It’s summertime, and the selling is easy — for distributors of syndie talkshows hosted by Maury Povich and Roseanne.

Universal Television has sealed multiyear deals with 41 stations to keep veteran yakker Povich on the air long after fall 1998, when he’s set to move his show to Universal after eight years with Paramount.

Meanwhile, King World Prods. has lined up two-year deals in four more markets for its fall 1998 entry with Roseanne: WXYZ Detroit, WSMV Nashville, KSHB Kansas City and WNEM Flint, Mich. To date, the Roseanne talker has been cleared in about 30% of the country, including seven of the top-10 TV markets.

The bulk of Universal’s deals are essentially renewals with stations that presently carry “The Maury Povich Show” from Paramount. The new-model Povich is likely to have a different title, but will retain the same single-topic format that made the show one of the biggest syndie success stories of the 1990s.

Keeping tabs on talent

Jim McNamara, president of Universal Television Enterprises, said most of the stations re-upping with Povich have pledged to keep the show in its current timeslot, ensuring that viewers won’t lose track of Povich after the handover from Paramount to Universal.

In the crucial top-3 markets, U has renewed Povich with WNBC New York, WGN Chicago and KCAL Los Angeles. In New York, however, Povich was recently shifted from the lucrative 3 p.m. timeslot to 11 a.m. to make way for the fall 1997 revival of “The People’s Court” from Warner Bros.

Until just last month, Povich had been expected to walk away from his talkshow career in 1998 to launch a syndie magazine show with his wife, former CBS News anchor Connie Chung, and DreamWorks Television.

But Povich reconsidered when sales of the DreamWorks syndie project stalled. With his Paramount contract up at the end of the upcoming season, Povich was courted by several distributors this spring before signing the rich, multiyear pact with Universal last month.

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