Syndie Shows See Uptick

Syndication ad revenues for 2003 will be up 2.5% percent over 2002, according to CMR/TNS's annual Media Intelligence forecast.

"Top-tier syndicated shows are mostly sold out for second quarter," says Annette Cerbone, SVP/director, national broadcast, Universal McCann, "although spots are available for second- and third-tier programming." Daytime sales are flat.

Second-quarter scatter is pretty much done, agrees Bob Cesa, EVP, barter and cable sales, Twentieth Television. "As for third quarter, we've sold more than half of what we had left after the upfront."

Cesa and his SNTA partners are delighted with their first New York City event, held last month. "One benchmark: At NATPE, we saw 100 to 250 clients," he says. "Here, we saw at least 600."

Despite the ongoing popularity of Wheel of Fortune
and Jeopardy, there are no new game shows for syndication in 2003, largely because demos skew old. Howard Nass, partner, Nass-Hitzig Media Services, and long-time local broadcast exec at TN Media, offers a thought.

"O&Os pay vast sums of money for syndicated properties," he says. "Why not have one network test their own syndicated show for summer, stripped Monday-Friday in the 8-8:30 time period? All you really need is a staff of writers and producers who can connect with today's young generation and, if it works, you have a program for your O&Os and the potential to make good money in syndication. Game shows are cost-effective and meet all the standards of family viewing advertisers want and seek out."