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B&C Eye

Becker backers

Paramount TV Group syndication executives are gauging major- station-group interest in off-net runs of sitcom, Becker,
which sources say the studio plans to launch in syndication in 2003.

Paramount executives have told station managers that they hope to go to market with the show before the end of the year but they want to do so with a major launch group in hand.

Speculation is, that group would be either Fox or Tribune, with the odds favoring Fox if a deal can be struck. What about Paramount's own co-owned Viacom station group, which includes 38 CBS and UPN affiliates? Sources say it does not have enough available time periods.—J.S.


The November sweeps have taken their toll on two first-run syndicated shows. Tribune Entertainment has canceled new talk/relationship series Talk or Walk
after 10 weeks, and Twentieth has pulled the plug on sophomore court series Power of Attorney. Talk or Walk
had been struggling, averaging a 0.7 national rating, and Power of Attorney,
with an average 1.8 rating in its second season, is down 25% from last year at this time, according to Nielsen. Talk or Walk,
hosted by author/

relationship expert Michael Baisden, had couples who were at an "impasse" discuss whether they should remain together. A Tribune Entertainment spokesman called Talk or Walk
"a unique concept that didn't perform at satisfactory levels." Twentieth executives said Power of Attorney, which featured some big-name attorneys doing battle, will continue to air episodes until Jan. 4. Talk or Walk
ends Jan. 25. —J.S.

Let's not go to the videotape

In the wake of Sept. 11, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has backed off from efforts to force NBC to turn over a videotape that allegedly shows Jack Welch, retired CEO of NBC parent company GE, trying to influence last year's presidential-election coverage. Waxman's last correspondence with NBC was Sept. 10, when he sent NBC President Andrew Lack a letter filled with questions about the course of events at NBC on election night. NBC has chosen not to respond. Phil Schiliro, Waxman's spokesman, says the Congressman hasn't dropped the issue entirely but has no plans to resume his investigations.—P.A.

You copy

Some members of Congress, particularly Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) and Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), are trying to light a fire under movie studios, consumer electronics manufacturers and technology companies on the issue of a copy-protection standard for digital content. Studios want a standard that protects against copying digital TV programs to the Internet, while tech types want a standard that doesn't proscribe the kind of copying that drove sales of VCRs.

Feeling the heat from the Hill, the Consumer Electronics Association and the Information Technology Industry Council asked the opposite camp, the Motion Picture Association of America, to support a consortium of representatives from interested companies to "address the issue on an expedited basis." The reply: MPAA is "pleased that the CE and IT communities are interested in resolving the remaining questions on this issue, but, without a hard deadline, this matter could go on forever." No word yet on whether the other side would agree to such a deadline.—P.A.