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Old 03-16-2005, 09:32 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 11, 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 24,543
Default SLIGHTY OT: NBC Nears Renewal Deal for 'West Wing' :Source

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - NBC and the producers of "The West Wing" are close to a deal to bring the political drama back for another year at about half the price the network currently pays for the show, a source familiar with the talks said on Wednesday.

Under that deal, the license fee paid by NBC to Warner Bros. Television would fall from about $6 million to $3 million per episode, reflecting lower ratings the Emmy-winning series has garnered since it was last renewed two years ago, the source said.

Details of the prospective agreement were first reported by the entertainment trade paper, Daily Variety.

NBC declined to comment except to say that no agreement had yet been reached.

While Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc., would receive less from the network, the cost of producing the show is expected to drop next season as a function of anticipated casting changes.

Martin Sheen, for example, will have a lower profile as the fictional president he portrays leaves office and is succeeded by an entirely new White House administration.

The series, now in its sixth season, is not the ratings powerhouse it once was. But it remains a marquee element of NBC's lineup, having won the Emmy as best drama four years in a row.

The show hit the peak of its popularity in its third season, ranking No. 9 among all prime-time series with 17 million viewers a week. It currently averages fewer than 12 million, but still boasts the highest concentration of upscale viewers in all of TV, a key selling point with advertisers.

Executive Producer John Wells and NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker have previously said they expected the show to return for at least one more season next fall.

Announcement of a deal could come as early as Thursday, when NBC executives brief advertisers on its upcoming prime-time lineup.

The General Electric Co.-owned network also was expected to announce an agreement with producers on the return of the long-running hospital drama "ER" for at least another season.


I don't know what this means for AD, but I thought I'd post it anyway, since they are linking AD and The West Wing together as a good pair. So maybe they could make this pair complete...
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