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84% of U.S. to Learn Wizard’s First Rule

Disney-ABC’s new one-hour science-fiction series, Wizard’s First Rule, is cleared for fall 2008 in 84% of the country and all of the top 50 markets, the company said last week.

“To have reached over 84% coverage in less than six weeks is true testament to this concept, the show's creative team and the appetite for network-quality, scripted programming in broadcast syndication,” said Jed Cohen, executive vice president and general sales manager for Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

Besides its launch group, Tribune Broadcasting, Disney-ABC also cleared the show for weekend airings on stations from the CBS Television Stations Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Hearst-Argyle Television, Clear Channel Broadcasting, Gannett Broadcasting, Hubbard Broadcasting, Post-Newsweek Stations, Scripps Howard Broadcasting, Belo, LIN TV, Weigel Broadcasting, Sunbelt Communications, Acme Television and Barrington Broadcasting.

Wizard’s First Rule, based on the best-selling Sword of Truth series of books by Terry Goodkind, is the first hour-long adventure drama to come exclusively to syndication since Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules ruled the genre in the late 1990s.

The same team that brought Xena and Hercules to syndication is behind Wizard’s First Rule, with Spiderman’s Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert (The Grudge), Joshua Donen (The Quick and the Dead) and Ned Nalle serving as executive producers.

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.