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ABC's "Band'' on the run to MTV

MTV has engineered a major programming first, picking up the canceled reality show “Making the Band” from ABC and keeping the series in production as the linchpin of its Friday prime-time schedule.

The 35 half-hour reruns of “Making the Band” have begun running on MTV, and the cable channel has committed to 10 new episodes, the first of which will air Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. Each half-hour costs MTV Prods. in the low six figures to produce.

The expense has gone up because the five members of the band O-Town are getting fees for their participation, a tribute to the fact that the group has one of the year’s better-selling albums. The first season of “Making the Band,” which premiered on ABC in March 2000, chronicled the creation of O-Town from individual auditions.

Jon Murray, one of the co-executive producers of “Making the Band” with Mary-Ellis Bunim and Ken Mok, said that before ABC canceled the show, it was delivering almost a pure 12- to 24-year-old demographic – MTV’s core audience.

O-Town will be giving MTV’s cameras unusual access for hit performers with a rabid fan base. MTV president of programming Brian Graden said, “The show will end up performing something of a weird social experiment.”