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`Justice’ sweeps South with regional rollout

Apr 2, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Twentieth Television’s gamble with the reintroduction of regional rollouts paid off last week as new series “Texas Justice” swept the South.

After debuting in first place in the time period in four of the six markets that aired the show, by Thursday the series was tracking ahead of its debut on most of the stations. If the numbers continue to hold up, Twentieth will look to add stations during the summer.

“We’re particularly happy that people are sticking around and enjoying the show,” said Bob Cook, president and chief operating officer at Twentieth Television. “Larry Joe Doherty, our judge, is really a character. Although he takes the job seriously, he’s having fun with it. This series is looking and feeling like it’s moving in the right direction. If it continues, we’ll look to extend the rollout toward the Eastern and Western markets.”

The series debuted on Fox owned-and-operated stations in six markets-Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Birmingham, Ala., Memphis and Greensboro, N.C.-in time slots ranging from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The company will now add a seventh market on April 2 when it debuts in Austin, Texas, on KTBC-TV.

The half-hour strip fared best in Greensboro, Memphis and Atlanta with average ratings of 5.3, 5.2 and 4.8, respectively, with time period wins for the week in Greensboro and Memphis. “Texas Justice” earned an average 4.7 score in Birmingham, a 3.0 in Dallas and a 2.7 in its home city, Houston.

Compared with its lead-in, the series ranged from matching its audience share in Greensboro to losing three share points in Atlanta during its debut week. However, the series outperformed its lead-out in four of the six markets.

Kathryn Seigel Levine serves as executive producer of the show, which is produced by Schrodinger’s Cat Productions in association with Twentieth Television.

“Whether the series turns out to be a success or not, I think it shows that testing locally makes sense, both on paper and practically,” Mr. Cook said. “We’re now more convinced than ever that regional rollouts are a solid formula. Because of this we plan to accelerate our project development slate and hope to get some additional series in the market soon.”