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Gimme the Mike! to Belo, Cox

Belo and Cox have picked up Post-Newsweek's local-talent-show franchise, Gimme The Mike!, which is set to debut next spring in syndication.

Post-Newsweek (with help from NBC Enterprises) is selling the show for barter time (two :30s per episode) and has lined up a national sponsor for the program: General Motors. Among the Cox stations that will air the show (which is tailored to each local market) are KTVU-TV San Francisco, WSB-TV Atlanta and WPXI-TV Pittsburgh. Belo stations taking the show: KING-TV Seattle, WWL-TV New Orleans and KTVK-TV Phoenix. Most of the Post-Newsweek stations will air the show as well.

Post-Newsweek decided to sell the franchisee the format rights—the show is essentially a talent contest like American Idol—after launching the show earlier this year in at its Jacksonville, Fla., Houston and Miami stations. It got good ratings and lots of local ad support in those places.

Bell South, for example, sponsored the Miami version and will return in the spring, probably with a product-placement deal, says Alan Frank, president, Post-Newsweek Stations. Saturn dealers in Houston are also doing a product placement, including providing a car as grand prize.

"The sales people love this," said Frank. "The opportunities to sell this creatively are almost endless." Post-Newsweek has established a national office that will help stations set up local versions of the show, helping them with everything from how to run auditions, and select candidates and judges to working on music clearances, he says.