'Shipmates' rises from the depths of syndication cancellation to surface on Spike TV
By Reality TV World staff, 09/09/2003
Sony Pictures Television's "Shipmates," the syndicated reality dating show, has achieved the unlikely -- after failing to be renewed after two seasons in syndication (the second year of which ends this week) the program has managed to surface at the Spike TV cable network. The newly re-launched "First Network For Men" has ordered fifty new episodes of the program to begin airing in early 2004.
According to Daily Variety, "Shipmates," which sets up a couple up on five blind dates while on a commercial cruise ship and records their goings-on over the course of three days, will likely have some format changes, possibly including a new host and the inclusion of more footage of the couples visiting their exotic locales.
Sony Pictures TV programming/production president Russ Krasnoff told Variety that "[Spike TV president] Albie Hecht came out here, and we talked about the changes they were making for the network, and in their research of male TV viewers, one of the things that they learned was that men are very much interested in travel and travel planning, which is a big part of 'Shipmates,' It just seemed like the perfect match."
Despite the program's syndication struggles, which Sony blames partly on bad timeslot scheduling issues, the company believes the program will fair well at Spike TV. "This is a show we believe will have better success with the kind of scheduling and support a major cable network (provides)," Krasnoff told Variety.
Production on new episodes of "Shipmates" is expected to begin next month.