Hot “Strip” Syndication Offerings at NATPE
by Cathy Corcoran
This year’s NATPE convention is chock full of new “strip” program offerings that are generating buzz from buyers and sellers alike.
A number of shows are in development for first-run syndication in the Monday through Friday Access strip.
Celebrity Name Game from Debmar-Mercury and FremantleMedia Enterprises features host Craig Ferguson, leading celebrities and contestants in identifying actors, singers, athletes, and other celebrities. Courtney Cox and David Arquette (Coquette Productions) are executive producers of the 30-minute show, which has cleared with stations in New York, LA, Chicago and stations covering 40% of the US.
Meredith Viera‘s 60-minute talk show from NBCUniversal features the TV veteran who enjoyed long-running stints on The Today Show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and The View. The New York Daily News says that the show has cleared with stations in more than 60% of US markets.
The Real, sometimes called “a multicultural version of ‘The View,’” is another 60-minute talk show, this one hosted by Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley. Offered by Warner Brothers, The Real aired on seven Fox stations in 2013, including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and others.
Bill Carroll, VP and Director of Programming for Katz TV says that several advice-oriented 60-minute talk shows are also in development. These include:
The Balancing Act from Telco Productions Inc., starring former Entertainment Tonight correspondent Julie Moran, which offers tips on fitness, business, family and cooking; Emotional Mojo from Mojo Brands Media, producers of The Daily Buzz, features a panel of experts who offer viewers a psychological approach to personal development with life coaching and daily inspiration; and Intelligence for your Life from Tesh Media Group, starring John Tesh, which offers advice on money, health, relationships and work-related issues.
Three new 30-minute courtroom shows are on offer. Hot Bench was created by Judith Sheindlin (“Judge Judy”) and is distributed by CBS Television Distribution. The show features courtroom cases that are decided by a panel of three real-life judges. Judge Faith, from Trifecta Entertainment, stars Faith Jenkins, an attorney, former New York City criminal prosecutor, and CNN legal commentator. Justice with Judge Mabelean from Entertainment Studios Inc., features Mablean Ephriam, who presided as the judge on “Divorce Court” from 1999-2006.
Other talk shows include Bethenny, a 60-minute talk show from Warner Brothers, that began airing in September 2013 on Fox O & O stations. The host is former Real Housewives star and Skinny Girl Cocktails mogul Bethenny Frankel.
Interactivity between broadcast and “second screens” continues, with new shows actively engaging with viewers via social media and Skpye. The Social a 60-minute talk show from PPI Releasing, features four female hosts with lifestyle topics and issues drawn from the day's headlines. Viewers are invited to participate through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The show has been airing on CTV, Canada’s largest private broadcaster.
Let’s Ask America, is a daily 20-minute trivia game show currently broadcasting in 15 markets and played by viewers at home on Skpye.
The show is produced by Scripps TV, Telepictures and paraMedia inc. and distributed domestically by MGM.
Carroll says that these shows are relatively inexpensive to produce and are targeted to appeal to coveted younger demographics.
Carroll says there has been talk of consolidation in the TV marketplace for years. “People say that with acquisitions of smaller station groups to form super groups, there are fewer real buyers and fewer opportunities for new sellers to crack the marketplace.”
He adds, “That’s partially true, but in the past few years, we’re also seeing the emergence of new programming produced by station groups.” These shows are typically less expensive to produce, and let station groups control their own destiny with programming. Over the past several years, we’re seeing these programs come to the syndication market as well.”
Raycom Media, a regional TV network with stations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, has partnered with production house Bellum Entertainment to produce two 30-minute strip shows available this year for syndication. Fix It & Finish It stars daytime drama star Antonio Sabato, Jr. working with designers and carpenters to orchestrate makeovers on homes, cabins and RVs. Flip My Food with Chef Jeff features chef Jeff Henderson demonstrating how to “flip” viewers’ favorite dishes from calorie-laden diet-busters into healthier meals.
CBS Television Distribution is partnering with Tribune Broadcasting on Serch, a 60-minute “conflict resolution” talk show starring rapper MC Serch, former member of the rap group rap group 3rd Bass. The show is airing on Tribune stations in eight markets during January, 2014.
Carroll recalls the old days when such shows as Oprah, Phil Donahue, Sally Jessie Raphael and PM Magazine had their roots in local TV, and then evolved to syndication. “It will be interesting to see how this trend continues in the coming years,” he says.