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OLN Officially Voted Onto the Island

6/01/2005 10:20 AM Eastern

As expected, Outdoor Life Network announced Wednesday that it has secured syndication rights to Survivor.

Comcast Corp.-owned OLN -- in a move that president Gavin Harvey called “transformative for our network and a perfect fit for our brand” -- has grabbed the rights to the first 10 seasons of the Mark Burnett reality-genre stalwart, encompassing some 165 episodes.

The deal -- terms of which were not disclosed, brokered through King World Productions -- also gives OLN options to grab the show’s 11th and 12th iterations.

Best-known for its coverage of the Tour de France cycling race, OLN will premiere its first installment of Survivor July 24, the final day of the cycling competition, which could see Lance Armstrong extend his record to seven consecutive triumphs. The airing will mark the first time the show has been televised outside of its runs on CBS.

Senior vice president of programming and production Marc Fein said OLN’s initial plans were to strip the show Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. He added that OLN’s overall scheduling calls to air Survivor from first season to last.

Fein said the network, “down the line,” is also thinking of breaking out themed shows or packages along the lines of “best villains” and “biggest twists.”

At least initially, no plans had been made to have contestants provide additional commentary or to include extra footage, but that could change in the months to come.

During the conference call announcing the syndication deal, Burnett said he would be willing to produce additional segments. “This is not, ‘They give us a check; we give them a tape,’” he said. “We want to help them and help us to grow our primetime audience.”

Survivor’s 11th season is set to premiere on CBS in September.

The addition of Survivor is viewed as a move to broaden OLN’s viewer base well beyond those who tune in to see bull riding, skiing and other recreational and alternative sports.

Harvey, Fein and Burnett during the call all said Survivor’s airings on OLN would bring in the show’s ardent supporters -- those who began watching the show after it began its initial run -- and newcomers.

September