‘Bandstand’ Revival for Syndie

Sep 22, 2003  •  Post A Comment

“American Bandstand,” which launched the careers of Dick Clark and countless musical acts, may be poised for a triumphant return after a 15-year hiatus.

The revival could be sold into syndication for a fall 2004 launch, according to insiders. Several distributors have expressed interest in reviving the series, but competitors say Twentieth Television looks to have the inside track.

A Twentieth spokesperson would not comment on a potential deal for the show.

The series, should it move forward, would air as a strip, unlike its previous incarnation, which aired as a weekly program. Sources said Dick Clark would come aboard as executive producer through Dick Clark Productions but would not host.

Should Twentieth get the series, the move would clearly put a stamp on its recent shift of courting younger daytime audiences. The syndicator has already cleared “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” for January, with the idea of creating late-fringe appointment viewing that would feature musical acts, interviews and pop culture dish targeting viewers 18-34. Twentieth’s parent company, Fox, has also revived the variety show, cultivating audiences with “American Idol.”

The addition of “American Bandstand,” according to one executive at a rival distributor, would “cement [Twentieth’s] move to take on the MTV crowd, and `Bandstand’ serves as a nice complement to that.”

The original incarnation of “Bandstand” began as a local program on WFIL-TV (now WPVI-TV) in Philadelphia on Oct. 7, 1952. It was then hosted by Bob Horn and was called “Bob Horn’s Bandstand.” On July 9, 1956, the show added the clean-cut, 26-year-old Dick Clark. When ABC aired the show in 1957, it was renamed “American Bandstand,” and relocated to Los Angeles in 1964, where it became an audience pillar until its end in 1987. The show also had a brief run on the USA Network with David Hirsch as host in 1989.

Dick Clark Productions, which currently produces such skeins as “American Dreams” on NBC as well as specials ranging from “The Golden Globe Awards” to “The American Music Awards,” was acquired last year in a $140 million deal by Mosaic Media.

Neither Mr. Clark nor his representatives would comment on the future of “Bandstand.”