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NBC Enterprises and MGM Worldwide Television Group, a unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (NYSE: MGM), jointly announced today that the companies have entered into a unique production and distribution agreement for “She Spies” (formerly known as “B.A.I.T.”), a new action-drama series which will have a four episode “sneak peak” as part of NBC’s summer primetime schedule prior to a fall launch in first-run syndication. Film star Natasha Henstridge has been signed to play the lead in the first-run action-adventure series. In addition, Craig W. Van Sickle and Steven Long Mitchell, executive producers of NBC’s critically acclaimed drama series “The Pretender,” have written the premiere episode and will serve as executive producers for “She Spies.”

Under terms of the agreement, MGM will produce 20 episodes of the series and will also handle U.S. distribution of the show, which already includes the country’s NBC-owned stations as well as most Hearst-Argyle stations, for coverage totaling more than 50 percent of the country. As part of the companies’ unique arrangement aimed at introducing the series to millions of viewers, the first four episodes of “She Spies” will air on the NBC Television Network as part of its summer primetime schedule.

“This deal creates an excellent opportunity for stations to have a first-run series that brings network exposure and an impressive cast to the syndication marketplace,” said Ed Wilson, President, NBC Enterprises. “We are pleased to provide stations the strength of a major network launch for ‘She Spies’ and will continue to look for ways to offer them competitive advantages in today’s marketplace.”

Hank Cohen, President, MGM Television Entertainment commented: “Working closely with NBC, the proven writer/producers Van Sickle and Mitchell, and our talented star Natasha Henstridge, we’ve come up with a formula for an adrenaline-filled hour that brings the high standards of primetime network television to a first-run syndicated series. Both stylish and gritty, ‘She Spies’ continues MGM’s tradition of high quality television and further advances our impressive track record within the one-hour weekly first-run action genre.”

Added Jim Griffiths, President MGM Worldwide Television Distribution: “While the industry at large seems to be undergoing a slowdown in the production of innovative first-run hours, we embrace this opportunity to buck that trend with a new business model for success. Our arrangement with NBC effectively captures MGM’s and NBC’s sheer resolve to continually explore and capitalize on innovative opportunities within the ever-changing television landscape.”

”We are excited about getting started on this new venture, especially now that Natasha Henstridge has been set to star,” said Mitchell. Added partner Craig Van Sickle, “We are looking forward to working with NBC and MGM on this new business model for production. Creatively, we can do so much with the show, knowing right off the bat that it’s going to be around for a full season.”

NBC Agency President, Vince Manze, who will also serve as executive producer of the series, added, “Natasha embodies all the qualities of a great action star. Her talents and instincts have inspired convincing portrayals of a multitude of characters beginning with her film debut in ‘Species’ to now playing a former con artist in ‘She Spies.’ We are very fortunate to have landed Natasha for this role.”

Originally from Newfoundland, Canada and raised in Alberta, Canada, Henstridge first worked as a model in Paris and graced the covers of many fashion magazines before her first film role in the 1995 science fiction hit “Species” where she portrayed the human-alien clone, Sil. The multi-faceted Henstridge starred in the comedy, “The Whole Nine Yards” (with Matthew Perry, Bruce Willis and Michael Clarke Duncan) and has also appeared alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck in the romantic drama “Bounce.”

MGM is in collaboration with NBC to produce 20 episodes of the weekly action hour that follows the exploits of a trio of formidable and beautiful female ex cons recruited by a clandestine Federal organization to combat crime. “She Spies” will be written by Craig Van Sickle and Steven Mitchell (“The Pretender”). NBC’s Vince Manze and Joe Livecchi will serve as executive producers.