Twentieth plans slow rollout for `Good Day’

Nov 12, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Syndicator Twentieth Television is eyeing more programming real estate with the departure of the Fox Kids weekday block on Fox stations.
First out of the gate will be upcoming one-hour news and entertainment strip “Good Day Live,” based on the top-rated “Good Day L.A.” morning show from KTTV, Los Angeles. Despite the general high costs involved with launching a newsmagazine strip, the rising interest in the genre, a cost-effective, ready-made set and the success of “Texas Justice’s” slow rollout prompted the expected move (EM, July 30).
“This is a great opportunity for us for a variety of reasons,” said Bob Cook, president and chief operating officer of Twentieth Television. “A lot of newsmagazines have started on a local basis, which `Good Day Live’ will do, and we clearly have a crew that has a lot of charisma together and a production that is working seamlessly. That was the spark behind all of this. There’s an appetite out there for an L.A.-based show, which we believe this is perfect for.”
Earlier in the year, the company enjoyed a strong regional launch of “Texas Justice,” which will roll out nationally in January. Twentieth will attempt a similar feat with “Good Day.” Already on board are KTTV in Los Angeles, WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Phoenix’s KSAZ-TV, St. Louis’s KTVI-TV and KTBC-TV in Austin, Texas, for a debut on Dec. 3 in various dayparts. The series will be executive produced by Lisa Kridos and Josh Kaplan, who will continue to produce “Good Day L.A.”
“We now have a really good cross-section of the country, so we’ll be able to have an honest, true look at what kind of show we have on our hands,” said Paul Franklin, executive vice president and general sales manager for Twentieth. “That’s the luxury of having this O&O group. By airing in the early morning, late morning and early afternoon, the show will be pitted against some stiff competition, and as this test moves forward, other opportunities will open up in other markets.”
The series is being designed to keep its West Coast flavor while adding news events and lifestyle reports from newsrooms across the country, tapping the resources of the Fox affiliates. Steve Edwards, Dorothy Lucey and Jillian Barberie will helm the show from their studio at KTTV, incorporating celebrity interviews with news topics.
With “Good Day Live” taking up an hour of programming on those stations, other programs will be shifted to make way, perhaps filling in the holes left over from the departure of Fox Kids. Early speculation from analysts was that with the morning target audience of “Good Day,” some of Twentieth’s court shows currently airing in the mornings could be slotted in the 2 p.m.-to-4 p.m. vacancy, as could Columbia TriStar’s “Judge Hatchett,” which also runs on many of the stations.
Other possibilities could shift less successful early fringe off-network series back to make way for “Good Day.” Twentieth is heavy in development on a number of other projects, including a Rob Nelson talk show. But despite the likely scramble to fill holes on the Fox stations, the broadcasters embraced the idea of getting out of the kids game.
“It’s great news. It’s exciting news,” said Cullie Tarleton, chairman of the Fox affiliates board. “There really is not a business there-for the affiliates or the network. It’s just time to get out of it. I applaud the network for hearing us and understanding that we were hurting.”
“The departure of Fox Kids provides a great opportunity not only for us but for everybody in the syndication world,” said Robb Dalton, president of programming and production at Twentieth. “We will continue to be very active in development, allowing us to not only go with the traditional time slate for our launches but continue testing other shows for midseason opportunities as well.”
Michele Greppi contributed to this report.