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More `Extra' for NBCU Station Group

January 29, 2007 12:00 AM

The NBC Universal-owned station group has picked up three more years of entertainment newsmagazine show "Extra," eliminating a potential programming hole in the stations' all-important prime access hour.

"Extra" producer Telepictures Productions has also renewed deals with "Extra" co-hosts Dayna Devon and Mark McGrath, as well as senior executive producer Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey.

"We're thrilled to have Dayna Devon and Mark McGrath in place as the on-air leaders of `Extra' going forward, under the leadership of Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey," said Telepictures President Hilary Estey McLoughlin. "In her seven years with the program, Dayna has established herself as one of the best interviewers and anchors in the entertainment news business. Mark has proven to be incredibly versatile, easily making the transformation from rock star to entertainment anchor."

So far this season, "Extra" is pulling a 2.2 rating, down a modest 4 percent from the 2.3 it had been averaging through the same point in the 2005-06 season.

The long-running half-hour newsmagazine is now sold in 95 percent of the country through the 2009-10 season. The deal with the NBC Universal owned-and-operated stations includes WNBC-TV in New York, KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and WMAQ-TV in Chicago. Additionally, the series has been renewed on the NBC television stations in Philadelphia (WCAU-TV), San Francisco/San Jose (KNTV), Dallas (KXAS-TV), Miami (WTVJ-TV) and Hartford, Conn. (WVIT-TV).

"For more than a dozen years, `Extra' has consistently provided first-rate entertainment journalism and compelling stories, along with impressive ratings," said Ken Werner, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, which syndicates the program.

The pending expiration of the current contract between "Extra" and the NBC Universal-owned station group had prompted widespread speculation throughout the syndication industry that NBC Universal would produce a half-hour of its own programming to pair with "Access Hollywood." The new deal, of course, would remove any likelihood of that happening until the next decade.

-Chris Pursell

The Swag Report

Item: Medieval Pen

Company: The History Channel

Promoting: The two-hour special "The Dark Ages" on March 4

Comment: Behold ye History Channel pen! Surely this noble wand will increase your penmanship rating by three points (but possibly cost you a few charisma points among your co-workers).

Alternate use: The pointy metal knight's head makes for a decent back scratcher, though Sir Blink wishes its reach were longer.

-James Hibberd

Prince vs. Five Drag Queens

Forget Prince. Howard Stern knows what guys want to see during the Super Bowl halftime. Subscribers to Howard TV on Demand will be able to watch "The Stupid Bowl III: The Boys vs. the Girls." The game pits five "Howard Stern Show" staffers and wack-packers against a group of drag queens, raising the eternal question: How fast can someone run in a pair of leather boots with six-inch stiletto heels? Blink fears the answer to that question might be unintelligible because the color commentator for the game will be Stern regular Crackhead Bob, whose predilection for the rock left him verbally impaired. And if all that isn't exciting enough, four Penthouse Pets will serve as cheerleaders.

-Jon Lafayette