King World has reportedly pulled the plug on its fall 1994 development project “Criminal Justice,” a”Cops”-like reality show that it had discussed with some broadcasters and station sales reps.
The syndicator declined to comment, but sources said the reason for the move is Warner Bros.’ entrance into the access arena with “Entertainment News Television,” which is also earmarked for fall ’94.
KW reportedly wants to put its major focus on its new newsmag “American Journal,” which premieres next month and will be vying against “ENT” (and a spate of other prospective newsmags) for the same access slots in September of next year.
“They want to concentrate on upgrades rather than having to compete with themselves (with another project),” a source said.
KW still remains in active development on other projects, however. Among those reportedly under consideration are a “Hollywood Squares” revival and a talkshow hosted by Deirdre Hall from “Days of Our Lives.”
WB, meanwhile, is fast at work clearing “ENT.” The syndicator isn’t discussing clearances — other than the previously announced sale of the show to the NBC O&Os in Los Angeles and New York for access — but sources say WB is entering into multitier deals in a number of markets.
The syndicator is said to be working on deals with CBS affil KPIX-TV in San Francisco as well as stations in Seattle, Phoenix (KPNX), Denver, San Diego and Tucson, Ariz.
Warner is believed to have secured deals from KOIN-TV in Portland, Ore., a station in Columbus, Ohio, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. The latter needed “ENT” to replace “A Current Affair” after Twentieth TV transferred the show to another station in the market.
It is uncertain if any of the stations entering into multitier arrangements with WB are buying the syndicator’s line that “ENT” is more “advertiser-friendly” than tabloid vets like “Affair”– a pitch aimed at luring away “Affair’s” access slots.