Producers explore possible syndie

MTV has sent off a Dear John letter to its latenight series “Loveline,” ending the relationship show after a four-year run.

“We were thrown for a loop by the cancellation,” said Scott A. Stone, partner with David G. Stanley in Stone Stanley Entertainment, the producers of “Loveline.” Stanley said MTV gave the company no reason why it decided not to pick up the show for another 15 weeks of original episodes as it did last year. An MTV spokeswoman said president of programming Brian Graden was traveling and unavailable for comment.

One insider said low ratings were only a partial cause of the cancellation: Although “Loveline” never delivered particularly good Nielsens because of its latenight slot, the program hadn’t shown any noticeable decline over the last year or so.

Switch to syndie?

Stone said he and his partner want to keep the show in production. They’ve begun to explore the possibility of hiring a distributor to clear the series as a latenight five-a-weeker in firstrun syndication, possibly for the fall 2001. Another option, Stone said, is to locate another cable network buyer, particularly one that’s looking for an irreverent, frank-talking series dealing with sex in all of its permutations.

Hosted by Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Catherine McCord, the series has racked up 369 half-hours since its debut on MTV in November 1996. “Loveline” started — and will continue, despite MTV’s lack of faith in the TV version — as a nationally distributed radio show. Distributor is Westwood One, which, like MTV, is a division of Viacom.

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