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MGMs new Lysistrata?

MGM executives have declared Sex Wars is on. The syndicated half-hour series has been cleared in more than 75% of the country for the fall and is a firm go for the 2000-01 season. MGM executives last week also renewed freshman newsmagazine National Enquirer for a second year; currently, it shows up in 70% of the country.

Sex Wars, dubbed a combo game show and relationship series, has been cleared in 22 of the top 25 markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. It will debut on WCBS-TV New York, KCAL-TV Los Angeles and WCIU-TV Chicago. Other stations signed on include Fox-owned stations in Dallas, Boston, Washington, Detroit, Atlanta and Houston. It's sold on a 3.5/3.5 barter arrangement.

"We have a lot of confidence in this show, and we are extremely pleased that we are getting a lot of afternoon and late-fringe time slots," says Jim Griffiths, president of MGM Worldwide Television Distribution. "We think this show has a great opportunity to find an audience in late afternoon and become a longtime fixture to the daytime audience." The show is hosted by JD Roth and Jennifer Cole.

National Enquirer was renewed in major markets, including New York and Los Angeles. The series ripped from the headlines of the famed tabloid publication will be back on WNYW-TV New York and KCAL-TV Los Angeles for the 2000-01 season. Griffiths says he is close to a deal in Chicago.

In other syndication news, Twentieth Television has sold off-network weekend clearances of The Practice in 80% of the U.S. for a fall 2001 launch. Clearances for The Practice include ABC-owned stations in Los Angeles (kabc-tv), Philadelphia (wpvi-tv), Houston (ktrk-tv) and Raleigh, N.C., (wtvd-tv). Among other stations signed on are WCVB-TV Boston, WPAE-TV Pittsburgh and WFAA-TV Dallas.