Twentieth Television wants to show audiences in the courtroom who’s “Boss.”
The syndicator is working with former Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kevin Ross to develop a strip entitled “Ross Is Boss” for a fall 2008 launch.
The project is one of several that the syndicator is considering for 2008 and one that, if it moves forward in the development process, could bolster Twentieth’s growing daytime lineup.
The series would join an already flourishing court show business for the distributor, which produces and distributes “Judge Alex,” “Divorce Court” and “Cristina’s Court.”
“Twentieth Television currently has court show blocks on both their Fox and duopoly stations, so it would be a logical move to continue to grow that arena,” said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz TV. “Right now, there is tremendous flexibility for court shows to run in daytime, early fringe and even in some cases access, and Twentieth has the ability to take advantage of that.”
There are currently nine court shows on the air in syndication, all of which will return this fall, ranging from the top-ranked “Judge Judy,” which has averaged a 4.8 this season, to Sony’s “Judge Maria Lopez,” which is pulling a 1.0 score.
In addition, Radar Entertainment will introduce “Jury Duty” to the mix this fall, featuring a celebrity jury that will decide the outcome of cases. The series is cleared in 75 percent of the country to date, most recently adding CBS-owned stations KTXA-TV in Dallas and WUPA-TV in Atlanta.
Order for the Court
The appeal of court shows apparently has not reached its saturation point, with Warner Bros. also looking into new court show projects. A rookie court show can pull as much as $10 million in licensing and barter in its rookie season if it breaks a 1.5 rating, according to analysts.
“There is a question, of course, of when there will be too many court shows, but you could easily say the same thing about talk shows, and court continues to hold ground year after year,” said Mr. Carroll. “The viability of court still seems to be really successful.”
Judge Ross is not without TV experience. He previously appeared in 2002 on two pilot episodes of “Mobile Court,” in which small claims cases were conducted on location in front of an audience. That appearance subsequently cost him his position on the bench when the State Commission on Judicial Performance concluded that Mr. Ross “marketed himself as a judge in hopes that he then could leave the bench for a more lucrative career in television” and removed him from the bench for ethical reasons.
As a result, he lost his $149,160-a-year position for the $5,000 he earned from the pilots.
Other series in development for the 2008 season include a talk show from Warner Bros. featuring actress-comedian Bonnie Hunt.
A Twentieth Television representative could not be reached for comment.