Warner Finds Homes For Sharon and Ellen

With firm station deals in hand for The Ellen Degeneres Show
and The Sharon Osbourne Show, Warner Bros. Domestic Television and its Telepictures production arm have emerged the big winners in the syndication derby leading up to NATPE in New Orleans next week.

The syndicator last week said the 14 NBC owned-and-operated stations next fall will air Ellen, its new one-hour talker, and the Tribune stations will pick up Sharon, also one hour of talk.

"Ellen is an amazing talent," said Jim Paratore, executive vice president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television and president of Telepictures Productions. "The talk and variety segments that we're going to produce will appeal to the core young upscale female. It's the same for them in prime time, so Ellen is very consistent with NBC's brand."

The NBC deal clears Ellen
is 30% of the country. The NBC stations are in New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Dallas-Fort Worth; Washington; Miami; San Diego; Hartford, Conn.; Raleigh, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Birmingham, Ala.; and Providence, R.I.

Besides the NBC O&Os, Warner Bros. said, it also has cleared Ellen
on stations from the Meredith, LIN and Belo station groups,
guaranteeing carriage in more than 50 markets.

NBC's deal for Ellen
makes it tough for Universal Domestic Television to clear its new talker, Fergie. At the moment there are no more network O&Os with slots to fill in daytime. But Universal says it is going full-steam ahead with its new show. "We are absolutely as enthusiastic and confident in this project and Fergie
as a talent as we ever were," said a Universal spokesman. "And without going into too much detail, so are the station group people we've spoken to."

NBC also has The Other Half, The John Walsh Show
and Starting Over
for daytime next fall, although The Other Half
has not yet been renewed for next year. Last month, NBC canceled Paramount's Life Moments
in some markets and gave those slots to The Other Half
. Renewal is dependent on the show's ratings performance in its new slots, NBC said.

The John Walsh Show
already has been renewed on the NBC stations and by the Hearst-Argyle stations. Ratings for the show are improving but have yet to move higher than a 1.4 national average.

While Telepictures is celebrating the pick-up of its two new shows, it also is likely waving good-bye to The Caroline Rhea Show. The talk show, which was meant to be a replacement for The Rosie O'Donnell Show, never got going after the ABC-owned stations opted for Buena Vista's The Wayne Brady Show
and forced Caroline
into late-night time-slots in many big markets.

Tribune began negotiating a deal with Warner Bros. and Telepictures for Sharon
almost from the moment word leaked that the Osbournes matriarch would be hosting a talk show. Tribune has cleared the show on all of its stations, covering more than 40% of the country.

"We couldn't be more excited than to have Sharon Osbourne on our stations starting this fall," said Pat Mullen, new president of Tribune Television. "Not only do we think that this will be one of the most highly anticipated new shows, we also believe that Sharon's wide-ranging appeal will be a perfect complement to our programming line-up."

Tribune's cancellation late last week of Tribune Entertainment's Beyond With James Van Praagh
opens up slots for Sharon Osbourne
on Tribune's schedule. That also gives other established shows, such as Telepictures'Jenny Jones, a better shot at renewal.

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.