This could be a big deal: Domestic TV stations and cable networks already pay about $20B a year for syndicated shows, RBC Capital Markets’ David Bank says in an in-depth look this morning at the business. And digital streamers pay studios $2B for content, about half for TV shows. The amount from digital could grow as much as 30% next year if a new player challenges Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon in the online market. That’s provided much comfort for the companies that dominate syndicated sales of scripted sitcoms and dramas: studios affiliated with ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, as well as Warner Bros and Sony. But Bank says that Viacom is about to join the club for the first time since it split from CBS in 2005. TV Land’s original shows including Hot In Cleveland and Happily Divorced “could generate new and profitable revenue streams for Viacom as the shows accumulate enough episodes to move into broadcast syndication,” Bank says. He believes that CBS-owned stations will begin to air Hot In Cleveland
CBS Television Distribution has sold its syndicated first-run Jeff Probst to stations in more than 70% of the country ahead of its fall 2012 launch. The new one-hour talk show starring the Survivor host is now in 22 of the …
Who said syndication was boring? In one day this week, the usually sleepy industry offered more action that a Michael Bay movie. Wednesday started off with several shows: newbies Jeff Probst, from CBS TV Distribution, Twentieth’s Ricki Lake, Warner Bros’ Bethenny Frankel as well as Warner Bros’ rookie Anderson, vying for a slot on the NBC stations. It ended with Jeff Probst getting the NBC stations, Anderson being renewed on the Fox stations and Ricki Lake landing a key Tribune station that secures its launch. “I don’t remember it being so wild,” one veteran syndication executive said about the Wednesday flurry of activity. “It was like the Wild Wild West — everyone had their guns out and we were shooting at each other.”
After a marathon of presentations by all hopefuls, including the NBC-produced Jenny McCarthy talk-show pilot, it came down to Jeff Probst and Ricki Lake for the spot on the NBC stations. Things were so close, I hear the winner was picked by a vote. The moment the decision to go with Jeff Probst was made yesterday, “the scurrying started, and the other dominoes started to fall,” according to an industry insider. Ricki Lake needed to secure a station in the top TV market, New York City, to keep its hopes of a nationwide launch alive. Meanwhile, Tribune’s New York station WPIX had trouble integrating Anderson Cooper’s new talk show into its lineup of conflict talkers: NBCU’s Maury, Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos, and Tribune’s own Bill Cunningham. So WPIX went for Ricki Lake, Anderson moved to Fox’s New York station, and the Fox station group quickly renewed the show for a second season.
CBS TV Distribution’s syndicated daily talk show hosted by Survivor‘s Jeff Probst has finalized a deal with the NBC owned-and-operated stations, clearing the strip for a fall 2012 launch. In addition to the NBC Owned TV Stations in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Miami, San Diego and Hartford, Connecticut, the show, titled Jeff Probst, has been sold to stations owned by CBS, Gannett Broadcasting, Post-Newsweek, Belo, Cox Television, Scripps Howard Broadcasting and LIN Television — the station groups that previously carried CTD’s The Oprah Winfrey Show — for 55% coverage of the U.S., including 16 of the Top 20 markets.
Two months into it freshman run, Anderson Cooper’s daily syndicated talk show has been renewed for a second season. The show’s core station group, Fox TV Stations, has renewed the Telepictures-produced show on its stations in Los Angeles (KTTV-TV), Chicago …
The Fox television stations have renewed The Wendy Williams Show for two more seasons, keeping the syndicated talker from Debmar-Mercury on through 2014. The Wendy Williams Show — which recently scored an interview with Charlie Sheen in a synergy move …
Katie Couric’s upcoming nationally syndicated talk show, Katie, has been cleared in over 60% of the country, according to distributor Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Katie, slated to launch in fall 2012, has been sold in 14 of the top 15 markets. Of course, the backbone of that are the eight ABC owned-and-operated stations, which picked up the show as part of Couric’s deal with Disney/ABC. The eight stations (in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh/Durham and Fresno) cover 22.5% of the country, including the top five markets. Additional clearances include stations from broadcast groups Allbritton Communications, Belo Corporation, Cox Media Group, Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television, LIN Broadcasting, McGraw-Hill, Scripps Howard Broadcasting and Young Broadcasting.
