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NBC to Add New Content to Bravo

Unlike some rivals, the network will develop shows for the cable channel it agreed to buy.

November 05, 2002|Sallie Hofmeister | Times Staff Writer

You won't see the peacock being recycled on Bravo.

NBC Chief Executive Bob Wright said his network will focus on developing new shows for the upscale cable channel it agreed to purchase Monday, rather than using it to air repeats, as some of its broadcast rivals do with their in-house cable channels. That helps them absorb the costs of their prime-time schedules.

Although Walt Disney Co. paid $5.2 billion last year to turn what is now known as the ABC Family Channel into a secondary outlet for shows on its ABC broadcast network, Wright said such "repurposing is not an objective" for General Electric Co.-owned NBC, which paid $1.25 billion in cash and stock to purchase Bravo from Cablevision Systems Corp. and its minority partner, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. The deal was expected.

Still, Wright said he does see opportunities for Bravo to share the collective resources of NBC to strengthen the channel -- and therefore its ratings and advertising revenue.

For instance, Bravo could use footage from NBC News, CNBC and MSNBC to develop new programs as well as for its nonfiction signature shows, "Bravo Profile" and "Inside the Actor's Studio."

Projects pitched by writers, directors and producers not suitable for NBC, Wright said, also could make their way onto the cable channel. Bravo programs could even feed NBC, he said.

Wright said Bravo will maintain its arts and culture orientation. "We'll continue it in the vein it is today," Wright said.

Changes, however, are on the way.

Bravo will be overseen by Jeff Zucker, president of NBC Entertainment, now in charge of the networks' prime-time schedule.

Zucker said NBC would look for ways to develop scripted dramas and comedies. For instance, the network is producing two versions of a drama for next year called "Kingpin," about drug trafficking. The more graphic, uncut version could be televised on Bravo.

"Bravo has a strong identity with an upscale target similar to NBC's," Zucker said. "That's something we want to hone."

In addition, Zucker said NBC events such as the Golden Globe Awards and Emmy Awards could be extended on Bravo just as NBC has expanded Olympic coverage using the company's CNBC and MSNBC cable news channels.

Wright said some NBC programs could end up airing on Bravo, but not to the extent that ABC uses its cable channel. Bravo previously struck a deal to air reruns of NBC's hit drama "The West Wing."

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