Continuing to cross-pollinate its cable and network content, NBC Universal soon will give USA Network hits "Psych" and "Monk" a second airing on NBC.
Six original episodes will premiere on USA in January, followed by a repeat on NBC on Sunday nights starting in March. NBC also may air older episodes from last summer or previous seasons of the shows.
"I've been a big fan of both shows, and we have been talking about [airing] these since the merger of NBC and the studio," said NBC Entertainment Co-Chair Ben Silverman. "We felt these two character-driven procedurals would play well as a block together."
Although the move will almost certainly be seen as a response to the writers strike, Silverman claimed he was planning to air the shows regardless.
"A lot of this we would be doing anyway," he said. "The strike is pointing a flashlight on it."
Bonnie Hammer, president of USA Network and Sci Fi Channel, said: "[Airing on NBC] was always an end-game goal. It's just been accelerated at this point."
Starting in January, NBC also is repurposing episodes of USA's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," a decision made months before the strike. Hammer said NBC siphoning USA's content will only benefit the cable network's brand.
"We're very excited about getting the extra exposure on NBC," she said. "If anything, it will bring new viewers to the USA Network."
NBC is the first broadcast network to dip heavily into a cable catalog during the writers strike. Some of NBC's broadcast competitors have said they consider such a move a last-resort option if they run dry of original content. But NBC has a history of cross-promoting its popular fare across its network properties, including USA, Bravo and Sci Fi Channel.
Absent from NBC's current repurposing plans: USA's new hit "Burn Notice," which averaged higher ratings last summer among adults 18 to 49 than either "Monk" or "Psych." Since "Burn Notice" is produced by Fox Television Studios, a separate deal would have to be made to bring the show to the network. "Monk" and "Psych" are produced in-house at Universal Media Studios.
"There have been very non-detailed conversations about bringing over 'Burn Notice,'" one source familiar with the matter said. "NBC is going into its own neighborhood first."
Another issue with "Burn Notice" is that only last summer's episodes are available for repurposing. The second season had yet to begin production when the writers strike started in November.
NBC executives left the door open to other cable series making the jump, however. Sci Fi's "Battlestar Galactica," which returns for its fourth season in March and is produced by Universal Media Studios, could enjoy additional airings on NBC, executives said, though the network is wary of scheduling heavily serialized programs.