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`Power’ shift for 20th court strip

May 14, 2001  •  Post A Comment

There will be a new power overseeing the legal docket for syndication’s top new strip.
Distributor Twentieth Television has tapped Cleveland Judge Lynn Toler to rule the courtroom of “Power of Attorney,” replacing former Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, who presided over the strip in its rookie season.
Ms. Toler, a Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania Law School graduate, will take the helm as the strip’s new judge when the series resumes taping this summer. Ms. Toler began serving her first six-year term as a municipal judge in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, in 1994. She worked as a litigator and an arbitrator before taking the bench.
The series has an average 2.4 household rating season to date and easily ranks as the top new first-run series to debut this season in syndication. Among adults 18 to 49, the series remains among the top new series with a 1.1 rating.
“The success of `Power of Attorney’ is a source of great pride for us,” said Bob Cook, president and chief operating officer of Twentieth Television. “Judge Toler’s dynamic personality and expertise will help us take the show to the next level.”
Mr. Napolitano will, however, remain in the Fox family. Fox News has confirmed that he will have an expanded role as a senior judicial analyst for the Fox News Channel.
“Judge Napolitano did a fabulous job for us, but Fox News wanted to use him more often on their newscasts,” Mr. Cook said. “Now he can continue to work with Fox without the commute from the East Coast.”
“Power of Attorney” will begin its sophomore season on Aug. 27. The series recently drew spikes in some household ratings with a weeklong appearance by Marcia Clark, a prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson case, during the May sweeps. Further episodes featuring Ms. Clark will air the week of May 21.
Twentieth is also fine-tuning the success of recent regional rollout strip “Texas Justice.” One station manager in the top markets said he expected an imminent decision on a continued rollout of the series.
“The test is going exceedingly well, thanks to [Judge] Larry Joe Doherty and [Executive Producer] Kathryn Seigel Levine,” Mr. Cook said. “The series’ lead-in share has either grown or held, which is pretty significant, while `Texas Justice’ has done nothing but grow from the season’s previous programming. The show has proven to be incubation in its purest form, and we are planning its future as we speak through a national slow rollout.”