The CBS Owned Television Stations have picked up Sony's Queen
Latifah for fall 2013 in most of its markets, a spokesman confirmed Monday
The show will be hosted by Queen Latifah and executive
produced by Latifah and Shakim Compere of Flavor Unit Entertainment, and Will
Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and James Lassiter's Overbrook Entertainment. Corin
Nelson, who last produced Sony's Nate Berkus, will serve as showrunner.
The acquisition marks the first that the CBS Owned Stations
have picked up a first-run show not produced by its own syndicator, CBS
Television Distribution. Notably, JohnNogawski, CTD president, and AaronMeyerson, CTD's president of programming and distribution, both exited the
division in the last month.
Industry speculation had the show going to the NBC Owned
Stations, which currently airs CTD's struggling Jeff Probst. However,
NBC's contract with CTD is understood to be two years, making it difficult for
NBC to cancel Probst and pick up Latifah. NBC is having success
with its new first-run show, Steve Harvey, and many thought that pairing
Latifah with Harvey, instead of Probst, made sense for
CBS also now has the ability to serve as a launch group for
new syndicated shows, after last year acquiring Long Island-based WLNY, which
serves the New York City market. Although CBS' main stations in large markets
have booked their syndicated product offerings out for years, WLNY has plenty
of space. Due to that, CBS has become a bit of a spoiler in the syndication
world, surprising the industry with acquisitions such as today's Latfiah
announcement. Earlier this year, CBSpicked up 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly from Warner Bros.,
winning those shows over bids from both Tribune and Fox.
Also in the pipeline for next fall is Warner Bros.' Bethenny,
starring Real Housewife and Skinnygirl Bethenny Frankel, which has been
acquired by the Fox Owned Television Stations. CTD is shopping a food-focused
talker starring Bobby Flay and Giada di Laurentiis and executive produced by
Shane Farley. In late-night, CTD also plans to launch Arseno, with Tribune as
the launch group. And Twentieth is hoping to test a talker next summer
featuring Kardashian mom Kris Jenner.
Deadline.com first reported the story.
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