The Daily Mail is looking to bring its distinct brand of tabloid journalism to television in the U.S.
The British print and digital news dynamo is said to have struck a deal with Jay McGraw’s Stage 29 Prods. to develop a syndicated newsmagazine strip that would draw on the Mail’s considerable editorial resources and online reach.
Syndication veteran Carla Pennington is on board as exec producer with Jay McGraw and Phil McGraw. CBS Television Distribution will handle distribution should the series get off the ground. Pennington is exec producer of Phil McGraw’s top-rated talkshow and the Jay McGraw-produced syndie series “The Doctors,” both of which are distributed by CTD.
The Daily Mail-Stage 29 pact is set to be unveiled Thursday at the Cannes Lions fest, which runs through Saturday in Cannes. Reps for both companies declined to comment on the deal, which has been in the works for months, sources said.
The series is likely to be positioned as a competitor to “TMZ” but with a broader focus beyond misbehaving celebrities. The Mail Online sites serve up a steady diet of sensational headlines and news-of-the-weird stories with an emphasis on tales that involve sex, crime and violence. (Sampling from Wednesday: “Postman beat and stabbed his adulterous wife to death with hammer”; “Lord Janner and the pedophile ring at his son’s elite school”; “Heartless thief steals life savings from 78-year-old widow’s handbag.”)
The Daily Mail’s Mail Online site has come on strong in the U.S. with double-digital growth during the past few years. According to Pew Research Center, Mail Online ranked as the tenth most-visited news outlet in the U.S. in January with more than 51 million unique visitors for the month. The Daily Mail bills itself as the most-read English-language news site in the world.
In the U.S., Daily Mail has beefed up its editorial staff to nearly 200 people chasing stories to complement its strength in Britain.
Daily Mail is said to have had discussions with numerous TV partners before settling with Jay McGraw’s banner. Specifics on the format of the show are still being hammered out. It is likely to be pitched to station buyers as a combination TV and digital package, to help them tap into the reach of Mail Online. However, it’s understood that the partners will consider cable options as well once they formally begin shopping the show to buyers.
Pennington has newsmagazine experience from her years on “Entertainment Tonight” and “Hard Copy” prior to the launch of “Dr. Phil” in 2002 and “Doctors” in 2008.
Jay McGraw has worked on both sides of the camera as a producer and host of such series as Fox’s “Renovate My Family” and as a frequent contributor to his father’s daily yakker, “Dr. Phil.”
(Pictured: Carla Pennington, Phil McGraw, Jay McGraw)