‘Access’ loses access

For the first time since Twentieth TV began distributing the show, four sister Fox O&Os have downgraded the $40 million frosh newsmag “Access Hollywood” out of their access timeslots, Twentieth confirmed.

Fox stations in Atlanta, Phoenix, Kansas City and Austin, Texas, have moved the show out of the access hour leading into primetime. On WAGA Atlanta, the show has moved from 7 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., where it will air one day after the show is shot. Replacing it at 7 p.m. is Paramount Domestic TV’s “Real TV.”

The Fox station in St. Louis also has moved the show, although it didn’t previously air in access there, sources say. Exact timeslot changes will be available today.

The moves are a blow to the show, because access slots are the most lucrative and highest-rated. The Fox group signaled its intentions in April when it sent a letter to the show’s co-owner NBC claiming the stations have the right to move the show (Daily Variety, April 18).

Several Fox stations are unhappy with the performance of “Access” and don’t believe it to be the most compatible program leading into Fox’s primetime sked. Twentieth TV and the Fox stations inherited the project when News Corp. purchased New World Entertainment in January, and sources say NBC may attempt to buy Fox’s stake in the program. Twentieth TV president Rick Jacobson said, “This does not in any way lessen our commitment to the show for year two.”

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