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NOW THAT REPURPOSING is a hot trend in the TV business, the networks and their studio partners can't wait to find a cable partner for their quick turnover reruns. Even before "Watching Ellie" launched last week, NBC was shopping for a partner to re-air episodes in the same week they premiere, a person familiar with the matter said. The "Ellie" debut nearly doubled NBC's season-to-date performance in the Tuesday 8:30 p.m. time slot among the coveted 18-to-49-year-old audience. But NBC admits early success hardly means a sure-fire hit. Remember the XFL?

"ALLY MCBEAL" HASN'T only seen a ratings drop on Fox. Its syndicated run on sibling cable net FX has posted paltry ratings almost from last September's get-go. Now, FX is trying to unload the remainder of its multi-year syndication commitment-desperately. FX paid sibling Twentieth Television some $675,000 an episode, but FX would take somewhere in the $300,000 range, according to one insider. An FX spokesman said the show is not for sale.

BONNIE FULLER, ex-Glamour-puss and Cosmo-er, joins Us Weekly. On everyone's mind: How will the strong-willed, hard-charging editor co-exist with the strong-willed, hard-charging and extremely hands-on part owner, Jann Wenner?

contributing: jon fine

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