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Jury Duty Crosses Borders

America’s brand of daytime TV justice could soon get some international flavor.

Independent producer Radar Entertainment is in advanced negotiations to sell the format for its new fall 2007 syndicated series Jury Duty to broadcasters in at least three international territories. They would produce their own foreign-language versions of the court show, which has a trio of celebrities deciding litigants’ cases.
Radar Principal Vincent Dymon declines to identify the territories but says he will disclose them after the contracts are signed in July.Jury Duty would become the only court show to license its format outside of the U.S., according to Dymon. Buyers would be able to produce versions with local cases, celebrity jurors and a well-known judge along the lines of attorney Bruce Cutler. The New York lawyer famous for defending mob boss John Gotti will preside over the American edition.Radar was able to interest foreign buyers in Jury Duty because it differs from other personality-driven court shows like Judge Judy, which are dubbed into other languages. Meanwhile, Radar is seeking a cable network to give it an additional platform as station clearances for the show have surpassed 75% of the U.S. It has rounded out the top 10 markets with the recent additions of KCAL Los Angeles, KTXA Dallas and WUPA Atlanta. The momentum, which should provide a boost to Trifecta Media’s national barter sales efforts, comes as Dymon has waged an uphill battle to gain clearances for Jury Duty.Aside from the usual difficulties in launching a show, Dymon last November filed a Los Angeles Superior Court suit against Warner Bros., alleging it stole his idea for a daily, first-run court show featuring a celebrity jury.Warner Bros. subsequently pulled Telepictures’ Celebrity Jury off the market after it received a lukewarm greeting from stations (B&C, Feb. 26).