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In Syndication, All Eyes Now On 2013

With the 2012-13 syndication season barely underway, distributors and broadcasters are turning their attention to next season. Fox gave Warner Bros. the green light on the tested Bethenny Frankel (left) talk show, and Sony is close to a deal for Queen Latifa. Tribune is developing a court show and the wannabes are lining up.
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Even through broadcast syndication's fall season is less than three weeks old, distributors, broadcasters and would-be first-run stars are already looking ahead to 2013.

Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution this week lined up the Fox Television Stations as the major-market outlet for Bethenny, setting the stage for its debut sometime next year.

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Sony Pictures Television is actively shopping Queen Latifah, and, according to some on the receiving end of the pitches, is close to making a deal with a major-market launch group.

And Tribune Broadcasting is confirmed to be taping seven episodes of a court show in partnership with ITV Studios America with lawyer and former Court TV host Michael William Lebron with hopes of a 2013 roll out.

The two talk shows take different tacks. In her test run on Fox this summer, former reality star Bethenny Frankel talked about what women talk about with their friends – relationships, careers and sex. Actress-singer Queen Latifah celebrates people who are making a difference in the world or need a hand in doing that.

Broadcasters who have seen the Latifah pilot with actress Cameron Diaz as guest say that it is a polished production with two out-of-the studio segments. In one, Latifah surprises a group of students by having singer Alicia Keys record a song with them.

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Sony declined to comment for this story.

Fox picked up Bethenny in 17 markets, including  WNYW New York, KTTV Los Angeles and four other stations that were part of the summer test.

“It will depend on the market, but Wendy Williams may be a great companion show for Bethenny, which it was during the test,” says Frank Cicha, senior vice president of programming at Fox Television Stations. “But this could also air later in the afternoon, maybe 2 p.m., 3 p.m. or 4 p.m.”

Warner Bros. is now talking to other station groups about the show, and those discussions will help decide when to schedule the start of the show. Right now, Warner Bros. doesn't know whether it will go for a fall launch or a date earlier in the year.

Bethenny is executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres, host of the what is currently syndication's No. 1 talk show.

“It was developed in some ways to be a companion to Ellen,” says Ken Werner, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. “It can be, but whether it will be or not is up to the marketplace. Ellen is matched up with all sorts of wonderful shows."

It's too early to say how much room there will be for new first-run shows, but distributors believe there will be opportunities.

“Daytime is locked up, but NBC stations have at least one hole,” says one syndication executive. “They have Access Hollywood Live and, frankly, Jeff Probst has to perform for NBC to keep it on.”

NBCUniversal’s newsmagazine Access Hollywood Live, which airs on 15 stations, including six NBC O&Os, is up for renewal. CBS Television Distribution’s Jeff Probst is in the first of its two-year deal with NBC stations. So far, its numbers have been less than what CTD and NBC had hoped.

Other first-run shows up for renewal are Warner Bros.’ revamped Anderson Live, Twentieth Television’s new Ricki and Debmar-Mercury’s Jeremy Kyle.

Eyeing the possible openings are celebrity chefs Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis. They have a talk show in the early stages of development with CDT.

Also looking for first-run opportunities, according to syndication sources:

Former Today and The View co-host Meredith Vieira. For several months, she and her agent have been pitching a talk show. Vieira currently hosts the Disney-ABC game show Millionaire.

Singer Toni Braxton’s sisters, who star with Toni Braxton in the WE tv reality show Braxton Family Values.

Reality star Aubrey O’Day, who is best known for appearing on NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice.

Food Network star Paula Deen, with a game show called Food Chain. It’s based on an Italian show. The latest word is that it's headed for cable.

American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe, with Good News Girls, a View-type show co-hosted by Los Angeles news anchors.

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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 26, 2016
  • 1.
    4.4/12
  • 2.
    2.8/8
  • 3.
    2.5/7
  • 4.
    1.5/4
  • 5.
    0.8/2
  • 6.
    0.3/1
Source: Nielsen

Reviews

  • Rob Owen

    Easily fall’s best broadcast network comedy pilot, NBC’s The Good Place offers a clever high-concept premise that’s complemented with intelligent, sometimes absurdist humor. Created by Michael Schur, co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, The Good Place is a highly serialized series that’s essentially set in heaven and stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. NBC made five episodes of The Good Place available for review, and the show not only holds up, but also it improves, deepening characters that initially feel one-note and frequently leaving viewers guessing with cliffhanger endings to many of the episodes. The combination of snappy dialogue and winning but flawed characters makes The Good Place a great bet for fans of smart TV comedy.

  • Maureen Ryan

    Pitch has swagger, for good reason. It gets the big things right; the Fox drama about the first female baseball player in the Major Leagues is one of the year’s most assured and exciting debuts. But part of what impresses about the pilot is also the way it confidently strings together so many small but telling details. Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is the first woman to be called up from the minors to the big leagues, and no show since Friday Night Lights has done a better job of portraying the internal and external pressures that weigh heavily on young athletes asked to do much more than merely succeed on the field. Pitch will likely do a good job of getting viewers to root for it. The hope is that the show won’t be an impressive, short-lived curiosity, but rather a long-term phenomenon.

  • Kevin Fallon

    In a fall TV season that’s already making a splash for championing diverse, distinctive voices in an array of projects that they created, wrote, and starred in, Better Things on FX stands out. The show is created by, written by, and starsPamela Adlon. She plays Sam Fox, the single mother of three daughters modeled after her own reality-show-ready experience raising three girls in Los Angeles following a divorce. Sam is also, like Adlon, a working actress — on shows both raunchy, a la Californication, and animated for children, like her role on Recess. It’s a refreshingly blunt take on single motherhood without sacrificing the warmth of parental love, portraying the dance between selfishness and selflessness that’s at the heart of being a parent — especially one weathering the hormonal fireworks of a household of four women at different ages.

  • David Wiegand

    The fall TV season doesn’t count as much as it used to — we already know that. But no matter how many retreads the broadcast networks throw at viewers in the next few months, this fall will be memorable because of the premiere of Atlanta on Tuesday, Sept. 6, on FX. The half-hour comedy created by and starring Donald Glover (Community), simply and brilliantly recalibrates our expectations of what a TV comedy is and how black lives are portrayed on the medium.

  • Louisa Ada Seltzer

    The second reboot of the 1980s John Candy movie Uncle Buck, bumped by ABC from midseason, has the same tired jokes you'll find on any second-rate sitcom. Too bad, because Mike Epps is appealing and ABC would be wise to keep him around for future shows, but there’s just not enough to this show to suggest it will last past summer. It also airs against NBC’s America’s Got Talent, summer’s No. 1 program on broadcast, which may make it even harder to find an audience.

  • Neil Genzlinger

    Bryan Cranston brings his Tony Award-winning interpretation of President Lyndon B. Johnson to television in an adaptation of the Robert Schenkkan play All the Way, and it’s still quite a sight to behold, just as it was on Broadway in 2014. Nothing beats witnessing this kind of larger-than-life portrayal onstage, of course. But the television version, presented by HBO, offers plenty of rewards, allowing Cranston to work the close-ups and liberating him from the confines of a theater set. Cranston’s performance is a gem — in his hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it.

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