‘Hold ‘Em’ comes home

Celebs show their hands in new skein

The Heritage Media Group has signed TV stations in six of the top-10 markets to carry “Hip Hop Hold ‘Em,” a weekly firstrun syndicated hour that will visit the home of a guest celebrity each week for an on-site poker game.

“We’re taking poker out of the casino and putting into celebrities’ homes,” said Matt Cooperstein, the L.A.-based president of HMG Distribution. Cooperstein said HMG and its partner Trans World Intl. will draw their celebs from the world of sports, music, movies and TV.

Each week’s celeb will invite five of his poker-playing friends, along with a poker expert who’ll comment on the play. Before the players sit down for the game, the show’s cameras will take a quick tour of the celeb’s house.

The stations pay no cash for the show, instead giving up eight minutes in each hour to HMG for sale to national advertisers. The stations keep the other eight commercial minutes for local sale.

Five of the six stations agreeing to take “Hip Hop Hold ‘Em” are owned by Tribune Entertainment: WPIX New York, KTLA Los Angeles, WPHL Philadelphia, KDAF Dallas and WNOL New Orleans. The sixth is Weigel Broadcasting’s WCIU Chicago.

The stations will play the series in a variety of weekend time periods, from primetime on a UPN station to afternoon or late fringe on stations affiliated with Fox and the WB.

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