Katz Backs ‘Oz’ for Syndicated Success

Jan 18, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Among the thin lineup of fresh programming heading into syndication next year, Sony Pictures Television’s “Dr. Oz,” with its Oprah-backed pedigree, is getting a hearty recommendation from TV consulting firm Katz Television Group.
According to a report released today, Katz cautioned stations to consider the cost of “Oz” before pursuing any clearances, but still gave the program the thumbs-up as a good bet for next year.
Bill Carroll, Katz Television Group’s VP and director of programming, pointed to “the training and honing of [Dr. Mehmet Oz’s] style and approach, along with the belief that if you are going to roll the dice, you have no better croupier than Oprah,” as factors contributing to the show’s favorable rating.
“So realizing that cost always has to be considered, we recommend ‘Dr. Oz’ in markets where the show is still available and encourage stations to aggressively but prudently seek their station clearance,” he said.
For other talk show recommendations, Katz suggested stations consider Debmar-Mercury’s “The Wendy Williams Show” as a logical replacement for Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “The Tyra Banks Show,” which is exiting syndication for a daytime spot on The CW in fall 2009.
“‘The Wendy Williams Show’ may not be for every station,” Mr. Carroll said. “But for stations seeking a younger-skewing, contemporary, edgy and urban program, ‘Wendy Williams’ should be your choice.”
As for Program Partners’ possible Marie Osmond talker “Marie,” which has yet to receive clearances in major markets, it could be a good play for stations that have had success in the past with variety talk shows such as Warner Bros.’ “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” or “The Bonnie Hunt Show.”
Among off-network programs, Katz recommended Twentieth Television’s “How I Met Your Mother” for 2010.
“This show will likely represent one of the last opportunities in the foreseeable future to acquire a solid sitcom property,” said Anthony Spirito, Katz Television Group’s director of programming.
While solid new options exist in weekend programming, including CBS Television Distribution’s “Criminal Minds” and “Numb3rs,” Katz warned that stations should be wary of weekend purchases due to the limited timeslots available.
“Over the last two seasons, stations have found themselves with too much off-network product than available weekend time periods,” Mr. Spirito said. “With mandatory sixth and seventh runs of sitcoms and some first-run products, in addition to network sports programming, stations should approach weekend acquisitions with caution.”
Katz also urged hesitation in the game show genre, saying current freshman offerings haven’t been turning out stellar performances.
“Going forward, if it was pulling in reliable to good numbers for your station, you may want to consider renewing ‘Deal or No Deal,’” said Lisa Hollaender, Katz Television Group’s director of programming research.
Katz said it sees potential for Twentieth Television’s “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?,” suggesting stations consider it if they are seeking to refresh or expand existing game-show blocks.
As for court shows, nothing has been firmly announced for 2009, but Litton Entertainment may bring “Street Court” to market, while Warner Bros. might move “Judge Jeanine Pirro” into syndication from its early daytime slot on The CW.
Katz didn’t recommend any specific court shows.


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