Station snags show from rival WCBS

EXCLUSIVE
Syndie sensation “Judge Judy” is on the move in Gotham.

Peacock net flagship WNBC New York has shelled out big bucks to snag Worldvision Enterprises’ hit courtshow strip from Eye web rival WCBS starting in fall 1999.

Reps for WNBC and Worldvision confirmed Tuesday that the deal has been inked, but neither side would comment on financial terms. Sources said WNBC has agreed to a hefty license-fee increase to nearly $100,000 per week, in addition to giving up 90 seconds of barter advertising time in each half-hour show.

If “Judge Judy’s” strong ratings hold up over the next 18 months, the long-struggling WCBS could feel a real pinch from the switch. The court show fronted by the feisty judge Judy Sheindlin has been a boon to WCBS’ afternoon sked since it landed at the station last September. It generally beats WNBC’s “The People’s Court” in head-to-head competition at 4 p.m.

During the November sweep, “Judge Judy” increased WCBS’ performance in the 4 p.m. timeslot by 110% over the previous November. The show also has helped boost the demographic ratings for WCBS’ 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. newscasts. Now in its second year, “Judge Judy” showed enough promise in its first season for WCBS to lure the daytime strip away from its original Gotham home on UPN O&O WWOR.

“Judge Judy,” produced by Spelling Entertainment’s Big Ticket Television, has posted triple-digit growth this season on a national scale as well.

In other syndie news, Fox’s Twentieth TV has hit the magic 80% clearance mark with its upcoming latenight talkshow with Earvin (Magic) Johnson. According to Twentieth, “The Magic Hour” has been cleared for a June launch in all top 35 TV markets.

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