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Columbia preps full syndie slate

Sep 3, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Columbia TriStar Television Distribution continues to expand its development slate for the fall 2001 season, and it’s not all about “Pyramid” anymore.
The company has recently added a project with eBay as well as one from Endemol Entertainment to its lineup, which already includes developmental projects from former “Talk Soup” host John Henson and comedian Tommy Davidson. The syndication distributor has also pre-sold “$100,000 Pyramid” to a number of key stations as it readies for a 2002 launch.
“We have a number of projects in development for the ’02 season, led by `Pyramid,”’ said Russ Krasnoff, CTTD’s president of programming and production. “We have been careful in selecting shows to add to our lineup and feel positive about each of them.”
New to the lineup will be what is described by sources as a “Taxicab Confession”-style show from Endemol titled “TV Hairdresser.” Sources say the format, in which clients reveal their innermost thoughts while getting haircuts, struck gold in Europe.
Additionally, CTTD announced last week that it had struck a deal with online auction site eBay to launch a project in fall 2002. The project’s cornerstone will be a daily series that taps into the booming trend of modern-day collecting through the stories behind the millions of items traded daily on eBay and other venues. The series will be produced by eBay and LMNO Productions in association with CTTD.
Of special value to the series will be a unique relationship with stations that would provide a deeper connection to Internet branding and promotion for the stations.
“We are currently exploring the possibility of airing a day-and-date show with local applications within the show,” Mr. Krasnoff said. “The notion that our show will involve various stores provides other applications, [and] after the show is over the experience will continue to exist through the local television station that would create a platform bigger than any television show has ever offered.”
eBay was wooed by syndicators for a period of time before deciding on CTTD.
“Television viewers are very active collectors and vice versa,” said Jim Davis, VP, marketing, at eBay. “Our three companies bring complementary resources and talents to this project, which will feed the unending enthusiasm of the collecting community and be equally entertaining to viewers simply seeking great entertainment.”
The Internet auction company has also teamed up with syndicator Litton on another project to serve as exclusive distributor for KTVU-TV’s “The Great American Toy Test.”
Litton and KTVU will ship toys to the local school or day-care center of a broadcaster’s choice. The center fills out and returns questionnaires as their part in the national test, keeping all the toys tested. Litton and KTVU will then provide each broadcast outlet with a six-part news series, half-hour special and new e-commerce opportunities in time for November sweeps.
Litton’s partnership with eBay will allow viewers to actually purchase toys over the local broadcaster’s Web site.
“This allows the broadcaster to expand their service to viewers while opening a new revenue stream,” said Tim Voit, executive VP and general sales manager at Litton. “The station will receive $4 for every sale, while driving traffic to their Web site. We’re offering proven, trusted, quality information during the broadcaster’s most important sweeps period … and now we’re expanding that service so they can offer even more to the local community.”