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Rysher bringing full plate to NATPE

Rysher Entertainment, a relatively new, Burbank-based distribution company, will enter the National Assn. of Television Program Executives confab next week with at least three strips, four weekly shows and a slew of spex.

The slate could increase, however.

There are indications Rysher is close to concluding a deal in which Cox Enterprises would buy Rysher and merge it with its own Television Program Enterprises (distrib of such offerings as “Star Search” and “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous”).

Rysher principal and prexy Keith Samples, who would oversee the combined company, declined to comment.

Most of Samples’ attention recently has been focused on clearances for “Wavelength,” the distrib’s most ambitious project in the five-day-a-week arena.

Earmarked for fall, the half-hour traveling talk-variety show aimed at young adults has so far been licensed for mostly early fringe slots on WGN-TV, Chicago; WPHL, Philadelphia; KTVU, San Francisco; WKBD, Detroit; KTXA, Dallas; KHTV, Houston; and WATL, Atlanta.

Other stations picking up the talker so far include WDZL, Miami; KTZZ, Seattle; KLGT, Minneapolis; WSBK, Boston; WNOV, Baltimore; and WSTR, Cincinnati.

Samples insists the stations and time periods on the clearance list will go a long way toward diffusing rumors spread by competitors that Rysher would fail to launch “Wavelength.”

Rysher continues to distribute the off-net strip “Saved by the Bell.” It also has picked up “Okavango,” 52 half-hour episodes of a family-oriented strip from Gibraltar Entertainment, for a 13-week run this summer.

On the weekly front, Rysher will bring back “The Highlander,” a co-production property in which it is involved. It’s also acquired syndie rights for the consumer show “On the Money,” which is produced by Cox-owned KTVU.

Rysher also has three HBO spex; “Skin Deep,” a one-hour spec, and KNBC-TV will provide Rysher with “Oscar Preview ’93.”

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