DirecTV has 'Passion' for NBC

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DirecTV is getting into the scripted series business and NBC Universal Television Studio is becoming a content provider for satellite platforms.

DirecTV and NBC Uni TV said Wednesday that the NBC Universal-produced daytime drama "Passions" will move to DirecTV's original programming channel, the 101, after it ends its eight-year run on NBC on Sept. 7.

"Passions," DirecTV's first scripted series, will premiere on the satellite service Sept. 17.

While continuing to produce "Passions" for NBC didn't make sense because of the show's low ratings, it works great for DirecTV, said Marc Graboff, president of NBC Universal Television, West Coast.

"The studio gets to continue to produce it, and its core audience of devoted fans gets to continue to watch it," he said.

NBC Uni TV has found a way to "produce the show effectively" by reducing the budget, accomplished mostly by going from five episodes a week on NBC to four on DirecTV.

While the majority of the cast and crew are expected to continue on the series, the revenue from DirecTV still "more than covers" the studio's costs, Graboff said.

What's more, the pact, a first between a major TV studio and a satellite provider on a scripted series, feels like a test deal for the future, he said.

"I can see shows that are too narrow for the broad network tent but make sense to continue on other platforms finding a future there," Graboff said.

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