In a
move that will delight its fans, the Nine Network has sold The West Wing, the
left-wing fantasy series about a Democract American
President, to the ABC.

Nine
has been criticised by fans of the program for not
showing it, but the network’s reply has always been that it has been an under
performer, even in late evening time slots where hardcore fans would be
expected to watch.

Nine
has not done the right thing by fans, dropping it without warning earlier this
year when ten episodes of series five were still to be
screened. The
decision to terminate it after 12 episodes had been shown sparked an outcry from
loyal fans, which Nine ignored.

News of
the sale to the ABC, which plans to show the series from the start, follows the
news earlier this week that Nine had done a deal with the Ten Network on four
series – Smallville, Supernatural, Reunion and Veronica
Mars
.

Nine
has sub-licensed two other shows to Ten a year ago: The OC and One Tree Hill.

Nine
offered The West Wing to the Ten Network which declined because it didn’t fit
its audience profile. The West Wing appeals to an older demographic compared to
shows like The OC, Supernatural and Veronica Mars.

News of
the sales to Ten and the ABC were a subtext at
yesterday’s Free Television Australia seminar in Sydney at which the heads
of Nine, Sam Chisholm, Ten, Grant Blackley and Seven,
David Leckie spoke.

Nine’s
deals are part reducing its inventory and part generating more revenue against
the expensive Warner Bros production contract which costs $35 million this year
and is understood to rise next year to between $40 million and $50
million.