Roseanne ransom?

King World shopping its pricey new yakker

The re-selling of Roseanne as a daytime TV commodity has begun.

King World Prods. is looking for station bids for its upcoming Roseanne talker in New York and Los Angeles by the end of next week. King World chairman Roger King is meeting with buyers in Los Angeles this week after an initial round of meetings in New York last week.

Eye O&O rumors

Industry insiders say King World is courting the CBS O&Os for a group deal, but King says he’s plotting a market-by-market sales blitz for the high-profile project expected to premiere in fall 1998.

“We’re giving everyone the opportunity to buy this show,” said King. “There’s a groundswell of interest in the show that is just going up and up and up.”

Station sources say King World is angling for hefty cash license fees for the hour strip in addition to 3-1/2 minutes of barter advertising time in each show.

In opening the bidding for the project next week, King World is hoping to take the lead in what’s shaping up to be a highly competitive syndie selling season for celebrity chatshows targeted for debut 1998.

Paramount is rumored to be mulling an April start date for its talker with Howie Mandel. Columbia TriStar is considering a talk-variety vehicle presided over by Donny & Marie Osmond. Also in the syndie development pipeline are talk projects with actors Meshach Taylor and Robert Urich.

Moreover, the marketplace will be more crowded with veteran talkers next year than previously forecast, now that Maury Povich has decided to stick with the genre. Povich had been expected to move into the access newsmagazine field in fall 1998, but a $10 million offer last month from Universal’s syndication arm helped change his mind.

Avoiding ‘Oprah’

King World, meanwhile, is unlikely to vie for talk TV’s most lucrative timeslots — afternoon berths leading in to local newscasts — because it has pledged to keep the Roseanne show out of direct competition with its reigning talk queen, “Oprah Winfrey.” At the same time, Roseanne is likely to get first crack at “Oprah’s” prime real estate should Winfrey decide not to re-up with King World when her current contract runs out at the end of the 1997-98 season.

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