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Roth: No New Shows Making Splashes

The fall TV season has started, and there’s not a breakout hit in sight, said Peter Roth, president of Warner Bros. Television, in Los Angeles Tuesday at the Museum of Television and Radio’s first luncheon in a new series.

"A show has got to be worth the viewer’s while," Roth said. "What is breaking out this year? Nothing. A show has got to be different and distinctive."

Roth excluded from that observation Fox’s new young-adult soap, The O.C.
, which opened in August and built to big audiences.

He credited that show’s success to Sandy Grushow, Fox Television Entertainment Group chairman, and Gail Berman, president of Fox Entertainment, who decided to double- and triple-run The O.C.
during the slow summer months, helping it to find and keep an audience.

"I’m all for the multiplay. I’m all for multiplexing," Roth said, using examples of other WBTV shows, such as The WB Television Network’s One Tree Hill
and Tarzan
, which seem to be benefiting from multiple exposures each week. "There’s so much clutter that in order to break through, sometimes it takes more than just a show’s appointed time slot," Roth said.

In that light, Fox this week is airing a marathon of The O.C.
in prime time, depending upon whether a Major League Baseball game is airing that night. The O.C.
returns to Fox’s schedule Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 9 p.m., during what will largely serve as the network’s premiere week.

Roth also said he supports Fox’s strategy of year-round development: "We’re actually saying to some of our network clients that we would love to do this for you in the summer," he added.

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. 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.