- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 10, 2008

An extra dose of ‘AG’

NBC is returning “American Gladiators” to syndication to get additional sampling for the athletic competition.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Peacock network’s owned and affiliated stations will get a second run of the first three episodes of NBC’s hit remake of the 1990s syndicated series for non-prime-time broadcast on the weekends of Jan. 19 and 20, Jan. 26 and 27 and Feb. 2 and 3.

The idea for the re-purposed broadcasts came from the recent NBC Affiliate Board meeting.

“This unique partnership with our owned and affiliated stations gives us a great post-premiere window to increase the sampling for this tremendous new hit series,” NBC programming chief Ben Silverman said. “Plus, it may often air in the same time period as the syndicated series did when it became a smash series years ago.”

“American Gladiators” debuted Sunday night as the highest-rated new series of the season among adults 18 to 49, the Hollywood Reporter says.

‘After Dark’ returns

Showtime will run a second season of “Big Brother: After Dark,” its three-hour late-night no-holds-barred show following the goings-on in the CBS reality show house late at night, says Broadcasting & Cable magazine.

Starting Feb. 12, the live show will run at midnight every night of the week on Showtime digital sibling SHO2. “Big Brother” premieres a new, first-ever winter season on CBS at 9 that same evening. It will air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and Wednesdays and Sundays at 8 p.m.

The move is a no-brainer for Showtime, which has the late-night programming space open on SHO2. It also represents an important step in an increasingly synergistic relationship between the pay cable network and its corporate sibling, CBS, which haven’t always capitalized on each other’s programming.

The broadcast network, as part of its writers-strike contingency plans, will air season one of Showtime’s critically acclaimed original series “Dexter” beginning Feb. 17 at 10 p.m.

More ‘Dirt’ on FX

It won’t be for a full season, but “Dirt” is returning to FX in March.

The cable network will try to establish a Sunday-night foothold with the series, which stars Courteney Cox as a Los Angeles tabloid editor, Zap2it.com reports.

“Dirt” will begin its second season at 10 p.m. March 2. In addition to Miss Cox, series regulars Ian Hart, Alexandra Breckenridge and Josh Stewart will be back, while Laura Allen, Rick Fox and Jeffrey Nordling will return in guest or recurring roles.

Season two will pick up where the first season ended, with Lucy Spiller (Miss Cox) unconscious and bloodied after being attacked by Julia Mallory (Miss Allen), who blames Lucy for the destruction of her career via Lucy’s magazine, Dirt Now. The assault also has sent schizophrenic photographer Don Konkey (Mr. Hart) to a bad place, while reporter Willa (Miss Breckenridge) continues her rise at the magazine.

Mr. Stewart’s Holt McLaren, meanwhile, continues to see his career take off, thanks in no small part to Lucy’s help.

“Dirt” averaged a cumulative 5.2 million viewers per week over multiple airings last season, Zap2it.com reports. A little more than 70 percent of those viewers fell within FX’s target audience of adults age 18 to 49.

The show completed seven episodes before the start of the writers strike, giving FX enough hours to run through early April. The network also has the final season of “The Shield,” season three of “30 Days” and a partial season of “The Riches” waiting in the wings.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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