Time Looks Right For 'Right This Minute'
For the little guy, there’s a pretty big barrier to entry into syndicated TV. The business is dominated by just a handful of buyers — the TV station groups that purchase programs — and sellers — the Hollywood studios that produce and distribute those programs.
But that barrier is not insurmountable, according to Phil Alvidrez, who spoke today at NATPE in Miami Beach, Fla. He’s the executive in charge of production on Right This Minute, a show now in its third season that has taken an unconventional path to success.
For one thing, RTM is a new TV genre, social-media TV. RTM shows viral videos and then interviews the people who created them.
Alvidrez notes that it has been a while since a new syndicated TV genre has emerged. “Two things happened in 1981 that changed TV: People’s Court went on the air and [so did] Entertainment Tonight. “Suddenly, we had court shows and newsmagazines, in addition to talk shows, game shows and sitcoms. But, since then? Zip. I hope this is the next new category.”
He says that other social media shows are popping up, including Comedy Central’s late night show @Midnight and a viral video show that Ryan Seacrest is developing.
“I hope it becomes a new category,” Alvidrez says. “If it does, we’re the first hit in that new category. It’s always better to be first.”
Right This Minute also took an unconventional route to national distribution. It is cleared on TV stations reaching 85% of U.S. TV households, up from 30% last year.
Rather than have the show produced in Hollywood and distributed by a major studio, Right This Minute is produced by MagicDust Television in Phoenix. And it was created in partnership with station groups Cox Media, Raycom and Scripps.
“We took it to TV stations, and Raycom, Cox and Scripps said, ‘Yeah, maybe,’ ” says Alvidrez. “We tested the show for four months. What we found is that viewers got it. They said, ‘Oh, RTM shows videos before they go viral and then tells the story behind them.’ ”
He says some other station groups took a little time to embrace the show. “We showed it to a number of group heads and they said, ‘What is that?’ ‘It’s not a talk show.’ ‘It’s not a game show.’ ‘What do I do with it?’ ”
After two seasons, MGM stepped in to handle national distribution for Right This Minute, which has been renewed for a fourth season to begin this fall.
“With the consolidation we’ve seen in the marketplace, it’s no longer unusual for broadcasters to create content,” Alvidrez says. “So, the same studios that looked at us as an oddity are probably now thinking this can’t be ignored.”