Syndicators Spread Out But Still Attracted Buyers

Syndicators, the major ones anyway, were in hotel suites all over town last week during the NATPE convention—mainly, it seemed, filling holes in their distribution efforts. Almost every major syndicator had deals to announce, after spending two days holding meetings with clients from all over the country.

By buzz alone, the show belonged to Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, which gained further clearances for its two new talkers, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
and The Sharon Osbourne Show. Warner Bros. has cleared DeGeneres
in more than 78% of the country and sold Osbourne
in more than 67% of the country, according to Jim Paratore, executive vice president of Warner Bros. Domestic and president of Telepictures Productions.

It's possible that DeGeneres
could end up being repurposed on a cable network in a late-night slot, a Warner Bros. executive said. During a brief NATPE appearance, DeGeneres joked about the language of the business, and quipped, "I might be 'repurposed.' I hope I'm 'repaid.'"

Clearances for DeGeneres
include Sunbeam's WHDH-TV Boston, Meredith's WGCL-TV Atlanta and KPHO-TV Phoenix, Viacom's WKBD(TV)/ WWJ-TV Detroit, Belo's KING-TV Seattle, Hubbard's KSTP-TV Minneapolis, Gannett' s KUSA-TV Denver, Cox's WPXI(TV) Pittsburgh, Belo's KGW(TV) Portland, Ore., and LIN's WISH-TV Indianapolis. Warner Bros. had already cleared the show on the NBC owned-and-operated stations.

Clearances for Osbourne
include Cox's KTVU(TV) San Francisco; Bahakel's WCCB(TV) Charlotte, N.C.; Pappas's WASV-TV Asheville, N.C.; Media General's WJWB-TV Jacksonville, Fla.; and Four Seasons' KTUD-TV Las Vegas.

Both shows have been cleared on The WB 100+, a cable-delivered feed that goes out to affiliated stations in markets 100 and higher. The WB 100+ is owned by a coalition of The WB Network, broadcasters and cable operators.

Suite of Kings

From its perch atop the Windsor Court hotel in New Orleans, King World increased first-year clearances for morning talk show Living It Up! With Ali and Jack. The distributor also continued to renew Dr. Phil
at a record pace.

Living It Up!
is now sold in more than 75% of the country for a fall 2003 launch. Clearances include Belo's KMOV-TV St. Louis; Meredith's WFSB-TV Hartford, Conn.; WSMV-TV Nashville, Tenn.; Spartan's WSPA-TV Greenville, S.C.; Raycom's WSTM-TV Syracuse, N.Y., and WMC-TV Memphis, Tenn.; WISH-TV Indianapolis; and Freedom's WLNE-TV Providence, R.I. Dr. Phil
has been renewed in more than 70% of the country and has also been upgraded to access, prime time and fringe time slots.

Sony Pictures Television's eBay TV
has been cleared on most of Raycom's 32 stations for a fall 2003 launch, a spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday. That adds to the show's mostly daytime clearances on stations in the Viacom, Gannett, Belo, Clear Channel, Pegasus, and Media General groups.

Sony also has had some success clearing its off-net strip Ripley's Believe It or Not, which currently runs on TBS Superstation. The show is cleared in 65% of the country.

Sony game show Pyramid
has been renewed for a second season, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Very BradyBuena Vista

Buena Vista Television gained some clearances for The Wayne Brady Show, selling it on KARE-TV Minneapolis and WPXI(TV) Pittsburgh for fall 2003. Wayne Brady
was rolled out slowly this year and is being sold for a national launch in the fall.

The talk/variety show has been renewed for a second season on Raycom's WOIO-TV Cleveland. It was already renewed on the ABC owned-and-operated stations for season two. BVT game show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire
has been renewed for another season in 60% of the country.

NBC Enterprises said it has cleared reality strip Starting Over
and renewed talker The John Walsh Show
in more than 60% of the country. Specific clearances weren't available at press time. Starting Over
will launch next year with its first group of women in a house in Chicago for the first 20 weeks and then moving to another city for the second 20 weeks.

Although Universal Domestic Television didn't have a clearance announcement, the syndicator says its talk show Fergie
will be on the air next year, though most likely launched in midseason. Once NBC agreed to carry DeGeneres, Universal pushed back its plans for Fergie, but it expects cancellations to open space for the show next year.

Universal is bringing back all its first-run strips: Maury, The Jerry Springer Show, Blind Date, The Fifth Wheel
and Crossing Over With John Edward. Maury
and Springer have been re-upped through 2005; the rest are one-year deals.

Twentieth Television renewed Divorce Court, Texas Justice and Cops for two more years and cleared Ex-Treme Dating on enough stations to launch it this June.

In off-net business, Paramount Domestic Television cleared its sitcom The Parkers
in 60% of the country, according to President John Nogawski. The show will air next fall on Fox's owned-and-operated stations in the top 10 markets.

In addition, The Parkers
is cleared on Weigel Broadcasting stations, including WCIU-TV Chicago; the Viacom Station Group; and WBDC-TV Washington. Paramount this month also signed an agreement for Viacom-owned BET to air the show. The Parkers
airs on UPN Mondays at 8 p.m. ET as part of that network's successful urban-comedy block. It is produced by Saradipity Productions in association with Viacom's Big Ticket Television.

Sony Pictures Television has cleared Yes, Dear
for next fall in 85% of the country. And Litton Syndications has cleared late-night strip Ask Rita
in 50% of the country.

Paige Albiniak

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.