Mullally talkshow takes off

NBC U planning daytime yakker for fall 2006

NEW YORK — Both off-network and firstrun surfaced bigtime in the TV syndication business on Monday:

  • The WB will buy off-net series aimed at adults 18-49 to replace its two-hour children’s block of shows weekdays at 3 p.m., beginning in January.

  • NBC Universal TV filled in some of the details on its new talkshow to be hosted by Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”), which the distributor will put together as a daytime hour for fall 2006.

While the WB is dropping children’s shows during the week, it will add an hour of these series to its Kids’ WB Saturday-morning lineup, swelling the total to five hours.

For the 3-5 p.m. weekday slot, the WB will program the 200 or so WB-owned and affiliated stations with off-net series in 2006 but may shift to firstrun programming for the two hours in 2007 and later, administering a shot in the arm to syndication production.

Mullally’s program, to be shot in Los Angeles, will be a talk-variety show, with a live band. Mullally said she’s operating on the premise that next season’s “Will & Grace,” the show’s eighth, will be its last, freeing her up to devote all of her time to the talkshow.

Mullally said she wants to invite her “Will & Grace” co-stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing and Sean Hayes to appear, but she’ll make sure the guest spots are during the sweep periods.

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