NATPE Notes: Spencer Re-Ups `Insider’ Contract

Jan 15, 2007  •  Post A Comment

CBS Television Distribution has re-signed Lara Spencer to a new multiyear deal to continue co-anchoring “The Insider” for the company. Ms. Spencer, who is based in New York, has been with the show since its debut in September 2004. “`The Insider’ has benefited from Lara’s savvy journalism and commitment to making this show a forerunner in entertainment news,” said Linda Bell Blue, executive producer of the series. CBS executives denied reports that fellow co-host Pat O’Brien would be leaving the show when his contract expires this summer because of conflicts with staff. “Pat O’Brien has been with `The Insider’ since day one. He is currently under contract to us and we are in discussions to continue his deal,” a spokesperson for the show said.

`Dancing’ Favorite Mario Lopez Joins Cast of Newsmag `Extra’

Actor Mario Lopez, a favorite on the most recent edition of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” has joined Warner Bros.-distributed newsmagazine “Extra.” He will serve as a co-host of the weekend edition and as a daily show correspondent. As the weekend show’s co-host, Mr. Lopez, who has been a special correspondent and guest host for “Extra” in the past, will appear alongside Tanika Ray. At press time, Mr. Lopez’s “Extra” debut was scheduled for this week on the red carpet at the Golden Globes Monday. “Mario is a rapidly rising star and a dynamic personality on and off camera,” “Extra’s” senior executive producer Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey said in a statement. “I’ve had my eye on him for years.” “Extra” is a Time Telepictures Television production and is distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

20th Century Fox Ups Edwards to New International Position

Marion Edwards has been promoted to the newly created position of president, international television, for 20th Century Fox Television Distribution. Ms. Edwards had served in recent years as executive VP of Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, where she oversaw sales of series and features to free and basic television broadcasters outside of the U.S., as well as the sale of all Twentieth Century Fox feature films to U.S. Networks. “This is the most exciting time in history to work in television and I am very happy that responsibility for pay TV has been combined with our other activities in broadcast and basic cable as well as production,” Ms. Edwards said in a statement.

In her new expanded position, Ms. Edwards will work in all facets of the international pay television business. In addition, she will spearhead a newly created made-for-pay business, developing first-run series for pay television platforms around the world.

Buena Vista Renews `Live With Regis and Kelly,’ `Millionaire’

Buena Vista Television has renewed its duo of hit series, “Live With Regis and Kelly” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” on key stations through the 2010-11 season. Stations renewing “Live With Regis and Kelly” include WABC-TV, New York; KABC-TV, Los Angeles; WPVI-TV, Philadelphia; WHDH-TV, Boston; and KGO-TV, San Francisco. The series is currently in its 19th season in syndication. It is produced by WABC-TV and distributed by Buena Vista Television. Michael Gelman is executive producer.

“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” has also been picked up by WABC, WPVI and KGO, as well as by KTRK-TV, Houston, among others. “Millionaire” is currently in its fifth season. Meredith Vieira hosts the game show.

Atlas Will Distribute Keller Shows, Renews `Eye for an Eye’

Atlas Worldwide Syndications and Distributions has acquired distribution rights for the action-adventure television shows “Acapulco H.E.A.T.” and “Tarzan.” The company also announced that its court-show strip “Eye for an Eye” will return for a fourth season in the fall.

Both “Tarzan” and “H.E.A.T.” were created and produced by Keller Entertainment, an independent production company out of Los Angeles. “Our original objective was to do strip syndication,” said Max Keller, CEO of Keller Entertainment. “Now that we’ve teamed up with Atlas, we can really achieve that goal.”

Atlas is offering stations two options for carrying “Acapulco” and “Tarzan,” either as half-hour strips or hour weeklies. “Eye for an Eye” will undergo some format changes as it returns for its fourth season. The new format includes two court cases for each 30-minute episode as well as legal advice from Judge “Extreme” Akim at the conclusion of the show.

`Martha’ Locks in More Renewals

“The Martha Stewart Show” will return for a third season, wrapping up renewals in more than 80 percent of the country. Stations owned by NBC Universal, CBS, Scripps, Sinclair, Hearst-Argyle, Media General, Gannett, Belo, Allbritton, Fisher, Gray, LIN and Nextstar are among those that re-upped the show. “Martha” already was renewed on the NBC owned-and-operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and other major markets. Martha Stewart and Mark Burnett are executive producers of “The Martha Stewart Show,” which is produced by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and distributed by NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

Sony Adds Court Show Clearances

Sony Pictures Television has increased 2007-08 clearance levels for its trio of court strips “Judge David Young,” “Judge Maria Lopez” and “Judge Hatchett,” the company announced. The upcoming “Judge David Young” court show has been cleared in 82 percent of the country and in 23 out of the top 25 markets for next season thus far. Freshman series “Judge Maria Lopez” is set to go in 92 percent of the U.S., with 23 out of the top 25 markets ready for a sophomore season starting next fall. Heading into its eighth season this fall will be “Judge Hatchett,” with clearances covering 97 percent of the country.