Petry Puts Money On Miller, ‘Outer Limits’

Petry Television says the syndicated shows with the most audience potential for the 1995-96 season are All American TV’s “Baywatch” reruns, the off-Fox hourlong version of “Tales from the Crypt” from Genesis Entertainment, Buena Vista TV’s latenight talkshow starring Stephanie Miller and a new edition from MGM TV of the old sci-fi/suspense series “Outer Limits.”

Those shows chalk up high ratings from four programming executives at Petry, which provides its annual TV series recommendations in a presentation to its station clients at the National Assn. of TV Program Executives in Las Vegas Jan. 23.

The four executives are Jack Fentress, VP and director of programming for Petry National; Dick Kurlander, VP and director of programming for Petry TV; and two Petry National directors of programming, Ron Martzolf and Gail Healy.

About the “Baywatch” rerun strip, which achieved a humongous 8.5 Petry rating, Fentress says, “It’s had tremendous success as a once-a-week series” and the reruns “should provide an excellent alternative to talk either in early fringe or late fringe.” No series has ever received a 10 rating from the rep firm.

Healy affixed an 8.0 rating to “Tales from the Crypt” because “it received good numbers” on both HBO, where it originated, and on Fox, which broadcast the edited repeats. Also, she said, “it’s scary and gruesome, and loaded with Hollywood stars.” Her one caution is that stations should restrict it to late night because, even in edited form, it stretches the boundaries of gore and sleaze.

Fentress loves Miller and gives her show a 7.5 because it’s “funny and outrageous” and well suited to late-night time slots. Martzolf is high on “Outer Limits,” giving it a 7.5 because of its “production values and special effects.”

Although it won’t be available for telecasting until the fall of 1996, Fentress gives the reruns of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” a 7.5, comparing its potential to that of “Little House on the Prairie” as a “strong alternative to talkshows” in daytime and early fringe.

Six series get a 7.0 from Petry’s recording angels: 20th TV’s “America’s Most Wanted: Final Justice,” Rysher Entertainment’s “Hitchhiker” reruns, 20th TV’s “Gabrielle Carteris Show,” Warner Bros. TV’s sitcom reruns of “Martin,” and two once-a-week series: MG/Perin’s “Scams” and D.L. Taffner’s “The Wanderer.”

Martzolf s take on “Most Wanted” is that it’s a success on the Fox network and “the updates on what happened after the criminals got caught” make it a “worthwhile project” for syndication. Fentress likes “The Hitchhiker,” which ran previously on HBO and the USA Network, as a late-night entry, a “pre-bedtime short story that’s not for the faint of heart.”

Carteris comes out ahead of all of the other pilots aimed at daytime audiences, Kurlander says, because of her experience, both as a talkshow host on some syndication specials distributed by Rysher and as an actress on “Beverly Hills 90210.” Kurlander likes the off-network “Martin” sitcom starring Martin Lawrence because “it’s fresh and funny,” adding that it’ll work best in early fringe because of its popularity among young audiences.

In previous years, Petry rated other off-network sitcoms that make their debut this September. Fentress says the 9.0 to Buena Vista TV’s “Home Improvement” is “a higher rating than we’ve ever given to a series in any category.” Columbia TV’s “Seinfeld” got two ratings last year, an 8.0 if stations strip it late night and a 7.0 if they slot it at 7 or 7:30 p.m. Warner Bros. TV’s “Step by Step” and Buena Vista TV’s “Blossom” got a 6.5 and Buena Vista’s “Dinosaurs” managed only a 5.0, the lowest rating Petry doles out to a recommended show. Any series that fails to make the 5.0 cut gets passed over in silence.

“Scams,” Kurlander says, has potential because it consists of a compilation of the most arresting pieces produced by shame-on-you consumer reporters on local news shows across the U.S. And, according to Kurlander, the elements of “fantasy , sci-fi and action-adventure” make “The Wanderer” an “exciting new show.”

Six new series receive a still-respectable 6.5: New Line TV’s “Court TV: Inside America’s Courts,” a strip version of the current weekly series; All American TV’s “The Richard Bey Show,” which goes nationwide while continuing on the Chris Craft/United stations; Buena Vista TV’s animated “Gargoyles”; Rysher Entertainment’s off-network “California Dreams,” which the distributor is pegging as the eventual replacement for “Saved by the Bell”; Samuel Goldwyn TV’s new version of “Flipper” and Buena Vista TV’s “Land’s End,” a new action hour with Fred Dryer.

A cautious 6.0 rating devolves onto seven new shows: MGM TV’s reality strip “LAPD,” Warner Bros. TV’s Ricki Lake wannabe “The Carney Wilson Show,” Rysher’s “George & Alana” talkshow (George Hamilton and Alana Stewart), Genesis Entertainment’s hourlong talkshow strip starring Mark Walberg, Columbia TV’s talkshow strip with Tempestt Bledsoe, MG/Perin’s “Coast Guard” weekly reality half-hour and All American’s “Baywatch Nights” spinoff.

Six shows make the cut at 5.5: Genesis Entertainment’s “Juvenile Justice,” Group W Prods.’ “Day & Date,” Worldvision’s “Detour,” Cannell Entertainment’s “Armstrong Williams Show,” Active Entertainment’s “Enquiring Minds” gameshow and D.L. Taffner’s “Hollywood People.”

Barely getting a passing grade at 5.0 are MTM Syndication’s “America’s Funniest Videos” reruns, All American’s “Thanks a Million, ” Tribune’s “Charles Perez” talkshow, ACI Entertainment’s “Shop ‘Til You Drop” reruns, Bohbot Entertainment’s animated “Highlander,” Claster TV’s “Littlest Pet Shop,” ACI’s “Beyond Reality” reruns and Cannell Syndication’s “U.S. Customs Classified.”

Among the series not recommended by Petry are Seagull Entertainment’s sitcom “Beverly Hills Beach Club,” Grove TV’s “Incredible Mall,” Turner Program Services “Lauren Hutton and…” talkshow and two New Line TV half-hours “The Hardy Boys” and “Nancy Drew.”

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