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2007 Rookies Chalk Up Strong Renewals

Jan 28, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The announcement of the second-season renewal for “Merv Griffin’s Crosswords” has all but wrapped up speculation at NATPE on the status of this year’s crop of rookies for fall 2008. It looks like the 2007-08 syndication season may become the most successful (in terms of renewals) seen in years.
Program Partners’ “Crosswords” has cleared major markets for a second go-round and Twentieth Television’s “The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet” received pickups for a sophomore season as well. “Steve Wilkos” is well on its way with renewals on the Tribune stations, among others, and “TMZ” and “Judge David Young” are riding two-year deals. That makes five major first-run new series in syndication that will be back, of the six shows with clearances of 85% or better.
Those shows all are averaging a 0.8 or better, with “TMZ” scoring a 1.9 this season, “Morning Show,” “Wilkos” and “Young” pulling a 0.9 and “Crosswords” averaging a 0.8 score so far this season.
Earlier Monday an executive from distributor Program Partners announced a firm go for a sophomore season of “Crosswords,” with commitments from stations including WNBC-TV in New York.
“This vote of confidence from our station affiliates makes a nice start to 2008,” said Ron Ward, head of Merv Griffin Entertainment and vice chairman of the Griffin Group. “In return, we plan to deliver even more excitement in Season 2.”
The single series left without security at this point is Twentieth’s game show “Temptation.” A Twentieth representative said, “No decision has been made; an announcement is forthcoming.”
The series has been averaging a 0.5 score this season, but it remains profitable due to the home shopping components of the show. Sources said the distributor also could add a cable run to the mix if the strip moves forward.
Should the syndicator opt to pull the plug, the sources said Twentieth would remain committed to serving out the full season for stations.

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