GROUPS GRAB ‘VIBE’

Chris-Craft, Par clear CTTD's latenight strip

NEW ORLEANS – Sony’s Columbia TriStar Television Distribution has cleared its new latenight, hourlong magazine strip “Vibe” on the Chris-Craft and Paramount station groups, which the syndicator said gives the show more than 50% coverage of the country as well as the top 10 markets.

Chris-Craft owns WWOR New York and KCOP Los Angeles as well as several other top 10 outlets; Par owns stations in D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and several other big markets. The two account for nearly 40% of the country. The syndicator has other clearances it has not yet unveiled.

Chris-Craft was the likely major-market buyer for the latenight strip, which is being exec produced by Quincy Jones. The Fox-owned stations had passed on the project, and Tribune has a heavy load of off-net fare for the late fringe daypart.

It was a similar situation with Par, which also owns stations in many of the outlets where Tribune and Fox have stations.

The bulk of the clearances are expected to be at 11 p.m. or 11:30 p.m.; some clearances could come in the last hour of primetime, 10-11 p.m. The show is being sold on a barter basis, with studio and station each keeping seven minutes of ad time.

The deals to clear “Vibe,” the syndicator said, marked the best day of business in the company’s history.

“This clearly runs counter to the popular notion that vigorous business is not being done at this year’s convention,” CTTD prexy Barry Thurston said in a statement. “These stations have identified the same void in the latenight arena as we did.”

It is an arena that could get more crowded. Walt Disney’s Buena Vista Television is launching “The John Salley Show,” a weekly talkshow hosted by the former NBA player which is cleared by the Fox and New World stations and eventually could become a strip.

“Vibe” is based on the Quincy Jones mag that follows hip-hop culture. Comedian Chris Spencer is set to host.

The show won’t be cheap for CTTD. Budgets for a week’s worth of shows, some observers say, will run more than $600,000.Beyond that, details are sketchy. In a statement, Jones said the show will have “a distinctive look, feel and attitude which will be unlike anything that is currently on latenight television.”

Jones and CTTD are looking to counterprogram CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” and NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

While many syndicators are paying stations outright to clear shows or are giving up an equity stake, sources familiar with the Chris-Craft deal say that was not the case for “Vibe.”

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