The reports of The Simpsons‘ imminent death were once again greatly exaggerated. It happens during every cast renegotiation — the voice actors and the producing studio 20th Century Fox TV go through a very public standoff, triggering a slew of headlines about the certain end of the beloved animated series, before the two sides ultimately reach an agreement. This seems to be the case again this time as people close to the negotiations are optimistic that there would be new contacts with the the cast that will seal The Simpsons’ renewal by Fox for a 24th and possibly 25th season. The deals are not done and may or may not close today as talks continue, but it looks like the actors would return with a pay cut in the 30% range they offered the studio but sans the lucrative back-end participation they were seeking. One of the cast members, Harry Shearer, even proposed to take a pay cut of more than 70% in exchange for points on the show, but I hear that the option of giving the actors any profit participation was a non-starter for the studio.
EXCLUSIVE: Reveille is entering the first-run syndication arena. The production company owned by News Corp’s Shine Group has tapped syndication executive Eric Pankowski for the newly created position of SVP Creative Affairs. In that role, he will oversee the development …
When new syndicated talk show Anderson debuted with a so-so 1.1 household rating on Monday, the producers called the rating atypical, claiming it was depressed because the show had to face the U.S. Open men’s tennis final in major …
After acquiring a slew of off-network dramas, Ion is adding a comedy to the mix with a deal for the exclusive broadcast syndication rights to all five seasons of ABC’s George Lopez. The comedy, bought from Warner Bros TV Distribution, …
Twentieth Television will be testing another potential first-run syndication program on the Fox Television Stations. Dish Nation, a half-hour pop culture/celebrity news program in the vein of TMZ, will debut July 25 for a six-week trial run on Fox stations …
Nancy Grace will be leaving the daytime syndicated show Swift Justice after one season. Las Vegas Judge Jackie Glass will take her place on the show, whose production will be moved from Atlanta, where Grace is based, to Los Angeles. “Leaving such a successful show was a tough decision, …
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE WITH MORE DETAILS, 3:45 PM: We hear that the idea of Hugh Grant as a replacement for Charlie Sheen in Two And A Half Men was first pitched to CBS boss Les Moonves and CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler about a month ago. After a couple of weeks sorting out the Sheen lawsuit fallout, the two execs blessed the plan and Grant was approached by the producers at Warner Bros. We hear Hugh flew in and had 2 creative meetings. Things were progressing and he had all but a completed deal when he backed out unexpectedly. ‘It was not the money. He didn’t want to do TV because those 24 episodes are a grind and a lot of work. At the end he couldn’t get his head around doing a series.” Another insider tells us that, if Grant committed, “the show could have gotten another 3 to 4 more seasons”.
PREVIOUS FROM NIKKI FINKE: I’ve learned that one-time bad boy Hugh Grant was deep into final negotiations to replace Charlie Sheen as the lead on Two And A Half Men until he pulled out last night at the last minute due to creative differences. Insiders tell me he’d been offered more than $1 million an episode [UPDATE: but Warner Bros sources are now saying it was not that much], which is the sort of $25M-a-year payday Grant doesn’t get from movies anymore. All along insiders at Warner Bros and CBS had been saying that they were going after “an A-lister” as the new star of the top-rated sitcom after Sheen was fired, and Hugh sure fits the bill. (Let me tell you, I would have watched that show!) CBS has been working hard to announce the return of the show and its new star at next week’s upfronts. Maybe Grant will reconsider. Let’s hope. But it’s a decision that will affect not just CBS’ Nielsen ratings and advertising revenue but also billions of dollars of future syndication contracts for Warner Bros Television.
Insiders have been explaining to me that, at first, executive producer and co-creator Chuck Lorre wasn’t sure if he wanted to proceed with the show after Sheen’s implosion. With three successful sitcoms on CBS — Two And A Half Men, Mike & Molly, and The Big Bang Theory — Lorre was enjoying only showrunning two of them. But the problem, and it’s a very nice problem to have, is that there is so much moolah at stake because Two And A Half Men is a multibillion-dollar asset in syndication on terrestrial broadcast stations like the Fox station group, on cable with FX, as well as via multi foreign and DVD deals. The terrestrial contracts called for the stations to have to carry the show as long as Sheen was “of the essence” of each episode. Once Sheen left, the stations could get out of the contract. The hope was and still is that his replacement will be so compelling that the stations will want to continue the contract. Not so with the cable and foreign deals, where Charlie was not “of the essence”, meaning it didn’t matter to the contracts whether Sheen was in the show or not as long as the sitcom’s concept remained similar. This is why everybody have been working so hard to find a replacement, with names like Woody Harrelson, Rob Lowe, John Stamos and Jeremy Piven circulating in the blogosphere. But until now, with Deadline’s news about Hugh Grant, there’s been nothing concrete about actual negotiations going on with any specific actor to replace Sheen.
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