MTM is developing network action hour “Eighteen Wheels of Justice” for CBS as the first project from a program development alliance with several midsize station groups.
Members of the informal alliance, formed just after the NATPE convention early this year, include New York Times Broadcasting, Cosmos Broadcasting, Malrite Communications Group, McGraw-Hill Broadcasting Co. and KICU San Francisco. River City Television Broadcasting, which is now a part of Sinclair Broadcast Group, also was part of the alliance, and Sinclair is expected to join in soon.
Alliance members are involved in developing shows and can front development coin in exchange for a piece of the backend. They also are offered the first chance to buy shows being sold. Ironically, while some members of the alliance are fronting development dollars for “Eighteen Wheels of Justice,” most won’t get to air the series, because MTM is seeking a CBS home rather than a syndie run.
“They are lucky to have a piece of a network show,” said Chuck Larsen, president of worldwide distribution at MTM. The show is about a Texas trucker.
Larsen said MTM plans to take no new syndie product to NATPE this year. None of the groups MTM has allied with have stations in the top three markets, which are essential to launching new shows, so it’s unclear how the alliance has given MTM more of an edge.