Inside Move: Psychics to rule syndie

Surge follows 'Crossing Over' news

Ever since Studios USA Domestic TV cleared the upcoming syndie version of Sci Fi’s medium skein “Crossing Over With John Edward,” insiders speculated that development slates for 2002 would be thick with psychics.

Not surprisingly, two of the first projects to be put into development for next year fall squarely into “Crossing Over’s” genre.

A show is being built around astrologer Ferdie Pacheco, son of Muhammad Ali’s “Fight Doctor,” at Tribune Entertainment. Libby Gill, a former Universal and Studios USA exec who was an early proponent of Edward, is attached as a producer of the Pacheco project, along with John Kalish.

And NBC Enterprises and Syndication is working on a project with psychic Char Margolis. NBC’s Stuart Krasnow is heading the project.

Pacheco has a high-powered client list, as well as a Web site, askferdie.com. He had a deal at one point for his astrology advice to be featured in the Spacescope section of Sci Fi channels’ Web site, scifi.com.

Infomercial fortuneteller Miss Cleo is also making the rounds. Among other new age names being floated around are Sylvia Browne and James Von Prague.

Agent Richard Lawrence, who packaged “Crossing Over,” said he’s not at all surprised to hear of the surge in psychic projects.

“I’ve been to at least four studios this week who say their mandate is to get something like ‘John Edward’ off the ground,” said Lawrence, who also packaged another show that led to a slew of copycats, “Judge Judy.”

“The problem is, the studios should go back and find an original idea. I look for what’s not there, and I found it. I think John started the trend because he’s different.”