The TV distribution company Rysher TPE has picked up the U.S. syndication rights to HBO’s series of half-hour dramas “Lifestories: Families in Crisis.”
Sources said Rysher will pay the cabler a guarantee of $ 50,000 a half-hour for a minimum of 10 half-hours. HBO has already completed eight episodes and plans to film six more over the next year or so.
But Rysher won’t use all of them. Distribution sources said a couple of the “Lifestories” half-hours — one on incest and one on teenage lesbians — would drive advertisers away if Rysher tried to put them in the syndication package.
“Our plan is to release the 10 in a 60-minute format to stations on a one-a-month basis, starting in January 1994,” said Keith Samples, president of Rysher.
The 30-minute “Lifestories” drama would form the core of the syndicated hour, and Samples said he’s hired one of the stars of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” Gabrielle Carteris, to host a discussion of the content of the episode in front of a studio audience with invited guests.
Samples said Carteris would, in effect, be auditioning to become the host of a syndicated talkshow that Rysher would distribute in 1995 or later.
Although Samples declined to discuss dollar figures, one source said the Carteris-hosted wraparounds would cost Rysher another $ 75,000 or so a half-hour , bringing the company’s total investment in the series to more than $ 1 million.
Charles Schreger, VP of HBO Enterprises, put the “Lifestyles” deal in the context of HBO’s ongoing effort “to get the shows we produce onto free television, where they’ll get a far wider circulation than the 17.5 million homes with access to HBO.”
Rysher previously syndicated such HBO one-shots as the “Sports Illustrated 25 th Anniversary Swimsuit Special” and the baseball bio “When It Was a Game.”
NBC has already scheduled the HBO movie “Blind Side” with Rutger Hauer, and the Fox network will play HBO’s remake of “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman.”
Western Intl. has sold the HBO comedy series “First & Ten” in syndication for a fall 1993 start, and Warner Bros. TV syndicates “HBO Comedy Showcase.”
Although MCA TV owns the syndication rights to the HBO sitcom “Dream On,” and Columbia Pictures TV owns “The Larry Sanders Show,” neither company has announced its distribution plans.
Schreger said Joel Silver owns syndication rights to “Tales From the Crypt” and hasn’t yet selected a domestic distributor.