News Brief

JAG, Dharma Face Renewal Hurdles

With just two weeks left before the TV business breaks camp and heads to New York for the fall presentations to advertisers, the fates of "Dharma & Greg" and "JAG" are still far from resolved. And in a year when "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" jumped networks over economic issues, there's a possibility that both hit series may pack their bags as well.

Although it's more than likely that CBS will come to a deal with Viacom sibling Paramount Network TV, which produces the show, the two sides are still far apart over the show's price tag, and tensions had escalated by the end of last week. CBS' exclusive negotiating window for the military drama expires Monday.

CBS currently pays between $1.2 million and $1.3 million per episode for "JAG," now in its fifth season. Paramount is believed to be asking for a fee in the mid- to upper-$2 million range, while CBS is said to be offering about $1 million less than that.

Meanwhile, ABC and producer 20th Century Fox TV have been locked in a "Dharma" tug-of-war for some time now; the studio has now solicited offers from two other major networks, although it's unclear whether those are competitive bids. Both sides remain far apart over the show's license fee, which currently hovers just north of $900,000 per episode.

The studio believes the show is worth much more, while ABC notes that the comedy has taken a beating in the ratings this season.

- Reuters/Variety