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‘Crook’ chased back to Nashville

“Crook & Chase” is heading back to Nashville.

Universal Television has dropped the syndie talkshow hosted by Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase, but executive producer Jim Owens intends to revive the talker once the production team has resettled in Nashville after a four-month sojourn in Los Angeles.

U moved the production to L.A. last February in an effort to attract a wider range of guests. Late last year, “Crook & Chase” landed a morning timeslot on local indie KCAL, but the show never managed to break into New York and other major markets crucial to the success of a firstrun strip.

For now, “Crook & Chase” is on a two-month production hiatus. The last original episode will air July 4, though Universal will continue to distribute reruns of the talker through Sept. 12.

“Crook & Chase” has slowly but steadily been adding stations to its lineup since early 1996, when Jim Owens & Associates struck a distribution deal with Multimedia Entertainment. U entered the picture last November when it bought the assets of Multimedia Entertainment from Gannett Co.

In a rare display of generosity by a studio, Universal has given its 50% stake in “Crook & Chase” back to Owens, who hopes to keep the show going in some of the 91 markets that currently air the hourlong strip once production resumes in Nashville.

Owens, who is married to Crook, said he’s been approached by other distributors interested in the show, but no deal is imminent.

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