NBC O&Os pick up ‘Nate Berkus Show’

Oprah's design guru headed to major markets

The 10 NBC O&Os have picked up the hourlong syndie talk-lifestyle strip fronted by Oprah Winfrey’s design guru, Nate Berkus, from Harpo Prods. and Sony Pictures TV.

The deal clears “The Nate Berkus Show” in top markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas and Washington, D.C. There had been speculation that Sony might postpone the launch of the show until fall 2011, when Winfrey herself will be exiting the syndie scene. But the pact with the NBC O&Os virtually ensures that “Nate Berkus” will launch this fall.

The Berkus deal also comes on the heels of last week’s news that Martha Stewart is moving her daytime strip, “Martha,” to the Hallmark Channel in the fall. The Stewart skein had been carried by the NBC O&Os for the past five seasons, but the show has been a weak performer for the NBC stations.

The Berkus show is described by Sony as a mix of talk, lifestyle and “personal transformation” segments.

Berkus is known from his frequent appearances offering home makeover and decor tips on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” He made his name doing high-end work for such clients as Wolfgang Puck, Barney’s New York and the W hotels, in addition to private individuals.

Sony is understood to be offering “Nate Berkus” to stations for cash license fees and barter advertising time. The push for cash is a sign that Sony believes “Nate Berkus” will be seen as a hot property by station buyers, who have been reluctant to commit to cash license fees amid a prolonged slump in local ad sales.

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