CBS Television Distribution has sold its new first-run dating strip Excused to stations covering more than half the country, the syndicator said Wednesday (Jan. 19).
"Excused is a fresh take on a dating show that will mine the comedy that traditionally comes with relationships," said Joe DiSalvo, CTD's president of sales. "Stations saw this strip as an opportunity to counterprogram and give viewers an alternative to off-network sitcoms."
In the top three markets, Excused is cleared on Fox's WWOR New York, CBS' KCAL Los Angeles and Weigel's WCIU Chicago. Other station groups signing on include Sinclair, Sunbeam, Local TV, Cox, Meredith, Tribune, Post-Newsweek, New Age, Titan, Griffin and Sun.
The show is being sold to stations on a cash plus barter basis into late fringe and access time periods to launch next fall.
Excused is now the third first-run show to be sold for fall, joining Warner Bros.' Anderson and Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle. The market is still waiting to hear if CTD will clear The Lawyers, from The Doctors' executive producer Jay McGraw, for next fall.
Excused will be produced by Renegade 83 Entertainment, best known for its hit syndicated dating show Blind Date, and executive produced by David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe. The show will be hosted by Iliza Shlesinger, who won the sixth season of NBC's Last Comic Standing, and each episode will start with a group of men competing for the affections of two women or vice versa. Once the two women have eliminated the group of men down to one, the final man standing will have the opportunity to select the woman he wants to date.
The show marks syndication's return to the dating genre, which was one of syndication's most popular in the early 2000s. Blind Date was the most successful show of that genre, which had fizzled by 2006 when Blind Date and Elimidate exited syndication.
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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.