Tribune under Raimi’s spell

TV stations grab rights to 'Wizard's First Rule'

Tribune Broadcasting’s TV stations have bought the rights to “Wizard’s First Rule,” Sam Raimi’s new syndicated adventure series from Disney-ABC Domestic TV.

The weekly live-action hour, which kicks off in the fall, is based on Terry Goodkind’s bestselling “The Sword of Truth” series of novels. The plot follows a woodsman who gets supernatural powers and joins with a mysterious young woman to do battle with an evil dictator.

Marc Schacher, senior VP of programming and development for Tribune Broadcasting, said he’s “eager to reunite with the creative forces that brought us so much success with ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys’ and ‘Xena: Warrior Princess.'”

ABC Studios will produce “Wizard’s First Rule,” its first foray into broadcast syndication. Robert Tapert, who produced “Xena” and “Hercules,” will be one of the co-executive producers of the new show along with Raimi, Joshua Donenand Ned Nalle.

Tribune’s stations reside in markets representing 35% of the U.S. Call letters include WPIX New York, KTLA Los Angeles and WGN Chicago.

Instead of cash license fees, Disney-ABC and Tribune will share in the advertising revenues from each “Wizard’s First Rule” episode. Casting will be announced soon.