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Fox Banks on Tyra

Tyra Banks moved another step closer to her new turn as talk-show host Monday when Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution unveiled a deal with the Fox Television Station group to carry her Tyra Banks Show next fall.

The pact, announced the night before the National Association of Television Program Executives convention kicked off in Las Vegas, calls for 19 of Fox's 25 UPN and Fox stations to air the show.

Fox said Banks will appear on its stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, St. Louis, Cleveland, Orlando, Baltimore, Birmingham, Memphis, Greensboro and Austin.

But the company did not specify whether it would be the UPN or Fox affiliate in duopoly markets, including number one market, New York.

Fox plans afternoon slots for the show, but stations will have the flexibility to schedule Banks based on their needs, according to Lachlan Murdoch, chairman of Fox's station group. 

In picking up Banks, Fox may have put one of its sister companies' projects in question. Fox's Twentieth Television is shopping another talk show with Suze Orman. The Fox Station group is usually Twentieth's best customer. Murdoch would not comment on Orman's show, but said the stations "have a responsibility to take the show we think will work best."
The Tyra Banks Show is geared to women 18-49 and will blend women's issues and lighter celebrity interviews. Banks has tested the TV waters with monthly spots on Oprah for two seasons and hosting her hit UPN reality show America's Next Top Model.

Warner Bros. says it has now cleared the show in 70% of the country and in all top 50 markets. Jim Paratore, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution EVP and President of Telepictures, said he expects the show to top 90% clearance by  fall.

Murdoch is clearly a fan, calling Banks "incredibly dedicated and incredibly talented." In her presentation tape, he said, Banks "interviewed people and really got under their skin. She actually touched her guests." 

When the supermodel came in to pitch Fox executives herself, it helped seal the deal.

Banks will likely tape two shows a day over two or three days, although Paratore said the show may occasionally air live.