hour to sell locally and Buena Vista getting seven minutes to sell nationally. Dennis Swanson, president of station operations for Fox Television Stations, said he expects the show’s serial comedic drama style to pair well with Fox’s MyNetworkTV schedule, which kicks off this fall with serialized romance dramas in prime time Monday through Friday.

“It fits consistently in both programming philosophy and promotability with everything we envision for MyNetworkTV,” Mr. Swanson said in an interview last week.

Garnett Losak, VP and director of programming for Petry TV, said she also thinks “Housewives,” complements MyTV’s programming strategy.

“It fits with their telenovela vision,” Ms. Losak said. “It’s in keeping with the vision of that television network and who they expect will be the loyal audience of their programming.”

Going with “Housewives” builds on MyTV’s programming foundation of romantic, serialized one-hours, “but no serialized drama repeats as well as off-network sitcoms or first-runs,” said John Rash, senior VP and director of broadcast operations for ad agency Campbell Mithun.

“While it will help continue to build the identity of MyNetworkTV affiliates, it won’t mean a significant shift in ratings,” he said. “The repeats on ABC itself do not perform well. And all the way back to ‘Dallas,’ it’s difficult to rebuild a serialized drama audience in syndication.”

“I would differentiate ‘Desperate Housewives’ from other types of serialized shows,” said Jed Cohen, executive VP and general sales manager for Buena Vista TV. “This show is a comedy. A viewer can sit down and enjoy any episode of this show on a standalone basis.”

A comedic weekend hour launching in fall 2008 may serve MyTV and Buena Vista well, since there are currently no off-network series scheduled to move to syndication that season.

The syndication deal for “Housewives” follows a pact Buena Vista made in April with Disney- and Hearst-owned cable company Lifetime Television.