H-A hunts ‘Moments’ animal reality series

Educational skein to show in at least half of nation

A jungle of diverse NATPE projects grew even more territorial now that reality beast Hearst-Argyle is on the verge of greenlighting “Wild Moments” as the latest entry in its four-pack of TV series for fall 2000.

Hearst-Argyle will offer the FCC educational qualifying animal/environment reality series on a barter basis with 26 weekly half-hours available at the market. Jack Hubley will host the series.

The series has already been cleared in 50% of the country including WNYW in New York.

“The entire animal genre is a good niche domestically speaking,” said Hearst-Argyle director of sales and marketing John Budkins. “Families have a lot of interest in animals, but beyond that, on an international basis, animals have even more of an appeal and allow us to create another great franchise industry.”

Fleshing out its lineup for the January market, Hearst-Argyle will bring back several other reality series including popular female lifestyle series “Rebecca’s Garden,” now in its fifth season with host Rebecca Kolls and “Living Better” with Carrie Wiatt.

Also on the plate will be the relaunched and renamed “SOS in America” (formerly “Save Our Streets”) with Carol Martin. The show will provide viewers with information such as safety on cruise ships.

The company will also offer specials for black history month in February featuring Andre Braugher and NAACP president Kweisi Mfume.

“The whole weekly reality genre presents a much lower risk than doing a weekly action hour,” Budkins said.

“We’re sort of operating under the radar and not competing with the likes of Paramount and Warner Bros. Right now we’re just looking for interesting niches to occupy. So far it’s been a highly profitable and lucrative area to be in.”

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