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‘Danza’ dances again

Rookie syndie beats odds, set for 2nd season

NEW YORK — “The Tony Danza Show” appears to have beaten the odds.

Up to 80% of rookie syndicated TV shows never make it to a sophomore season, and although “Danza” distrib Buena Vista TV hasn’t announced a firm go for the 2005-06 season, exec VP of sales John Bryan said TV stations in 90 markets, covering 60% of the U.S., have agreed to continue with the series in year two.

Based on those vote-of-confidence renewals, Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz TV, which represents hundreds of TV-station clients, said, “My assumption is that ‘Danza’ is a go for the second season. Tony comes off as likable, and he’s proven his ability to host a live television show.”

In addition to the “Danza” clearances, Bryan said two of Buena Vista’s long-running series, “Live With Regis & Kelly” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” have landed long-term renewals in more than 60% of the country, guaranteeing that both will stay in production through the 2007-08 season.

Many of the renewals for all three shows are a tribute to vertical integration, coming as they do from ABC-owned stations, which, like Buena Vista, are divisions of Walt Disney.

But Bryan said he’s talking to non-ABC stations in Los Angeles and Chicago to secure better time periods for “Danza.” KABC Los Angeles and WLS, the ABC O&O in Chicago, are forced to carry “Danza” in latenight time periods — which ensures low ratings for the show — because neither station has an available daytime slot.

But three of ABC’s most powerful owned stations are on board for “Danza,” “Regis” and “Millionaire”: WABC New York, WPVI Philadelphia and KGO San Francisco.

Among the other groups with stations that have committed for a second year of “Danza,” Bryan said, are Gannett, Belo, Tribune, Cox and Hearst.