Syndie ‘Insider’ eyed for rebranding

CBS TV Distribution, Yahoo in talks to partner

Is omg! going to be more like TMZ?

Yahoo’s popular gossip-news website may be on the verge of becoming a cross-platform brand akin to Warner Bros. own tabloid franchise given reported talks between the Internet giant and CBS TV Distribution, which is mulling rebranding its syndicated entertainment newsmagazine “The Insider” as “omg! NOW.”

A CTD spokesman declined comment. Reps for Yahoo have yet to respond to an inquiry for comment.

How or if “Insider” would change beyond the title is unclear, though the association with omg! would likely help drive tune-in to the series by giving the program a more prominent perch online. It could also put CTD and Yahoo in position to strike some kind of revenue-sharing arrangement off of cross-platform advertising sales, an arrangement of increasing interest to marketers.

It’s a formula that Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution and Telepictures have scored with via “TMZ,” which started out as a website before spinning off a successful syndie TV extension.

But Yahoo’s OMG is an even bigger draw online than TMZ, according to Comscore traffic stats from August. OMG finished second in the entertainment news category, reaching 29.5 million unique visitors–enough to get ahead of third-place TMZ, with 24.3 million. Both trail Buzzmedia Entertainment, with 31.2 million.

By way of comparison, TheInsider.com reaches just under 1.5 million in the category–good for 37th in a very crowded category. The website was relaunched in 2008.

It’s unclear what an “omg! NOW” TV deal would mean for a Yahoo-run Web show of the same name that also offers daily entertainment news.

“Insider” wouldn’t be the first example of a Yahoo TV tie-in. The company’s Yahoo News property has an extensive content partnership with ABC News that recently notched its first-year anniversary.

OMG itself has had an entertainment newsmagazine partner in the past. Yahoo teamed the website, which launched in 2007, with NBC Universal Domestic TV Distribution’s “Access Hollywood” that same year.

Rebranding would represent a big change for “Insider,” which just entered its ninth season in combination with a longer-running syndie staple from CTD, “Entertainment Tonight.” While the report emphasizes the deal has yet to be completed and the changes wouldn’t go into effect until next year, the series’ executive producers, Linda Bell Blue and Brad Bessey, are expected to remain with the series, as are co-hosts Kevin Frazier and Brooke Anderson.