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Will Needy Stations Be Kicked to `Curb'?

December 11, 2006 12:00 AM

Stations lamenting the dearth of new off-net strips for the 2008 season could soon be showing some "Enthusiasm." Though an HBO Films representative denied that such plans are in the works, cable and station sources are already hearing rumblings that HBO's critical darling comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" may make the move into syndication as early as 2008. Currently there are no (that's right, zero) syndicated off-net comedies in the pipeline for the 2008-09 season-a first for the industry in the digital era. That void is largely due to the reality-crazed and drama-heavy network lineups in recent seasons that left precious few comedies available with which stations could plug their schedules. That situation alone may have created a clamor for the Larry David series among program buyers scrambling for new product in their lineups. The pressing question is whether there will be enough episodes of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to strip on a cable network and/or station group by 2008 or even 2009. There are currently 50 episodes in the can and another season in the works, which, by the time the series goes into syndication, could put the total number of shows at more than 70-low by most standards but not unheard of. In contrast, the 2009-10 season promises to show a dramatic off-net turnaround when series such as NBC Universal's "The Office" and Twentieth's "My Name Is Earl" are in position to enter syndication.

-Chris Pursell

CBS News Adds to Mitchell's Work Load

Russ Mitchell will join CBS's "Early Show" as news anchor, a role the well-populated morning show has not had in recent years. Added to his existing responsibilities, the new assignment, which starts Jan. 2, will make the omnipresent Mr. Mitchell the hardest-working anchor at CBS-and this only four weeks into his marriage to Karina Mahtani, who freelances entertainment reports to the network. In addition to the new weekday role, in which he will file reports and fill in when co-hosts are absent, Mr. Mitchell continues as anchor of the Sunday night "CBS Evening News With Russ Mitchell," as one of the rotating anchors for the Saturday "Evening News" and as a correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning." Mr. Mitchell joined CBS News in 1992 as an anchor of the overnight "Up to the Minute" broadcast.

-Michele Greppi

So Many Spinoffs, So Little Time

Even "CSI" creator Anthony Zuiker can't keep up with all his spinoffs. At last week's Hollywood Radio & Television Society luncheon in Beverly Hills, Mr. Zuiker admitted that his TiVo is overloaded with "CSI," "CSI: Miami" and "CSI: NY" episodes. "I try to [watch them all]," he said. "It's very hard." Asked which city he would pick for-heaven forbid-a fourth "CSI" installment, Mr. Zuiker's choice was hardly a twist: Los Angeles. -James HIbberd