On the cusp of the 2000 NATPE market in the Big Easy, syndicators of some of the most anticipated shows to enter the confab have nailed key clearances as execs scramble to fill the precious few holes available in the schedules.
Telepictures gameshow “Street Smarts,” Studios USA’s dramatic reality strip “Arrest and Trial,” New Line’s duo of relationship gamer “First Date” and actioner “Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher” and Twentieth’s off-net runs of “The Practice” all inked carriage deals with a variety of stations nationally, putting a little less stress on the backs of the salesmen.
Upcoming quizzer “Street Smarts,” which puts the burden of answering questions on the “man-in-the-street” instead of contestants, has been sold to the Tribune station group by Telepictures, and has now cleared more than 60% of the country. Among the stations readying the show for a fall 2000 launch are WPIX in Gotham, KTLA in Los Angeles and WGN in Chicago. The strip was created by Scott St. John, who developed “Change of Heart” for the company, and has been targeted for latenight runs. Frank Nicotero will host.
“We’ve been pleased with the performance of ‘Change of Heart’ on our stations,” said Michael Eigner, president of Tribune station group. “This series has a broad appeal and is a perfect alternative to latenight talkshows and off-net offerings.”
Meanwhile, heavy anticipation for Dick Wolf’s offering “Arrest and Trial” from Studios USA has helped the new half-hour reality strip to clear 50% of the country including WWOR in New York and KCOP in L.A. The series comes from Wolf Films and Maury Povich’s MoPo Entertainment. Among the station groups now participating in broadcasting the series are Chris-Craft, Tribune, Cox and Hearst.
The series will look at an array of cases from investigation to judgment through footage and re-creations.
New Line has lined up its own block of broadcasters to air “First Date” and Richard Donner’s weekly action hour “Blackheart” now that Tribune has committed to the two series, raising national clearance to 32%. Meanwhile, the WB’s 100+ station group has also jumped on board for the fall launch of the pair. Gotham’s WPIX and L.A.’s KTLA will air both series in the nation’s top markets.
Meanwhile, New Line has also renewed “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World” for a second season and has already pinned 60% of the country for its sophomore year.
On the off-net side, Twentieth TV has closed exclusive weekend deals for the Emmy-winning ABC series “The Practice” for the fall 2001 season. Among the metered markets on board are Chicago’s WPWR, Frisco’s WBWB and Detroit’s WXYZ. Inclusive is a deal with the WB station group, which will put “The Practice” on their lineup the same season. “The enthusiasm in the marketplace for ‘The Practice’ is based upon the fact that it is one of the most acclaimed shows on television,” said Paul Franklin, exec veep and general sales manager for Twentieth. “Off-net hours like ‘The Practice’ are proving to be big winners for stations on the weekends.”