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Mullally in major markets

Talkshow mines NBC O&Os

NBC Universal TV Distribution has sold its proposed syndicated talkshow hosted by Megan Mullally to NBC’s owned TV stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

The untitled Mullally show becomes the first daily series targeted for a September 2006 launch in firstrun syndication to land deals in major markets.

Only one other daily syndie prospect has surfaced in a formal announcement, King World’s “The Rachel Ray Show.” Most of the other big distributors are quietly sounding out stations for series like “The Keith Ablow Show,” a Dr. Phil wannabe from Warner Bros., and “Judge Maria Lopez,” a live-wire jurist from Sony Pictures TV.

Barry Wallach, president of distribution for NBC U Domestic TV, said the four NBC stations buying Mullally will decide on time periods for the show later in the season. NBC U is pitching Mullally, the Emmy-winning co-star of “Will & Grace,” for daytime slots between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Wallach pooh-poohed the speculation that Mullally will replace one of NBC U’s current syndie shows playing on many NBC stations, either “Martha” or “Starting Over.” He said “Martha,” the talker hosted by Martha Stewart, has two-year commitments and reality soap “Starting Over,” although low in household ratings, is reaching its demographic target of women 18-49.

One problem for NBC U in getting full nationwide clearance for Mullally is that there may be very few timeslots available for the 2006-07 season. All three series that premiered last month — “Martha,” Warner Bros. TV’s “The Tyra Banks Show” and Twentieth TV’s “Judge Alex” — are doing well enough so far to warrant renewals for a second season; with the exception of Buena Vista TV’s underperforming “The Tony Danza Show,” all of the veteran daily series are likely candidates to return.

The call letters of the Mullally stations are WNBC New York, KNBC Los Angeles, WMAQ Chicago and KNTV San Francisco.

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