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Clark to host syndie strip

One day after resigning from the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark has signed on as host of an upcoming half-hour syndicated reality strip called “LadyLaw” from Skyline Television Distribution.

Clark replaces “Babylon 5” star Claudia Christian, who had been tapped to host the show. While the strip’s producers were not unhappy with Christian, Clark’s involvement is expected to significantly boost the sales potential of the new series.

“This puts us over the top,” said Arnold Shapiro, who will executive produce “LadyLaw.” “It’s the difference between chocolate cake and chocolate cake with whipped cream and ice cream. She’s the most prominent female attorney in the world right now.”

A sleeper

Clark’s decision was somewhat surprising, given that “LadyLaw” has attracted little notice up to this point. Perhaps that’s because Skyline is a small, fledgling distribution company and “LadyLaw” is its only project. The company is headed by syndication veteran Scott Towle, formerly president of domestic distribution at King World Prods.

Besides Shapiro, producers on the show are Pat Finn, CEO of In-Finn-Ity Prods., which formerly was only an infomercial company, and Gary Bernstein of GRAB Prods. “LadyLaw” is a cinema verite reality series about the professional and personal lives of female cops, lawyers, border patrol agents and women in other areas of law enforcement.

While the show has yet to be sold to any stations, chairman and CEO of the William Morris Agency Norman Brokaw said, “Rest assured this will move very quickly from this point on.” WMA represents and negotiated the deal for Clark. Mark Itkin and Adam Sher also packaged the show at the agency.

Pick of the litter

“As you know, Marcia Clark has been offered hundreds of projects, and she’s turned down everything,” said Shapiro, whose credits include the Academy Award-winning documentary “Scared Straight” and the TV series “Rescue 911.” “This is the first thing she has considered and accepted because the concept of the show is empowering to women; it portrays women as role models.”

While the show’s executive producers are men, Shapiro said he expects to hire women for many of the key staff positions. He said another main factor in Clark’s decision was the time the show will allow her to spend with her children. Shooting the segment wrap-arounds and voiceovers only will require a day-and-a-half of work a week.

The cash-plus-barter show is being targeted to early and late fringe slots, but producers said it also will work in daytime. Reality generally is a very male-oriented action genre, but producers believe this show will bring in men and women.

Reps and station groups generally applauded Skyline for snagging Clark. “Whatever you think of O.J., she’s been a district attorney, and she understands problems of women involved in the law,” said Jack Fentress, vice president-director of programming at Petry Television. “She gives the show some legitimacy.”

Although Clark is busy finishing her book “Without a Doubt,” she will be in New Orleans at the NATPE convention Tuesday, and her presence could create some excitement in an otherwise lackluster year.

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