Despite troubles in recent years keeping high-priced daytime series with stars ranging from Jane Pauley to Megan Mullally on the air, the big picture for the NBC Universal distribution arm is looking up, thanks largely to a stacked off-network library set to launch in syndication over the next few years.
The unit already has “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” ready to go as an off-net strip this fall. “Las Vegas” will begin airing as a strip for TNT this fall as well. In addition, company executives are set to hit the streets later in 2007 with broadcast sales of other series expected to fetch top-dollar, including “The Office” and “House.”
On the first-run side, the company is also boosting its overall programming real estate. The syndicator cleared “Jerry Springer” spinoff “The Steve Wilkos Show” to the Tribune and Sinclair broadcast station groups for a fall debut and has sold weekly movie review series “Reel Talk” on the NBC O&Os. The company continues to develop a daytime version of “Deal or No Deal” that could debut as early as January 2008.
The company’s highest-rated first-run series, “Access Hollywood,” is currently one of the few strips in syndication to show year-to-year growth. The group is also producing a behind-the-scenes series for VH1 set to debut in March titled “Springer Hustle.”