NBC, WB team for Hunt talkshow

Pair also pact on 'Extra,' 'Ellen' renewals

The NBC-owned TV stations have inked a mega programming pact with Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution that includes the Peacock O&Os making a two-year commitment to a new talkshow hosted by Bonnie Hunt and long-term renewals of Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talker and newsmag “Extra.”

If the Hunt show becomes a Nielsen success when it kicks off in the fall of 2008, and the advertising marketplace remains healthy, Warner Bros. could end up pocketing more than $100 million from NBC license fees and ad revenues through the life of the contract. The pact keeps Warners’ “Extra” on the NBC O&Os through 2012 and “Ellen” through 2011.

“The deal makes sense for NBC because its stations haven’t come up with any successes inhouse,” said Garnett Losak, VP and director of programming for Petry TV, the rep firm, citing such syndie high-visibility flops produced and distributed by NBC Universal such as “The Megan Mullally Show” and “The Jane Pauley Show.”

“And Warner Bros. saw the need to embrace NBC,” Losak said, “because it doesn’t own a group of TV stations.” Warners has created partnerships with the Fox-owned stations for the syndicated “Tyra Banks Show” and newcomer “TMZ.”

Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz TV, another rep firm, said that he commitment by the NBC to ‘Extra’ was crucial because NBC stations have replaced it in New York and Miami at 7 p.m. with a half-hour of local news, pushing “Extra” to less desirable late-afternoon time periods.

“‘Ellen’ has become the most successful syndicated series on the NBC O&Os in the last few years,” Carroll said.

Carroll said the stations are likely to run “Bonnie” and “Ellen” back to back in daytime, starting in the fall of 2008, except for WCAU, the NBC O&O in Philadelphia, which has a local hourlong talkshow in the daytime. WCAU is not included in the Bonnie Hunt deal.

The Hunt show is from Bob & Alice Prods., paraMedia and Warners’ Telepictures Prods. Hunt is co-executive producer with Jim Paratore and Don Lake.

John Wallace, president of the NBC TV stations, and Ken Werner, president of Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution, were the point persons on the deal.

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