Tribune, Sony cozying up

Duo will debut daytime skein in fall 2006

Tribune and Sony are pacting to develop and produce firstrun syndicated programming.

Deal involves Sony Pictures Television and both Tribune Entertainment and the Tribune station group.

Co-venture has committed to debut a daytime program on Tribune stations in fall 2006. No money changed hands in the nonexclusive arrangement. The partners will alternate selling the strips they agree on to the rest of the station market and handling the barter ad sales.

Move is in keeping with SPT prexy Steve Mosko’s strategy of working with station partners to launch and nurture strips in the highly competitive syndication fray.

Media consolidation has led to a very tight syndie market in which nonaligned producers — those without their own station group — have little chance of getting strips cleared on a national basis.

SPT took a firstrun talkshow strip hosted by Robin Quivers to NATPE in January but did not declare it a firm go for fall 2005.

However, a meeting at the confab with Tribune execs who were interested in the show led to a larger discussion of what the two companies might do together. Quivers’ talkshow strip will be among the projects that Tribune and Sony discuss for a fall 2006 launch.

“We recognize that in this vertically integrated marketplace, succeeding in syndication requires a collaborative, targeted approach that meets the needs of stations,” SPT prexy of distribution John Weiser said.

“This agreement reflects our strategy of partnering with programmers to develop and produce projects specifically for Tribune TV stations,” Tribune Broadcasting prexy Pat Mullen said.

Tribune owns and operates 26 stations concentrated in major markets, as well as superstation WGN on national cable. The group’s combined reach is more than 80% of U.S. TV households.

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