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Show Deals Surge

Apr 7, 2003  •  Post A Comment

While a talk show featuring American Idol host Ryan Seacrest has drawn strong interest from stations whothat would like to begin airing it as soon as this fall, insiders say a debut date in January is far more likely given the short time available to pull together a crew, smooth out the show’s format and pin down clearances.
Meanwhile, a number of other shows in development are moving at full throttle. Those include a potential slow summer rollout for a new reality series called Ambush Makeover and a new talk show featuring Sheryl Lee Ralph.
They join a number of other talk strips in development or in discussions, including a show starring Brett Butler and another with Mo’Nique, who currently is in talks with Big Ticket.
Mr. Seacrest’s series, according to sources, will attempt to tap into his popularity with younger audiences in a reality hybrid strip. American Idol most recently delivered its best Wednesday numbers (9.7/24 in adults 18-49, 20.33 million viewers overall) since its second week in January.
Mr. Seacrest is also host of TNN’s Ultimate Revenge, has hosted series such as The Click and was a correspondent for Extra. He also hosts weekday radio show Ryan Seacrest for the Ride Home on Los Angeles station KYSR-FM.
Buena Vista is said to be in talks with former Moesha star Sheryl Lee Ralph to host a talk show for the fall 2004 season. Ms. Ralph is most famous for her Tony-nominated portrayal of Deena Jones in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls. In 1978, Ms. Ralph made her television debut on The Kroft Komedy Hour.
According to sources, Twentieth Television is working on Ambush Makeover for a potential 12-week summer test rollout. The series, from Banyan Productions (Trading Spaces, While You Were Out), will feature a group of stylists, including experts on hair, makeup and wardrobe, who approach people on the street offering complete image enhancement with the caveat that the designers know best what the participant should look like.
For Ambush Makeover, Twentieth is relying on the same slow rollout philosophy it used on Texas Justice, Good Day Live and Ex-Treme Dating, all of which underwent programming tests on a number of Fox owned-and-operated stations before being launched nationally.