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As ‘Star’ wobbles, KCBS tests new Genesis strip

KCBS-TV will provide a two-week access test in December for Genesis Entertainment’s proposed fall ’93 reality strip “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol,” the station and distrib confirmed yesterday.

Ten episodes of the half-hour program, produced by Mark Massari in association with Genesis, will air at 7:30 p.m. weeknights beginning Dec. 7 on the CBS O&O.

The station currently airs Television Program Enterprises’ “Star Search” in the slot, but the program is languishing in last place.

KCBS is expected to replace the five-day-a-week version of “Search” at the beginning of the November sweeps with All American Television’s “Family Feud.” The gameshow would return at the end of “Highway Patrol’s” two-week run.

With KCBS reportedly intent on downgrading “Search” to the wee hours, it will cast a crippling blow that could result in TPE pulling the strip from national syndication.

The O&O represents the premier clearance for “Search.” Without an access berth in the nation’s second-largest market, the nationally low-rated barter show would likely be doomed and become the first casualty of the new season.

A game of chickenhas apparently ensued between the station and TPE, with both waiting to see who swerves first. The syndicator appears to be waiting for KCBS to act.

KCBS has had “Feud” on the shelf to use against the powerhouse “Wheel of Fortune,” which jumped from the O&O to KABC-TV this fall.

If “Highway Patrol”–a road version of Twentieth TV’s successful off-Fox reality series “Cops”–succeeds in its test and makes it into national syndication next fall, KCBS would likely use it as a counter-programming tool for next fall. Genesis is seeking to arrange similar programming tests for “Highway Patrol” in other markets.

The series, a spinoff of the syndicator’s weekly reality series “Emergency Call,” follows a highway patrol officer throughout an average day.

Genesis Entertainment prez Wayne Lepoff said the male-skewing highway patrol episodes of “Emergency Call” outperformed the show’s season average by a wide margin. An episode airing last February captured a 3.6, about a full rating point above the season average.

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