[05/29/03 - 12:00 AM] Western International Renews Syndie Drama 'Starhunter' By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)
CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- A spokesman for Western International Syndication has confirmed its action-adventure series "Starhunter" will return for a second season on local stations in the U.S. this fall. The Canadian produced drama, along with NBC Enterprises' "She Spies," are the only two freshman dramas in syndication to be renewed for next season.
The duo will join Tribune's "Andromeda" and "Mutant X" as the only first-run scripted series produced for syndication in fall 2003. That's a far cry from just a few years ago when almost a dozen programs in the genre were carried by local stations. But with the rapid decline of independent stations thanks to the growth of networks like UPN and the WB (not to mention cable always taking its growing share of the viewing pie), the need to fill prime hours of programming with first-run comedies and dramas is quickly evaporating. Making matters worse for syndicators is the few free slots there are generally go to better performing second-run offerings like "ER," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "The Practice" and "The X-Files."
This fall will see the addition of Warner Bros. "The West Wing" and 20th Century Fox's "Angel" as weekend offerings with "C.S.I." coming in fall 2004. The real motherload hits in the 2005-06 season however when "24," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Alias," "Smallville" and "Enterprise" are all expected to be cleared in syndication.