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NATPE: ‘Marie,’ ‘Mother’ Sales News

Jan 29, 2009  •  Post A Comment

At a NATPE convention that has been light on news about new syndicated television shows for 2009, new sales for “Marie” and “How I Met Your Mother” made headlines at the show.

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Those show clearances were preceded by a dire warning about the health of the advertising-supported television economy from TiVo CEO Tom Rogers. Mr. Rogers said the TV industry’s failure to adapt to digital video recorders and viewer ad-skipping using the devices leave it vulnerable to a crash that mirrors those in the music and print media industries.
After that sobering assessment, the biggest news of the 2009 convention of the National Association of Television Program Executives popped, with Program Partners announcing sales in major markets for “Marie,” a talk show starring Marie Osmond.
“Marie” cleared on Tribune’s KTLA in Los Angeles and NBC’s WNBC in New York City, bringing the national clearance level up to around 70%, said Program Partners principal Ritch Colbert.
He said the sales will hopefully keep the momentum rolling on “Marie,” allowing it to pick up even more clearances across the country.
Skepticism was running high in syndication regarding “Marie” prior to the announcement as to whether the show would go forward or not.
While “Marie” is further along in its production cycle, questions are still swirling around Twentieth Television’s “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”
“Fifth Grader” hasn’t announced any stations clearances yet.
A source familiar with the situation said Twentieth has received numerous offers from stations regarding “Fifth Grader.” The offers, however, are below Twentieth’s expectations for the program.
The source said Twentieth is still mulling whether to put “Fifth Grader” into syndication in 2009 with the sour market or hold it until 2010 while hoping the market turns around by that point. The distributor will need to make a go/no go decision on “Fifth Grader” in the coming weeks.
CBS Television Distribution made a similar decision earlier this month as the distributor opted to shelve a possible TD Jakes talk show until 2010, citing economic concerns towards funding the show.
Twentieth also had news regarding the 2010 launch of “How I Met Your Mother,” announcing 75% national clearance, including 23 of the 25 top markets.
(Editor: Baumann)

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