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Steve Harvey Gains Ownership, Creative Control in New Talk Show Deal With NBCUniversal, IMG

Steve Harvey has set a deal with NBCUniversal and IMG to launch a syndicated daytime talk show next fall that will give him a sizable ownership stake and control over the production.

Harvey has spent five seasons in daytime fronting an eponymous talk show produced by Endemol Shine North America and distributed by NBCUniversal Domestic Television. NBCU will remain the distributor for the IMG-produced series, and NBCU’s O&O stations will remain the core affiliate group for the show in top markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The existing “Steve Harvey Show” has been one of the very few successful daytime launches of the past decade. NBCU expects to line up many of the incumbent “Steve Harvey” stations. Reps for NBCUniversal and IMG declined comment.

In moving the production to IMG, Harvey commands a big ownership stake in the show and will have greater say in steering its creative direction. The busy comedian and host is repped by WME. The deal marks another yet expansion of WME/IMG into the content production and distribution arena, marking its biggest series effort to date. The Harvey show will be overseen by IMG’s original content team that is steered by WME/IMG co-president Mark Shapiro.

The prospect of a talent agency serving as the production entity for a client’s series raises the potential for conflicts of interest. But as WME/IMG has broadened its operations, IMG-affiliated production activity has been positioned as a way for clients, such as Harvey, to benefit through a level of ownership and control that would be hard to achieve with a third-party production pact. IMG, for example, has financed and distributed the last two films from WME-repped filmmaker Michael Moore: “Where to Invade Next” and the just-released “Michael Moore in TrumpLand.”

The new Harvey show is expected to move to Los Angeles and be more celebrity-focused than the current show, which is produced in Chicago. The location of the show is said to have been a source of tension between Harvey and Endemol Shine. His contract with Endemol Shine is up after the current season.

Harvey is one of TV’s busiest personalities. He’s host of NBC’s “Little Big Shots” and ABC’s “Celebrity Family Feud” in addition to his talk show, as well as the daytime syndication edition of “Family Feud.” He also fronts a syndicated daily radio program, plus high-profile TV specials including Fox’s Miss Universe pageant and Fox’s revival of “It’s Showtime at the Apollo” as a two-hour special to air Dec. 5.

The new-model Harvey show is one of only a handful of first-run syndication projects coming together for fall 2017. Endemol Shine is launching the “Page Six TV” entertainment newsmagazine and Warner Bros. is believed to be in the midst of packaging a talk show fronted by actress Drew Barrymore.

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