Wrigley Media Group, founded by Wrigley Media owner Misdee Wrigley Miller, will launch its first show into broadcast syndication this fall: half-hour court strip Relative Justice, starring Judge Rhonda Wills.
The show is cleared in 75% of the U.S., including in the top 43 of the top 50 markets, on the CBS, Sinclair, Nexstar, Scripps, Tegna, Weigel and Gray station groups. It had been slated to launch in fall 2020 but, like so many other shows, was pushed back due to the pandemic.
Judge Rhonda Wills currently practices law in Los Angeles but is also licensed to practice in Texas and New York. She previously appeared on WE tv’s Sisters in Law and also has appeared as a legal contributor for such outlets as CNN. The show will focus on mediating conflicts between family members, hence the title.
When the show launches this fall, it will have 150 episodes in the can, all shot this spring and summer at Wrigley’s new media facility — a refurbished 10-theater movie complex in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky. Wrigley Miller, who also owns and breeds horses, calls Lexington home. Wrigley Media Group is taking advantage of a tax incentive in the state, known as the Kentucky Film Incentive, to build out the studio and produce shows.
Litigants will join Judge Wills and a small gallery in the Lexington studio, with everyone observing appropriate COVID-19 protocols.
By the time Relative Justice launches in September, most of the country should be vaccinated and the pandemic fading, so the show decided to make the extra effort to produce the program as if the pandemic was behind them.
Besides Relative Justice, Wrigley Media Group is developing, producing and selling other shows to other platforms. Wrigley chief content officer and Relative Justice executive producer Ross Babbit spent many years developing and producing lifestyle shows for such outlets as DIY, HGTV and Travel, and Wrigley produces such programs as Escape to the Chateau and You Live in What? for HGTV.
Wrigley Media Group is entering syndication because it’s a space where the company can own the content. “It’s a long-range play of having content we can own as well as being work-for-hire for a cable outlet,” Babbit said.
Court also can be produced relatively efficiently, giving it a low barrier to entry. And there’s some room to enter the syndicated court genre right now, with Judge Judy going out of production after this season and into repeats on stations, and MGM/Orion’s court shows out of production and airing in repeats.
Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.
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