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‘Merlin’ Conjures Up a Second Chance at NBC

Its first run struck out on NBC last summer but the fantasy adventure may be a better fit on cable

 "Merlin" bombed on NBC, but sister network Syfy is hoping it might yet work some ratings magic on cable.

Syfy Thursday said it had bought 26 episodes of the little-seen action hour and will begin airing them in April. The show, a reimagining of the classic pre-Harry Potter wizard tale, was first brought to NBC as part of former chief Ben Silverman’s attempt to internationalize the network.

While NBC got the show relatively cheaply — it’s an international co-production — its ratings didn’t justify even a reduced price tag. The series has done better in other countries, however, allowing producer FremantleMedia to continue making episodes for more seasons.

Syfy has bought both the repeats of season one, as well as 13 new-to-the-U.S. episodes. A third season is also being produced, but Syfy hasn’t yet bought those episodes.