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Syndicated Strip Showrunners: Ray Giuliani

Dec 6, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Some showrunners in syndication have bemoaned the flight of top daytime producers to prime-time reality, but Giuliani embraces the crossover idea.

Before he took the job as executive producer of Sony Pictures Television’s “Life & Style,” Mr. Giuliani had an overall deal with Rocket Science Laboratories and worked on the company’s unscripted Fox prime-time TV series, including “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance” and “Joe Millionaire.”

His background working on such syndicated shows as “Geraldo,” “Leeza,” “Sally Jessy Raphael” and “Vicki!” made the transition to prime time come naturally, he said.

“There’s something about creating that format every day that there is absolutely nothing like,” he said. “That’s the best training there is for prime-time reality.”

Syndication remains a rush too. “I believe completely in the [`Life & Style’] talent,” Mr. Giuliani said. “I’ve seen enough shows where there is not that chemistry. I was attracted to it also because it was a different format, the audience is interactive and it’s a multiple-topic show, which there are not a lot of.”

So Mr. Giuliani continues to play in both arenas, exec producing “Life & Style” while still serving as executive producer of Fox’s “Renovate My Family.”

“Life & Style” is an hour-long New York-based show hosted by Jules Asner, Cynthia Garrett, Lynne Koplitz and Kimora Lee Simmons. It incorporates first-person field pieces, in-studio interviews and the New York setting as part of its aim to be a guide to life and style for women.

The variety in the format has afforded Mr. Giuliani a certain amount of flexibility in recruiting well-rounded staffers. “We’re not just a celebrity format, real people, conflict or news,” he said. We’re a mixture of all those things, so I have a greater pool to draw from.”

Mr. Giuliani’s biggest frustration at “Life & Style” has been the show’s station lineup. “The thing that was daunting to me was I knew we were launching this show without terrific clearances,” he said.

Like Warner Bros., Sony does not own TV stations, so it usually has to compete with stations’ in-house syndication units to get the best time slots. Sony managed to launch “Life & Style” on stations covering about 98 percent of the country, mostly in daytime, but generally the show is not on top traditional affiliates. The show pulled a 0.5 national household rating for the week ended Nov. 14, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Mr. Giuliani said he does not let clearance issues affect his morale. “We’re in enough markets with decent clearances,” he said, adding that he can tell by the numbers that “in places where people can see it, they like it.”