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TelevisionWeek has eyes and ears at NATPE, with Andrew Krukowski, Josef Adalian and Greg Baumann roaming the floor and the suites to give readers the buzz in Las Vegas. Check back frequently for the sightings, asides and hallway murmurs that make NATPE a can’t-miss syndication event.

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December 2008 Archives

Saddling Up

December 5, 2008 9:16 AM

We’ve started down the Road to NATPE and TVWeek is booked for Vegas. Interesting times for the syndication industry to be gathering for its biggest marketplace. And as difficult as the economy is, and as challenging as the syndication marketplace is for new shows, it’s difficult not to get excited. The double-bladed blessing “May you live in interesting times” seems apt for journalists covering the industry. This year, TVWeek’s coverage of NATPE will be more intensive than ever: Exclusive interviews with decisionmakers, an unprecedented amount of video and more staffers on the ground than I’ve ever seen will add up to complete coverage you won’t find anywhere else.
—Greg Baumann

Hug It Out...

December 5, 2008 9:14 AM

I can say I’ve seen it all. The first big component of TVWeek’s Road to NATPE coverage, our Syndication Roundtable, produced one of the biggest surprises I’ve ever seen in my survey of industry coverage: true fellowship between one of the massive TV syndicators and one of the upstarts. During the roundtable, Debmar-Mercury Co-President Mort Marcus gave CBS Television Distribution’s “The Doctors” huge respect for building ratings since it launched. His praise was so effusive that CBS TV Distribution boss John Nogawski got out his chair, walked over to Mort, and gave him a huge hug. Wow… I repeat, wow.

—Greg Baumann

That’s Just the Way It Is...

December 5, 2008 9:14 AM

One of the eternal debates in the syndication industry came to the fore at TVWeek’s syndication roundtable. Debmar’s Mort Marcus argued strongly that long-term deals that put shows on stations for years are hurting the vitality of the industry and in fact keeping ratings low. CBS TV Distribution’s John Nogawski told Mort that there’s a reason for that: stations don’t want to churn through unsuccessful shows. Around and around the debate went. In the end, of course, it’s a market reality: consolidation has created the conditions that make any alternatives almost unimaginable.

—Greg Baumann

Oprah Gawker/Stalker

December 5, 2008 9:11 AM

Fantasy scenario: Oprah at NATPE. Yeah, she doesn’t have any obvious reason to go unless she likes the tables or the sports books. (Spas and restaurants, maybe?) But with syndication Kremlinologists like myself parsing every word Oprah says about her career plans, the prospect sets journalists salivating. Of course, that salivation will certainly be restricted to the parties and buffets.

—Greg Baumann

The Cobra and the Mongoose

December 5, 2008 9:10 AM

There’s a cobra-mongoose dynamic intensifying between stations and syndication companies. TV stations are up against the ropes, having suffered continual revenue bleed for the last few years. It sets up an ugly spiral. Less revenue means less to spend on programming, which means they can only afford cheaper programming, which bleeds audience, which leads to lower ad revenue, and the cycle continues. When does the syndication industry reach its tipping point? The prospect of digital subchannels further fragmenting the audience is giving me the willies.

—Greg Baumann