The Fox Television Stations will pony up an estimated $ 140,000 a week for “The Gordon Elliott Show,” a new fall 1994 daytime chatshow from producer CBS Entertainment Prods. and syndicator Twentieth TV.
Although Twentieth’s signing of its sister TV station wing is no surprise, the weekly license fee for a new cash-plus-barter talkshow has raised some eyebrows. It’s nearly double the group price paid for some other frosh talkers.
Fox beat out the CBS O&Os in New York and Los Angeles, which had reportedly put formidable offers on the table.
Still, Elliott, an Aussie perhaps best known as a comical contributor on Fox-owned WNYW’s “Good Morning, New York,” may wind up on several CBS-owned stations. Its O&Os in Miami, Minneapolis and Green Bay don’t overlap with Fox stations.
Station rep sources dismissed the notion the unusually high license fee is the result of a bidding war between the station groups belonging to the show’s partners. They suggest it was more likely the result of Twentieth’s efforts to boost the cash value of the show.
Since the two Fox Inc. subsids are merely putting money from one pocket into the other, the actual license fee will be only $ 70,000 a week for partner CBS.
In confirming the sale, CBS Entertainment VP of latenight and non-network programming Rod Perth denied the reps’ scenario. He said the Eye web insisted on a “free market bidding process” in which all stations would be on equal footing for the program.
Meanwhile, Four Point Entertainment, one of the original partners in the talkshow when it was announced earlier this year (Daily Variety, April 15), bowed out when CBS decided to produce it in a locale other than Los Angeles, part of a cost-saving move. This marks CBS Entertainment Prods.’ first foray into firstrun syndication. It had originally signed a pact with Elliott for a 13 -week talkshow tryout this past summer on several stations, but when the network gave an hour of time back to affiliates, Perth scrubbed that plan and opted to take it into syndication.