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Par seeks big-city bids for Mandel talkshow

After making an end run around the toughest markets for new syndicated shows to crack, Paramount’s syndie arm has asked stations in New York and Los Angeles to submit offers for its new Howie Mandel talkshow by Wednesday.

Paramount Domestic TV officials declined comment, but the leading contenders for “The Howie Mandel Show” in the top two markets are said to be the CBS O&Os and Chris Craft/United Television’s WWOR New York and KCOP L.A. Station sources say Par has not set a floor price for the hourlong daytime strip, set to bow in June.

Paramount has been actively selling the Mandel talk-variety vehicle for more than a month, but Par turned the traditional syndie sales process on its head by closing deals in dozens of medium-size markets before formally soliciting offers in the make-or-break markets of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Industry veterans termed it a shrewd move on Par’s part because it allows the studio to go into the most competitive markets with a head of steam behind the show. Over the past six weeks, Par has sold the show in 47 markets covering 30% of U.S. TV households.

Major-market stations that have recently signed on for the show include ABC affils WJLA Washington, KXTV Sacramento and CBS O&O WJZ Baltimore. With the buzz building, Par is expected to close deals in New York and Los Angeles by the end of next week. .

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