Ordering the court

Big Ticket's 'Judge Joe' inks station deals

“Judge Joe Brown,” the new syndie court show from the creators of “Judge Judy,” is racking up TV station clearances for a fall 1998 bow.

To date, the half-hour strip from Big Ticket Television has been sold to stations covering about 25% of U.S. TV households and 12 of the top 20 markets. Distributor Worldvision Enterprises is offering the show on a cash-plus-barter basis.

As of Friday, there was no confirmed deal for the show in New York and Los Angeles, but sources in both markets say that Worldvision has received multiple offers. In Chicago, the show has been picked up by UPN affil WPWR.

“Judge Joe Brown” is fronted by a judge from Memphis, Tenn., who’s proactive approach to steering criminals straight has been profiled on “60 Minutes” and ‘Nightline,” among other national media outlets. Brown also made headlines this year with his involvement in efforts to win a new trial for James Earl Ray, the convicted killer of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Syndie court shows have come back in style during the last year, thanks to the success of Big Ticket’s “Judge Judy” and Warner Bros.’ revival of “The People’s Court.” Rysher Entertainment last week inked major station deals for another 1998 syndie court entry, “Judge Mills Lane.”

“We are confident that Joe Brown will prevail. This guy bursts off the screen,” says Larry Lyttle, president of Big Ticket. “He’s a unique combination of an urban street kid from South Central Los Angeles with a little sprinkling of a Southern demeanor from having spent the past 20 years in Memphis.”

“Judge Joe Brown” will take on harder-edged cases than those tackled by “Judge Judy.” Lyttle says the show will seek out civil complaints that stem from criminal cases. The show also will give more background on the litigants and their travails in taped segs.

Stations signing on for “Judge Joe Brown” include Fox O&Os in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Wis., and Tampa, Fla.

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