‘Accuse’ courts sales with conviction

In a unique joint distribution effort, Viacom and Mort Marcus’ Debmar Studios have come into the National Assn. of Television Program Executives confab with “I Accuse,” a reality court series from Mark Goodson Prods. earmarked for a September launch.

The half-hour strip, focusing on court mediation sessions between alleged criminals and their victims, has been cleared in 40% of the U.S. in just over a month.

Viacom has licensed the series to WWOR in New York and WPWR in Chicago. Two Los Angeles stations have made offers.

Marcus, who obtained rights to the series that was packaged by the William Morris Agency, took the show to Viacom syndie prez Rick Jacobson. Marcus and Jacobson worked together at Disney, which now funds Debmar Studios and has a first-look option on some projects.

All-barter basis

The syndicators are marketing the series on an all-barter basis, with three minutes reserved for national advertisers and four minutes for stations.

Viacom is targeting the series for daytime and 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m. slots, with most sales emphasis on independent stations.

Jacobson said Viacom is targeting indies over network affiliates because he would “prefer to be on in the right time period.” Still, he expressed confidence the program will be cleared on at least a couple of ABC affils that could air it after “Nightline.”

In daytime, “I Accuse” can play with existing court and talk blocks. It will be directed at late fringe slots in the West and East.

“I Accuse” is the latest in a growing line of court strips to come along at NATPE. Buena Vista TV is syndicating the one-hour strip “Judge and Jury” and Group W has “Jones & Jury.”

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