‘Punk’d’ Sold Across U.S.

Apr 13, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Trifecta Entertainment, which last week announced a broad partnership with Litton Entertainment for multiple syndication projects, has sold the off-cable hit “Punk’d” in 80 percent of the U.S. for Monday-through-Friday runs beginning this fall.
Among the major-market stations picking up the video-gotcha series for the new season will be Fox-owned WNYW-TV in New York, Tribune-run KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, independent WCIU-TV in Chicago and CBS affiliate WKYW-TV in Philadelphia.
The popularity of the series helped bolster the show into a stripped project for the distributor, with many stations slating “Punk’d” to air from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. five days a week.
Off-cable series have grown as a key part of broadcast station lineups as a way to bring branded entertainment to viewers without the overhead of a first-run production. In addition to “Punk’d” this season, Debmar-Mercury will offer two of the Discovery Channel’s most popular series, “American Chopper” and “The Deadliest Catch,” to broadcast TV stations for the first time and Litton has cleared the Weather Channel series “Storm Stories” in more than 80% of the country.
“Punk’d,” co-created by Ashton Kutcher, has been one of MTV’s most consistent ratings performers over the years.
“Stations are very encouraged at how well it performed on MTV,” said Trifecta CEO Hank Cohen. “While the show has become part of the national vernacular, there is still a large segment of the audience that has not been exposed to it.”
The “Punk’d” sales were made before Trifecta announced its alliance with Litton Entertainment, so those transactions are not a part of that arrangement.
In other Trifecta developments, Mr. Cohen noted that new acquisition “American Idol Rewind” had also notched 80% of the country so far for its new season, while “Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild” was sitting at 85%.
“We are continuing our strategy of seeking out properties that have a pre-existing brand and give them a platform they never had before,” said Mr. Cohen.
The new partnership with Litton, designed to bolster the strengths of both entities, will pool selected programming from the companies’ libraries for sale to stations and advertisers. Trifecta will handle ad sales for those series while Litton will oversee domestic distribution. In addition, the two companies are looking to jointly produce and acquire shows to bring into the 2009 marketplace and beyond. However, both companies will also distribute individual projects as well.
One figure who will remain a key part of the process will be Trifecta sales chief Kim Sterton, who will now help oversee distribution for the combined library at Trifecta.
Updated: Name of company in last paragraph.

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