CBS working on new mag show ’24 Hours’

CBS Entertainment is developing a syndicated magazine show based on the Eye Web’s hit series “48 Hours,” according to industry sources.

Dubbed “24 Hours,” the show is slated for a fall 1994 launch. CBS is shopping the proposed 7-8 p.m. prime access series to several major syndicators, including Paramount.

The studio, which already has two established access magazine strips with “Entertainment Tonight” and “Hard Copy,” is said to be developing a project similar in scope to “24 Hours” that would likely be scrapped if the network and studio can reach an agreement.

CBS needs to find a suitor with deep pockets for “24 Hours.” The show is expected to cost at least $ 20 million to produce in its first season.

Coupled with other marketing costs, the program would have to be launched at a deficit.

“24 Hours” is one of two firstrun projects in development under the auspices of a new unit at CBS Entertainment for non-network programming.

The unit was formed to take advantage of changes in the Federal Communications Commission’s financial interest and syndication rules, which paved the way for the Big Three webs to cash in on the lucrative $ 5 billion domestic syndication market.

As previously reported, CBS has struck a deal with Twentieth TV to distribute the “Elliott” project. But the Fox syndie subsid has reportedly passed on “24 Hours” because the company is focusing all of its attention on resuscitating the aging granddaddy of tabloid newsmags, “A Current Affair.”

Although CBS will own both inhouse-produced shows, the network is required under the remaining fin-syn regs to farm out the projects to a third party for the sale and distribution to local stations.

“We’ve got several projects in development targeted for syndication,” says Rod Perth, CBS veep for late night, who declines to comment on specific projects.

Sources say CBS is in negotiations with John Terenzio to executive produce ” 24 Hours.” Terenzio, a veteran of ABC News and NBC News, left executive producing duties on “A Current Affair” last March to set up his production firm in Miami.

If CBS decides to go with Terenzio, “24 Hours” would be produced in Miami, where production costs are approximately 15%-20% lower than the $ 400,000-$ 450, 000 average weekly cost of syndicated magazine shows.

“24 Hours” will face a crowded field of syndie mags. In addition to the two Par mags and “Affair,” King World is enjoying success with “Inside Edition.” Additionally, KW is launching the “Edition” companion strip “American Journal” this fall.

On the weekly front, Multimedia Entertainment is seeking to get “I File” off the ground and Buena Vista TV will launch “The Crusaders,” a weekly mag it hopes to develop into a five-day-a-week show.

Other players, including Time Telepictures Television, and Viacom, all have syndie newsmags on the drawing board.

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