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Lifetime seals deal to host ‘Housewives’

First season to begin airing in August
/ Source: Hollywood Reporter

“Desperate Housewives” has found a cable home at Lifetime Television.

Through the deal with Buena Vista Television, announced Friday, the women’s-targeted cable network has acquired exclusive basic cable rights along with repurposing rights to the hit series, now in its second season on ABC.

The terms of the deal allow Lifetime to air the show as a strip when the rights kick in, in September 2008, with the time period yet to be determined, said Leslie Glenn-Chesloff, senior vp planning, scheduling and acquisitions at Lifetime Entertainment Services.

In addition, the network will begin airing the first season of “Housewives” on a weekly basis in August, followed by Season 2. From September 2007, the network will start airing Season 3, followed by Season 4, on a weekly basis. Lifetime hasn’t determined what day the show will air, but Glenn-Chesloff said the terms of the deal prohibit the cable network from airing it on Sundays -- the same night ABC broadcasts the series.

In September 2008, Lifetime will air Season 5 concurrently with ABC, but with a 14-day delay.

Glenn-Chesloff said that the decision to go after the rights to “Housewives” was a no-brainer.

“It’s the No. 1 show among women 18-49, with the exception of ’American Idol,’ so it’s a perfect show for Lifetime,” she said.

“Housewives” is averaging 22.5 million total viewers and 8.3 million women 18-49 at 9 p.m. Sundays.

Lifetime and Buena Vista declined comment on the price tag and number of episodes involved in the deal.