If you’ve ever wanted to watch horny vampire classic “True Blood” without any of the sex scenes for some reason, TNT has got you covered. The Warner Bros. Discovery-owned channel will begin airing reruns of the HBO series starting this Saturday; simultaneously, the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley” will also begin airing in syndication on TBS.
Both shows will be edited for these new broadcast runs on Warner Bros. Discovery’s T-Net channels, in order to fit in ad breaks and to conform to the standard TV-MA rating. For “True Blood,” that presumably means a lot of the show’s nudity is getting cut, while the average “Silicon Valley” episode is about to have a ton of naughty words bleeped out. Both shows will debut on their respective cable channels after coverage of the NBA All-Star game, before “True Blood” moves to 10 p.m. on Mondays and “Silicon Valley” moves to 10 p.m. on Sundays.
This initiative marks something of a throwback to the old days of HBO programming like “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos,” two ’90s hits from the premium cable network that were edited for syndicated runs on channels like TBS and A&E. “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Larry David’s long-running and sporadically airing cringe comedy, also made the leap from HBO to basic cable in syndication stints on WGN in 2010 and TV Land in 2015.
Aside from “Curb,” HBO programming has largely remained exclusive to the channel in the U.S. outside of streaming since the late 2000’s onward. As such, “True Blood” and “Silicon Valley” are the most modern shows from the premium cable network to get the syndication treatment, (“modern” being relative, given that “True Blood” ended in 2014 and “Silicon Valley” in 2019).
Presumably, Warner Bros. Discovery wanted to test this syndication strategy on two relatively older series with a sizable number of episodes (“True Blood” ran for seven seasons and 80 episodes, while “Silicon Valley” has 53 episodes across six seasons), as opposed to their current, buzzier hits like “Succession” (the channel’s longest-running current drama at a mere 29 episodes). The company will monitor how the series perform via Nielsen ratings. If “True Blood” on TNT finds its audience, we might one day discover what a cable-friendly version of “Euphoria” looks like.
The shows should prove to be valuable schedule fillers for TBS and TNT, both of which were heavily impacted by the Warner Bros. Discovery merger when it finalized this April. Both channels — along with their sister network TrueTV — lost their manager Brett Weitz, and are now overseen by Kathleen Finch, with development of original programming now on “pause.”
Although a small amount of shows on the channels are still running — like “Snowpiercer” on TNT and “Miracle Workers” on TBS — both channels are expected to focus more on reruns going forward, so the “True Blood” and “Silicon Valley” experiment could be a sign of both channels’ future.
Variety was the first to report that “True Blood” and “Silicon Valley” are headed to TV.
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