NBC eyes slot for Gibbons/Tesh talker

NBC may be close to a deal to acquire Paramount’s new Leeza Gibbons/John Tesh talkshow for its daytime sked next June, sources familiar with the proposed sale said yesterday.

The talk strip, featuring the “Entertainment Tonight” weekend co-hosts, is slated to go into daytime syndication in fall 1993, but NBC daytime boss John Rohrbeck reportedly made a lucrative preemptive bid for the show–possibly $250 ,000 to $300,000 per week.

If NBC acquires the show, it would have to convince affiliates in markets that do not carry “Entertainment Tonight” toclear it.

Many station exex see the talker as a cross-promotional vehicle for the Par magazine strip and may not be inclined to promote a local-market competitor’s show.

Neither Rohrbeck nor John Miller, NBC’s exec VP of advertising, promotion, daytime and kids programming, could be reached for comment yesterday. Par exex also were unavailable.

Rohrbeck, who is also prexy of the NBC O&O wing, had previously made a substantially larger offer to obtain another talker slated for a September ’93 syndie launch, Twentieth TV’s “The Bertice Berry Show.”

The distrib, however, opted to keep the show in syndication and sell it to the Fox-owned stations because of Fox chief Rupert Murdoch’s desire to boost the O&O’s news and information image (Daily Variety, Oct. 29).

Twentieth reportedly hopes the Berry program will perform well enough in the mornings its first season to be upgraded to early fringe in year two. Par, on the other hand, reportedly has positioned the Gibbons-Tesh entry for mornings and daytime.

Sources suggested the daypart differences may have accounted for the large deviation in prices for the two shows.

If a deal is concluded, the Gibbons-Tesh talker would be earmarked to fill the void left by the departure of “Santa Barbara.”

Network president Pier Mapes said last week that NBC intended to temporarily fill the hour with a gameshow, a move to hold time periods for the Peacock web until it could come into the daypart with a new talk entry.

NBC will soon decrease its daytime programming to just four hours, dropping “Dr. Dean” as well as “Santa Barbara.”

From Par’s perspective, the possibility of an all-cash deal for the talker could prove appealing.

The distrib has been seeking to sell the program for cash plus three minutes of national barter time.

Although Par could make more money by keeping the show in syndie, substantial risks are involved.

Par faces the prospect of small license fees and an uncertain advertising market as well as the possibility of a slow ratings build in a highly competitive and impatient station arena.

If the program is downgraded to the wee hours of the morning, the value of the barter spots dramatically decrease.

Sources indicated the studio may be more inclined to take a sure thing from NBC–or at least give serious consideration to the idea.

Should Par opt for the NBC deal, the field of new daytime entrants for next fall would be narrowed to “Berry” and King World’s “Les Brown.”

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