Disney-ABC, Raimi Link on ‘Wizard’ for Fall Syndication

Jan 29, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Sam Raimi will executive produce “Wizard’s First Rule,” a new first-run, live-action series that Disney-ABC Domestic Television is launching in the syndication marketplace for a fall 2008 launch. Janice Marinelli, president of Disney-ABC Domestic Television, announced the series today at NATPE in Las Vegas.
The one-hour weekly series is based on Terry Goodkind’s best-selling epic fantasy series “The Sword of Truth.”
ABC Studios will produce the series, marking its broadcast syndication effort. Production of the 22 episodes is slated to begin in May.
“We’re very excited to move into the first-run syndication arena,” said Mark Pedowitz, president of ABC Studios, “especially with Sam Raimi, a visually dynamic filmmaker who’s mastered the fantasy genre.”
Mr. Raimi, whose credits include writing and directing “Spider-Man 3” and “Army of Darkness,” will executive produce the series, along with Robert Tapert (“The Grudge,” “Xena: Warrior Princess”), Joshua Donen (“The Quick and the Dead”) and Ned Nalle (production executive for “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”).
“We are thrilled to offer a network-quality show to the syndication marketplace from the studio that brings us ‘Lost,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Desperate Housewives,’ ‘Criminal Minds,’ ‘Ghost Whisperer’ and the new Lifetime hit ‘Army Wives,’ together with the talented team behind ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ and ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,’” said Ms. Marinelli. “The time is right to introduce a captivating new series from this well-established and successful genre that is sure to be an attractive fit for stations across the country.”
“Terry Goodkind is a brilliant author and I fell in love with his books, reading them with my family,” said Mr. Raimi. “In discussing these incredible storylines and rich characters with my friends and partners Robert Tapert and Josh Donen, we agreed that ‘Wizard’s First Rule’ would make an amazing television series, one that could be produced with compelling, self-contained episodes.”


  1. Someone’s making a first-run syndie series that’s scripted? Whoa, haven’t seen one of them in a long time. Was hoping to see a rebirth of syndication and the independent networks back in 2006, but Fox had to create MyNetworkTV and ruin everything. Hope it’s a good show though.

  2. Wow! Great news! Series as fun and well-made as Hercules and Xena are rare, and to have a new weekly from Sam Raimi and his team is the best thing I’ve heard in a long time! Good luck with it! Might breathe some life into the local stations, if they truly appreciate what they’re getting. I would bet that the viewers will.

  3. This is great news for the first-run syndication business, which hasn’t seen a first-run scripted series since “She Spies”. This provides a great alternative to weekend editions of entertainment shows and weekly reruns of off-net hours.

  4. The question is whether stations will have a slot for these shows.
    Most stations tended to run Hercules or Xena at 2:00 AM or so on Sunday night (early Monday morning) and I suspect most stations will be loathe to give up their infomercial revenue to make space for a syndie series, though I suspect it will be sold on a barter basis anyway. The wee hours AM spots are where most stations run other first run syndie shows now like “Ron Hazleton’s House Calls” or “Hometime.”
    The other question is whether anything will be starting production in May given the WGA strike may very well still be going then.

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