Quick Reruns? Not So Fast

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CBS has cancelled its quick weekly rerun of "The Amazing Race" on the UPN network, ending an experiment that yielded low ratings and angry feedback from CBS affiliates and UPN.

It was an example of how repurposing - the season's hottest trend in the television business - doesn't always work.

"The Amazing Race," a reality show, airs regularly on CBS Wednesday nights. The network decided last month to show each week's episode a second time on Friday nights on UPN, its corporate cousin.

The move angered many CBS affiliates, who were concerned that fans of the show would be less compelled to tune in Wednesdays if they knew they could see an episode two nights later. Some UPN affiliates weren't happy because it made their network seem like a minor-league farm team to CBS.

The ratings were terrible. "The Amazing Race" was the second lowest-rated show on UPN last week, drawing under 1.3 million viewers. It will be replaced by a movie.

With the ratings so poor, CBS decided not to push the issue.

"We are very pleased with the decision," said Ray Deaver of Waco, Texas, chairman of the CBS affiliate board.

Affiliates aren't against repurposing, he said, but they had negotiated an agreement that CBS wouldn't allow reruns on another network for at least seven days after the original aired. "The Amazing Race" violated that, he said.

Some UPN affiliates were also angry that they were being asked to air "The March to Madness," a one-hour special last Wednesday that promoted the NCAA basketball tournament. CBS aired all of the NCAA basketball games.

A handful of affiliates refused to air the special, and it was the lowest-rated show on UPN last week.

The incidents may force CBS to reevaluate its repurposing strategy, particularly as it applies to UPN. In Leslie Moonves, the two networks share a chief executive.