‘Guess Television’ looks for answers

A lack of desirable time periods has forced Western Intl. Syndication, DIC Enterprises and jean maker Guess? Inc. to rethink roll out plans for the proposed fall ’93 magazine strip, “Guess Television.”

Originally envisioned as a half-hour strip aimed at the 18-34 demo, Western now guesses that “Guess” would work better as an hour weekly series–at least initially.

Western wants to avoid the expensive trap that many syndicators fall into by launching a series as a strip in poor time periods, only to watch it quickly crash and burn.

“We’d only be kidding ourselves if we tried that,” acknowledged Western syndie prez Ron Glazer.

Within the next few weeks, Glazer expects to land a couple of major station groups for the show.

If it works as a weekly, “Guess TV” could go on to become a five-day-a-week entry.

Another proposed strip courting the young demo, Group W Prods.’ “You Are Here ,” has so far failed to garner any clearances and may wind up as a limited-market vehicle.

Don’t write off the youth programming trend yet, however.

Rysher Entertainment’s younger-skewing “Wave Length” strip could be close to announcing some major station clearances after the New Year’s holiday.

Columbia Pictures Television, meanwhile, has gone out of its way to dash any thoughts that its pending Ricki Lake talker is geared toward strictly younger viewers. The all-encompassing “Ricki” has so far been cleared on WWOR-TV, New York; KCOP; WPWR, Chicago and KRON-TV, San Francisco.

And Group W is trumpeting its new “Teen Court” as having appeal with viewers as old as 50.

CORPORATE EXPOSURE: When MCA TV recently opted to bypass cable and license off-net episodes of “Northern Exposure” to stations under a two-year barter agreement in September 1994, syndie prez Shelly Schwab asserted the company was reaffirming its commitment to the broadcast community.

The syndicator may have also been sending a message to MCA’s management.

Think about what would have happened if the distributor had accepted a sizable cash offer from a cable network (Lifetime reportedly was one of the bidders under a proposed simultaneous cable-broadcast run).

It had already sold the off-net sitcom “Major Dad” to the USA Network for $ 600,000 an episode. If all of MCA TV’s product is going to cable, what good is it to have all those people working in station sales, marketing, advertising and promotion?

Sure, MCA took a big risk by turning down the cable money for an uncertain barter advertising market. But the alternative could’ve been worse.

INFLATED RATINGS: Warner Bros. Domestic TV’s bid to keep “The Jenny Jones Show” alive for a third season received a boost during the Nielsen November sweeps.

Results show the talker posting the strongest growth among all firstrun daytime talkshows in key demos, including a 16% jump (from a 16 to 21 share) among women 18-49. Household share increased from an 8 to an 11, representing a 38% boost from November ’91.

GOT YA, BABE: Paul Brownstein Prods. has acquired the TV distribution rights to the original “Sonny & Cher Show” series. Sixty-seven episodes of the variety series aired from 1971-74 on CBS.

Production company also holds distribution rights to “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” which E! Entertainment Television will strip beginning Jan. 4.

ARRESTING NUMBERS: Twentieth TV will increase the number of markets carrying off-Fox strip “Cops” in January from 10 to 30 stations. Stations have signed cash deals for midseason starts. For the two-year, cash-plus-barter deals that kick in this fall, 45 markets covering 55% of the country have so far signed.

OY: WWOR-TV, New York, has pulled the plug on “The Jackie Mason Show” because other Chris-Craft stations failed to pick up the talkshow. Station reps said the program was hurt as a potential national syndication entry because it was too tailored toward Gotham.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More TV News from Variety