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TWIDW Update: PBS Stations May Lose Rights To Doctor Who Reruns

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  • Benjamin F. Elliott
    Short version - it looks like the Sci-Fi Channel is negotiating for exclusive rights to reruns of the original Doctor Who series in the US, replacing the
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 30, 2004
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      Short version - it looks like the Sci-Fi Channel is negotiating for
      exclusive rights to reruns of the original Doctor Who series in the US,
      replacing the existing system where individual public TV stations air it in
      some markets.

      Maryland Public Television http://www.mpt.org , one of eight public TV
      systems that still airs reruns of the original series of Doctor Who episodes
      (An Unearthly Child through Survival), is sending out alerts to viewers that
      the future of Doctor Who on their station (and any public TV station) is in
      doubt. Here's the message I received:

      "Hello. I'm making an effort to contact all of the Dr. Who fans that have
      recently contacted us to inquire about Maryland Public Television's Dr. Who
      scheduling.

      "I want you to be aware you may see changes in Dr. Who programming on MPT.

      "At present episodes are being skipped because they ahve not been offered to
      us for broadcast.

      "Sadly, we are even further limited at present because the BBC is
      considering terminating PBS's rights to air this series and awarding
      exclusive rights to the Sci-Fi Channel. Until this is resolved, MPT can only
      air episodes which it currently has in-house, a total of just 30 episodes.

      "Angela Myers
      Viewer Services
      Maryland Public Television"

      Maryland Public TV airs the episodes in "movie format", so that may refer to
      30 stories. The stations airing the series are at different points in the 26
      year run, so each station probably has a different set and number of stories
      in house that can be rerun. Fans have been wondering what the status of
      Doctor Who on MPT was since the September schedule revealed that most of the
      Tom Baker stories were being skipped.

      It's not a big surprise that there would be negotiations for a cable network
      to get the national rights. The new Doctor Who series should air in the US
      sometime in 2005 on *some* cable channel. It might create fresh interest in
      the original series. If Sci-Fi (or anyone) has national rights to the old
      episodes, they would be prepared to cash in on public interest.

      For fans who live in areas where Doctor Who still airs (full list below), it
      would mean the loss of being able to watch the series over the air. And if
      you have Comcast cable be aware that some Comcast systems have moved Sci-Fi
      to the digital tier. For most US fans, having Doctor Who on Sci-Fi would
      mean they could finally see the reruns on TV again after many years
      (assuming Sci-Fi would actually air the episodes).

      As of this writing, it is still unknown which network(s) are negotiating for
      rights to air the new Doctor Who episodes in the US.

      The stations airing Doctor Who in the USA:

      New Hampshire Public TV http://www.nhptv.org - Saturdays at 11PM, 1 episode
      per week

      WYBE 35 Philadelphia, PA http://www.wybe.org - Saturdays at 11PM, 2 episodes
      per week

      Maryland Public TV http://www.mpt.org - Saturdays at roughly Midnight,
      complete movies each week

      WCET 48 Cincinnati, OH http://cetconnect.org - Saturdays at 11PM, 2 episodes
      per week

      WILL 12 Urbana, IL http://www.will.uiuc.edu - Saturdays at 11:40PM, 1
      episode per week

      Iowa Public TV http://www.iptv.org - Saturdays at 11:35PM, 2 episodes per
      week

      KUED 7 Salt Lake City, UT http://www.kued.org - Saturdays at 11:30PM, 1
      episode per week

      KBTC 28 Tacoma, WA http://www.kbtc.org - Saturdays at 7PM (repeat at
      12:30AM), 2 episodes per week

      This is unlikely to affect the status of Doctor Who on BBC Kids
      http://www.bbckids.ca in Canada, as Sci-Fi Channel is not available in
      Canada.

      Benjamin F. Elliott
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thisweekindoctorwho - This Week In Doctor Who
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