Buena Vista Prods. Tuesday confirmed the appointment of Peter Herdrich as exec producer of the weekly syndicated advocacy series “The Crusaders” (Daily Variety, March 1), which Disney is seeking to take out as a newsmag strip in fall 1995.
The appointment of Herdrich, effective March 18, will reunite him with the show’s interim exec producer, John Terenzio. The two previously worked together at “A Current Affair,” where Terenzio served as exec producer and Herdrich was senior producer.
Terenzio joined “The Crusaders” as an executive consultant in December and became a show runner last month following the departure of John Butte, the program’s original exec producer (Daily Variety, Feb. 15). He will continue in the role of consultant.
Hedrich has also held stints as producer-director of “Case Closed” for the USA Network, producer of ABC’s “PrimeTime Live” and field producer for Fox Broadcasting’s “The Reporters.”
He also was a producer for King World’s “Inside Edition” and Paramount’s “Hard Copy,” leading some staffers to suspect the show may take on more of a tabloid slant under the new exec producer.
But Amy Sacks-Feld, senior veep of BVP, said “Disney would never be associated with anything tabloid. We are in the business of entertainment … but we do want to make our shows grow, to be more commercial and watchable.”
The exec credits Terenzio with broadening the scope of the program to include more high visibility national stories, such as major league sports teams’ “guns for tickets” exchange program, and with including celebrity crusades and timely news segments.
Ratings have also increased since Terenzio’s arrival, with the show rising 23 % from a 4.0 in December to a 5.2 Nielsen national mark in January. Numbers for February are skewed because of Winter Olympics preemptions.
Sacks-Feld said Herdrich came highly recommended from Terenzio.
The rookie series has been renewed for fall in more than 80% of the country, including the six NBC O&Os. It’s currently cleared in 90% of the country, with Westinghouse Broadcasting, Lin Television Corp. and Providence Journal Broadcasting serving as equity investors.