Gossip strip eyed as 'TMZ' companion

Fox Television Stations will give a six-week test run this summer to “Dish Nation,” a potential companion to hit strip “TMZ.”

Twentieth Television will distribute “Dish,” which features major-market radio DJs gossiping about the stars along with celebrity footage and animation. “Dish,” produced by Bartholomew Prods., is being eyed for timeslots before or after “TMZ.”

“On paper, this program has the potential to be a strong companion to local news, ‘TMZ’ or comedies,” said Frank Cicha, senior VP of programming, Fox TV Stations.

Premiering July 25, the half-hour strip will be based on highlights from radio shows in most of the seven markets where “Dish” will get a test run including “The Big Show With Scott and Todd” in New York (WWOR, 6 p.m.), DJ Felli Fel in Los Angeles (KTTV, 6:30 p.m.), “The Rick Smiley Morning Show” in Atlanta (WAGA, 12 a.m.) and “Blaine and Allyson” in Detroit (WJBK, 12 a.m.).

“Dish” will also air in Phoenix (KSAZ, 10:30 p.m.), Washington, D.C. (WTTG, 7 p.m.), and Baltimore (WUTB, 6:30 p.m.).

It’s not uncommon for syndicated properties to get a test run in limited markets before going national in order to gauge their appeal and work out creative kinks. Fox tried it unsuccessfully last summer with “The Kilborn File,” a talkshow featuring former CBS latenight host Craig Kilborn, but the rollout strategy has worked for other programs dating back to “Live With Regis and Kathie Lee” and “A Current Affair.”

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