Confirming a rumor posted here yesterday, TV Barn reports that the Hallmark Channel has indeed acquired the exclusive cable rights to air all 255 syndication episodes, 251 with the episodes that originally aired in one hour. An excerpt from the TV Barn article:
The Hallmark Channel, the network owned by Crown Media Inc., announced Monday that it had obtained exclusive cable TV rights to the ageless sitcom “MASH.”
Industry reports say the multiyear deal with Crown Media, which is two-thirds owned by Hallmark Cards Inc., was worth at least $60 million — not bad for a show that signed off the air 19 years ago.
“MASH,” which ran 11 seasons on CBS, will begin airing in fall 2003 on the Hallmark Channel. The show now airs up to eight times a day on the VEX channel, which like Twentieth Television, the studio that produced “MASH,” is owned by media giant News Corp.
The cable rights to all 255 episodes will not affect the show’s broadcast rights. WDAF-TV (also owned by News Corp.) airs “MASH” repeats at 11:30 p.m. (CT) weeknights in Kansas City.”
To read the entire articles, go here.
What does this mean to the everyday M*A*S*H fan? FX Networks, the cable network currently airing M*A*S*H, will lose their rights to air M*A*S*H in 2003. So, if you don’t get the Hallmark Channel, you might want to contact your cable provider about adding it to the channels you do get. However, as the article states, broadcast rights won’t be affected.