Jan 16, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Katz Television Group Programming has recommended Warner Bros.’ upcoming Tyra Banks talk show, off-network sitcom “My Wife and Kids” and off-net drama “24” to its station clients for fall 2005 syndication.

Katz also said new off-net programs will continue to be hard-pressed to challenge veteran performers in seasons to come.

The company made its comments in the annual program reviews it releases before the National Association of Television Program Executives conference. Katz unveiled recommendations in the major syndication categories to its more than 350 station clients.

“In preparation of the NATPE conference and the upcoming season, Katz Television Group Programming has provided recommendations of programs that, in our opinion, our client stations should pursue [and analyzed] the latest developments in syndicated programming,” said Bill Carroll, Katz VP/director of programming, in a news release heralding the report.

New product in the talk genre was categorized as either variety or lifestyle. Katz recommended Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s new Tyra Banks strip, which is categorized as lifestyle.

“Early indications were that the series would have less emphasis on fashion and be patterned after [`The Oprah Winfrey Show’], where Tyra has been a frequent guest,” Mr. Carroll said in the release. He said that Ms. Banks is being positioned to emulate Ms. Winfrey as “a voice for her generation” and said the show’s presentation indicated that its focus would be on “topic-driven discussion.”

The review also pointed out the opportunity available to a wide range of smaller-market stations to clear Ms. Banks’ show, because the strip has not been sold groupwide to the WB 100+ Station Group.

“We can recommend this strategic demographic choice for daytime on traditional affiliates and in the former [`Ricki Lake Show’] transitional slot on nontraditional stations,” Mr. Carroll said in the news release.

In the newsmagazine category, Katz gave a thumbs up to Paramount’s “The Insider,” which debuted last fall, calling it a “potentially powerful newcomer.” Katz’s Anthony Spirito, director of programming, was quoted saying programmers and stations should be mindful “that the early fringe track record of these programs reinforces the notion that access is generally where newsmagazines flourish.” The report mentioned speculation that Twentieth Television was reviving “A Current Affair” but did not make a recommendation on the program, which is still being developed.

In the reality/court genre, the report pointed out that NBC Universal’s “Fear Factor” was the top-rated new performer for the month of October.

“Looking to the future of this group we already have two programs in limited release,” Katz’s Jim Curtin, director of programming, said in the report. “Fox is using their owned-and-operated group to develop `Design Invasion,’ a home makeover show hosted by Kevin Burns, Libby Langdon and Bryce Cooper.”

Katz mentioned but did not issue a recommendation on Twentieth’s court offering for 2005-06, “Judge Alex.”

In the world of off-net sitcoms, the Katz review said the networks have failed to develop a breakout hit and continue “to feed syndication mediocre performers and leave our top franchises unchallenged. Today’s leading sitcoms in syndication have ranked in the top four, admittedly in differing order, since their debuts,” the report said. Those four, “Everybody Loves Raymond” (four years in syndication), “The Simpsons” (10 years in syndication), “Seinfeld” (nine years in syndication) and “Friends” (six years in syndication), have suffered audience erosion but don’t have any serious challenge from new product coming into the marketplace.

Katz did recommend Buena Vista Television’s “My Wife and Kids” for fall 2005.

Katz also reaffirmed its recommendation from last year for Buena Vista’s “According to Jim,” once again giving it the thumbs up for 2006. The sitcom review also singled out the CBS/Warner Bros. production “Two and a Half Men” and expressed the hope the show “will continue to mature … and give us something to enthusiastically recommend this time next year.”

The review also recommended for this fall the two off-cable options “Sex and the City” and “South Park” for late fringe.

In a review of the weeklies, Katz said the off-net introduction of “CSI” this season would give the traditional affiliates, which overwhelmingly carry the franchise show, a foothold for the next six years with the addition of the two current “CSI” spinoffs.

For 2005-06, Katz recommended Twentieth’s “24,” noting the show is a good fit with “CSI.” For 2006 the pick is “CSI: Miami,” while Katz gave tentative green lights to “Cold Case” in 2007 and “CSI: NY” in 2008.