TMZ.com Exploring TV Series

Aug 2, 2006  •  Post A Comment

On the heels of its high-profile coverage of Mel Gibson’s drunken driving arrest and anti-Semitic tirade over the weekend, entertainment Web site TMZ.com could extent its brand into the syndicated TV market.

“It goes without saying in today’s media world, whatever your basic media is, you are constantly now looking at how you extend your brands across all media,” said Jim Paratore, VP of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and president of Telepictures Productions.

Warner Bros. has no schedule for a TMZ.com TV series rollout, but the company “has had conversations and discussions about what the show would be,” Mr. Paratore said.

Owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment and AOL, TMZ.com is the brainchild of Harvey Levin, who created the canceled syndicated series “Celebrity Justice.” A segment on the Warner Bros. syndicated entertainment magazine “Extra” before it was spun off as a series, “Justice” was a solid performer for Warner Bros., but weak clearances ultimately forced the studio to cancel the show. Unlike other syndicators, Warner Bros. does not have a vertically integrated station group where it can easily sell its product, which makes creating a new property on the Internet like TMZ a new way for Warner Bros. to build out a brand that could be attractive as a TV property.

TMZ is “not so much about the ‘Extra’ brand,” Mr. Paratore said, noting TMZ has a separate operational structure since it is also an AOL property. The two brands are “cousins” that can “work back and forth” together, he said.