Syndie specs heat up

Gospel, R&B highlight offerings from WB, MGM

The syndie specials business is perking up after a few years of lackluster offerings.

Black Pearl Entertainment and Warner Bros. have done so well with their quarterly specials showcasing R&B artists that the partners are expected to shift the series into the weekly hour mode next fall, sources say. The December-January installment of “R&B ’97,” to air in December and January, will be a year-end review hosted by crooners Gerald Levert, Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill.

The production partners behind “R&B ’97,” Tri-Crown Prods. and Warner Bros. Domestic Pay-TV, Cable & Network Features, also have a new holiday special hosted by gospel star BeBe Winans and “Living Single’s” Kim Fields-Freeman. “Bringin’ in the Holidays with BeBe Winans & Friends” is set to air nationally from Nov. 27 through Dec. 24.

MGM is looking to build a long-term franchise with its “National Enquirer Presents” quarterly specs. The latest, “National Enquirer Presents: Love, Marriage & Divorce Hollywood Style,” is set to air between Nov. 17 and Dec. 14 on 141 stations covering 87% of U.S. TV households.

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