Peacock, Lion split

MGM, NBC end syndie ad pact

NEW YORK — NBC and MGM are dissolving the joint venture they set up two years ago to sell advertising on the syndicated TV shows that each produces and distributes.

“This decision was inevitable,” said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for the Katz TV rep firm. “Now that NBC and Universal Television have become consolidated, MGM would have got lost in the shuffle.”

Chris Kager, president of the disappearing MGM/NBC Media Sales Group, will shift over to exec veep of media sales for NBC Universal Domestic TV Distribution. Kager displaces Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, who has resigned as exec VP of advertiser sales for Universal TV Distribution, which got absorbed into NBC U.

On the MGM side, Michael Daraio, exec VP of media sales for the discontinued NBC/MGM venture, becomes exec VP, MGM media sales.

Kager said he’s pumped up because NBC U media sales is “stepping up to become a major player” in barter syndication.

The 38 hours a week of ad-supported NBC U syndie programming makes “us the second-biggest media-sales company in the business,” said Kager, behind only Warner Bros. Domestic, which sells national time in 47 hours’ worth of TV series.

Kager said NBC U sells spots on syndie programming that TV stations schedule across all dayparts, from “The Jerry Springer Show” and “The Maury Povich Show” in daytime to the new “Jane Pauley Show” in early fringe to “Blind Date” in latenight. Reruns of “Fear Factor” also make their debut in off-network syndication this fall.

Based on a previous deal, Warner Bros. sells the ad time on “Access Hollywood,” which NBC U owns and distributes.

In a statement, Barry Wallach, president of NBC U Domestic TV Distribution, and Jim Packer, exec VP of TV distribution for MGM North America, made it clear that the split was amicable. In Packer’s words, “It made sense to both sides to end this particular venture at this time.”

Carroll said another reason for the divorce is that MGM may end up in a new business arrangement soon if one of its suitors, including Sony and Time Warner, buys the Lion.

According to NBC U and MGM, the split will not affect the ongoing deal for MGM’s international distribution of NBC Enterprises product or MGM’s strategic alliance with CNBC Asia Pacific for an MGM Channel across greater China and Southeast Asia.

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