I reported months ago that Sony Television, which has had considerable success hawking the syndicated talk show starring Oprah discovery Dr. Oz, was going to pimp still another Harpo discovery, Chicago designer and decorator Nate Berkus. Well, now it’s sold. A deal was concluded late last night between Sony TV and NBC Universal that will put the The Nate Berkus Show on NBC O&O’s [owned and operated] TV stations in major markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago. Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, San Diego, Miami and Hartford. It’s a comfortable base for the new syndicated strip series, and similar to the way that the ABC O&O’s form the backbone for Oprah’s own syndicated program. It’s also something of a consolation prize for Sony TV which was desperate to replace CBS as the syndicator of The Oprah Winfrey Show for its next go-round in the marketplace. You see, Sony’s co-production and distribution of the Dr. Oz Show was considered a dress rehearsal for the daytime diva. Alas, I broke the news that Oprah would announce she was stopping her syndicated show in 2011 to devote herself to OWN, the long-delayed Oprah Winfrey Network which is replacing Discovery Health on cable. So Sony TV got screwed. Nevertheless, Berkus may have an easier time in syndication because at least one two direct daytime competitors. Martha Stewart, announced last week her show will leave syndication after finding a home on the Hallmark Channel. And in December, Warner Bros pulled the plug on its syndication of the ratings-challenged Bonnie Hunt Show because its 2-year deal with NBC-owned stations was coming to an end. Yeah, that’s how tough the daytime syndie market has been in recent years. Little wonder that attendees described the just concluded NATPE confab as a ghost town.
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