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Twentieth likes what it sees

Jan 7, 2002  •  Post A Comment

It looks like an L.A. state of mind just might translate nationwide.
“Good Day Live!” Twentieth Television’s experiment that takes the early-morning camaraderie between Los Angeles on-air talent Steve Edwards, Dorothy Lucey and Jillian Barberie national, seems to be working.
The fledgling strip, based on KTTV’s “Good Day L.A.,” started out on five stations and will add two more this week as Boston’s WFXT-TV and Portland’s KPTV-outlets Fox Television Stations acquired through its acquisition of Chris-Craft Industries-sign on. Boston will air the show at 1 p.m., while Portland has carved out a 10 a.m. time slot. In addition, the show’s original nine-week trial run that began Dec. 3 has been extended through the February sweeps.
“This has been a good experiment that continues to get better and better,” said Robb Dalton, president of programming and production at Twentieth Television. “We’ve learned a lot from how well the show has performed. We originally planted the show in different regions around the country to gauge reactions from different kinds of viewers, and not only has it experienced continued growth, but it was able to weather the holiday season with something fresh while other shows dipped.”
The series-which is characterized as “an acquired taste” even by its producers, on-air talent and distribution executives-has overcome a slow start in early weeks to post strong week-to-week growth as sampling turned to loyalty for each of the five original stations. The most significant of these was in Atlanta, where the strip supplanted “Jerry Springer.” After a first-week rating of 1.6 vs. “Springer’s” 3.5, the show has grown consistently every week since, most recently earning a 4.0 rating for an improvement of 150 percent over its debut. In hometown Los Angeles, the series rates 75 percent higher than the previous time-period occupants.
“We originally shot the show with everyone on their best behavior,” said Josh Kaplan, executive producer of both “Good Day Live” and the original “Good Day L.A.” “But [Twentieth President and Chief Operating Officer] Bob Cook and Robb pointed out to us that that wasn’t what people enjoyed seeing them do. That actually was a relief, because the audience loves to see them laughing, talking and getting pissed off with each other. It’s very self-deprecating, and there’s an appetite for that.”
“The first test show was very vanilla,” agreed co-executive producer Lisa Kridos. “So we did our own show-it took some adjustment not having local weather, traffic and whatnot-and despite concerns that the rest of the country wouldn’t get it, it works.”
Sources said that Twentieth is hoping to have a national clearance for the show by the fall, but for now company executives are talking about the present.
“None of the stations that started out with us on this experiment have dropped out,” said Paul Franklin, Twentieth executive VP and general sales manager. “In fact, we’re getting requests from non-Fox stations to air the show, because they are looking to expand their news dayparts in the morning.”