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Par TV near talker deal with Mandel

Paramount Domestic TV is close to inking a deal with comic Howie Mandel to host a daytime talkshow strip in 1998.

The deal for Mandel is worth a pricey $5 million plus a percentage of the adjusted gross, sources say. Mandel was repped by ICM and 3 Arts Entertainment, and his show is expected to be an hour-long, comedic talk/variety strip in the vein of “Rosie O’Donnell.”

ICM and Paramount had no comment, but the talker could debut by summer or fall, possibly as a replacement for Maury Povich, who is quitting his talker at the end of next season to co-host a Dreamworks access strip with his wife, former “CBS Evening News” anchor Connie Chung.

Dreamworks still does not have a distributor, executive producer or launch group for that show, but the studio has met with King World about taking it. Dreamworks has met with many possible distributors, and the seriousness of the talks with King World are unclear.

Either way, sources say Dreamworks has the option to hold onto Povich until next June, so Paramount has to start planning another show if it wants to keep the Povich timeslots. If the Chung-Povich strip doesn’t go forward and Dreamworks cuts a deal with Par to let Povich keep his talker, Par will do both talkshows, sources say.

Mandel was pitched around town after the comedian subbed for Regis Philbin in “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee” last month. King World met with Mandel, but didn’t bid for the show, sources say.

Following the instant success of “Rosie O’Donnell,” King World, Par and most other syndicators have been vying to sign well-known talent to host talkshows. Paramount tried very hard to sign Keenen Ivory Wayans for a latenight show, but lost out to Disney.

Mandel began his career as an actor on “St. Elsewhere” and has since been on the comedy circuit. Mandel is also executive producer of Fox’s animated series “Bobby’s World.”

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