Cable TV loves Robin Williams in old-lady drag.
20th Century Fox’s “Mrs. Doubtfire” was the most-aired pic on basic cable in 2013. The 1993 comedy was played 66 times across five networks, according to research firm IHS Technology. A sequel is in the works at Fox 2000, with Williams attached to reprise the role and director Chris Columbus also on board.
Over all, the tonnage of movie content aired on U.S. basic cable networks inched up to 89,623 total hours last year, up 1.3% from 88,443 in 2011, according to the research firm. Movies accounted for nearly 15% of all airtime in 2013, up from 14% in 2011.
“Cable networks are seeing the benefit of airing movies that get better non-primetime ratings than some TV shows during the same timeslots,” said IHS senior analyst Erik Brannon.
On basic cable, even older blockbusters like “Mrs. Doubtfire” — which generated more than $400 million at the box office — perform well. Major studio pics from the last decade are scarcer, as independent films represented 78% of post-2000 movie airtime on basic cable in 2013, IHS found.
Fox held the No. 1 spot among studios with the most airtime on basic cable, with 6.5% share, followed by Warner Bros. Those two studios lead others by a wide margin in large part because they own dedicated movie cablers: Fox Movie Channel and Time Warner’s TCM (Turner Classic Movies). For example, fully half of the movie airtime on Fox Movie Channel came from Fox, according to IHS.