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Croce Will Make House Calls for Sony

He's not Dr. Phil, but he just might be driving up in a luxury motorhome, moving into your house and helping you find solutions to problems.

Sony Pictures Television is rolling out a half-hour syndicated strip titled Pat Croce: Moving In
for fall 2004, featuring the inspirational speaker, life coach and best-selling author. For the show, Croce's production team will set up a family's home with cameras and tape their activities for several days. Croce will review the tapes, diagnose the family's life issues, and actually move in to coach the family.

"What distinguishes Pat Croce is the fact that he's very positive and has energy and passion and expertise at what's doing," says John Weiser, executive vice president at Sony Pictures Television. "We are breaking into a new genre here. We're a half-hour format that is completely field-based. We will go into the homes of families that are in need from across the country and observe them in their environment."

Croce's inspirational speeches attract Fortune 500 companies, some of which have hired him to coach their employees. He opened his Sports Physical Therapists practice in Philadelphia in 1984, expanding to 40 centers in 11 states. After selling the company in 1993, he became part-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers in partnership with Comcast, serving as team president from 1996 through 2001. He remains on the team's board of directors.

Sony has shot a pilot of the show and is starting its sales effort. Croce hosts and "coaches"; Barry Josephson and Arthur Smith will produce.

Sony also is selling Life & Style, a show featuring four women—Jules Asner, Cynthia Garrett, Lynne Koplitz and Kimora Lee Simmons—in a younger version of ABC's The View. And it's still is trying to put together TV show/business model eBayTV, but the project has yet to secure a launch group of stations, which seems to have stalled the effort.

With Universal about to be swallowed up by NBC, Sony and Warner Bros. are the two remaining studios without a major station group under their corporate umbrella. That fact has made launching new shows more difficult for the two syndicators, although not impossible as indicated by the debuts of this year's The Ellen DeGeneres Show
and The Sharon Osbourne Show.

Sony didn't premiere a first-run show this year, although it did have off-net sitcom King of Queens, off-cable half-hour strip Ripley's Believe It or Not
and weekly hour Walker, Texas Ranger. Last year, Sony launched game show Pyramid, which is chugging along in its second season. The studio also has Ricki Lake, now in its 11th season, and No. 1 off-net sitcom Seinfeld,
and it produces the top two game shows, Wheel of Fortune
and Jeopardy.

Paige Albiniak
Paige Albiniak

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.