Tribune clicks ‘Camera’

Co. also clears stations for DIC Kids

NEW YORK — Tribune Entertainment has bought cable/TV syndication rights to 137 half-hours of “Candid Camera” and will start pitching the show at the NATPE convention, which kicks off Tuesday.

In another deal on the eve of NATPE, Tribune signed a contract to clear TV stations for the DIC Kids Network, consisting of three-hour programming blocks of children’s shows that meet FCC guidelines for mixing education and entertainment.

Tribune takes title to the “Candid Camera” shows that ran as half-hours on CBS from February 1998 to September 2000 and as one-hours on Pax TV beginning in January 2001. Host is Peter Funt, son of original host and creator Allen Funt. The Tribune “Camera” package draws on two of Peter Funt’s separate co-hosts since 1998, Suzanne Somers and Dina Eastwood.

Steve Mulderrig, exec VP of domestic and cable sales for Tribune Entertainment, said the company is still formulating its sales strategy for “Camera.” But with so many episodes in the package, Tribune may focus on cable nets such as ABC Family, TBS and Comedy Central, which would pay cash license fees and be willing to absorb all 137 half-hours, plus three one-hour specials also being offered.

In rerun syndication, it may be harder for Tribune to get TV stations to pay cash for “Camera.” In that case, Tribune would share the advertising spots with the stations, making the company’s revenues heavily dependent on the health of the ad marketplace.

Cash plays no role in the DIC Kids Network, which is a pure advertiser-supported syndicated offering. Tribune splits ad revenues with the stations, with each of the two parties getting three minutes per half-hour. (The stations get only 2½ minutes for weekend play because FCC rules are stricter on Saturday and Sunday.)