2 for One: 'Hughleys,' 'Divorce'

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TV One, which targets black viewers, has snapped up rights to the off-net comedy "The Hughleys" as part of a multiyear licensing agreement with Twentieth Television.

Also as part of the deal, the network has acquired rights to Twentieth's long-running court show "Divorce Court." The agreement, which includes a VOD component on both titles, marks the first cable deal for both shows.

For "Hughleys," TV One has rights to air all 89 episodes of the comedy starting next month as well as rights to air episodes in limited numbers at a time on its VOD platform.

The comedy, based on comedian D.L. Hughley's real-life experiences, will debut April 5 with a seven-hour marathon starting at 8 p.m. EDT. It will join the regular schedule two days later, airing weeknights at 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. EDT.

"Hughleys," which also stars Elise Neal and John Henton, originally aired from 1998-2002 on ABC and UPN.

Meanwhile, TV One has acquired a "best of" package of 120 "Divorce Court" episodes featuring Judge Mablean Ephriam (new syndicated episodes star Judge Lynn Toler) as well as rights to air episodes on its VOD platform. The show began airing last month weekdays from 4-5 p.m. EDT.

Jeff Meier, senior vp program strategy and acquisitions at TV One, said both shows are a good fit with the network's schedule, which also includes such recent acquisitions as the animated comedy "The PJs" and drama "Day Break."

"We know that TV One viewers appreciate great comedy and reality-based programming," he said. "D.L. Hughley is hugely popular with our viewers, and they will welcome the return of his series. And 'Divorce Court' has already settled very comfortably into our weekday afternoon schedule."

Sources said the deal for "Hughleys" and "Divorce Court" is a three-year agreement, though both parties declined comment on specific deal points, including the financial terms.

TV One, which launched in January 2004, is available in 43.4 million households.
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