Meredith Vieira is returning to syndication as the host of a quiz show set for a fall 2019 national launch via Fox Television Stations, Twentieth Television and Lisa Kudrow’s Is or Isn’t Entertainment.
Based on a popular board game of the same name, “25 Words or Less” is described as a quiz show that challenges teams of contestants to guess a list of words from prompts that are under 25 words. Fox Television Stations is shopping the half-hour strip to station buyers for a fall launch. It is already cleared in 40% of the country on the Fox O&O group.
The show had a three-week trial run on Fox stations last August. “25 Words” hails from Kudrow and her Is or Isn’t partner Dan Bucatinsky, actress Mary McCormack and director Michael Morris of the Regular Bread banner, showrunner John Quinn and game creator Bruce Sterten.
“I don’t need 25 words to say how excited I am to host this fabulous game,” Vieira said. “Everyone will love playing along.”
Vieira, a former “Today” anchor and “60 Minutes” correspondent, had a long run as the syndicated host of the Disney-distributed “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” She also fronted a talk show of her own, “Meredith,” for NBCUniversal from 2014-2016.
The decision to gamble on a national rollout of “25 Words” is a sign that Fox’s station unit will continue its aggressive pursuit of fresh daytime fare. The Fox Television Stations have made test runs of shows a staple of its program development process. Earlier this month, Fox announced a January test run for a self help-focused yakker fronted by Dr. Steve Perry.
Vieira’s show joins a handful of other series on deck for fall 2019 launches, including a Kelly Clarkson talker from NBCUniversal Domestic Television and the Jerry Springer court show “Judge Jerry,” also from NBCUniversal. The syndication market has been barren of hits lately, amid the broader disruption in viewing habits.
“We’re pulling for a hit here, because it feels like 25 shows or more since there’s been one in syndication,” said Frank Cicha, senior VP of programming for Fox Television Stations.