No Rest for Twentieth

Summer is in full swing, and, while most of Hollywood is on vacation, Twentieth Television is preparing to launch two shows in as many as 25 of Fox's markets.

Both Classmates
and Ambush Makeover
launch today on Fox owned-and-operated stations. Classmates
starts in 25 markets, with clearances in a variety of dayparts. Ambush Makeover
is in 20 markets, with daytime clearances from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The syndicator plans to keep both shows in test mode for a while and doesn't know when it might take them national, as it has done with Good Day Live
and Ex-Treme Dating.

"We are producing 13 weeks of both shows, and I would like to think that, at the end of that run, we'll have an answer," says Twentieth President and COO Bob Cook. "It's never clear-cut. A show might be going through the roof in some markets and not doing so well in others."

Twentieth will launch Live With Ryan Seacrest
in January, so, if the syndicator chooses to take Classmates
and Ambush Makeover
national around that time, it will have its hands full.

In general, Twentieth's hands are fuller than they were. Counting Seacrest, Classmates
and Ambush, the syndicator has seven first-run shows, vs. just two—Divorce Court
and Texas Justice
—two years ago. And it could have an eighth on tap for winter, says Robb Dalton, president of programming and production.

"We're not afraid to have 12 first-runs on the air," says Dalton, who also runs Twentieth's new Fox Labs, a development pod charged with coming up with new shows.

"There's a lot of demand," Cook says. "The Fox O&Os have a lot of needs."

Ian Ziering, formerly of Fox's Beverly Hills 90210, will be the voiceover host of Classmates. With 64 segments under its belt, Classmates
has already shot spots in 32 of the 50 states, two segments comprising a show.

The "stars" of Ambush Makeover are the six stylists who run up to people in cities all over the country and persuade them to submit to a major makeover. Seventy segments are in the can, enough for 35 episodes.

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for more than 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for The Global Entertainment Marketing Academy of Arts & Sciences (G.E.M.A.). 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.