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‘Videos’ Launches Another Syndie Run

May 3, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Disney-ABC Domestic Television’s long-running “America’s Funniest Home Videos” is re-entering broadcast syndication, albeit in an extended format, because the lack of new first-run offerings is increasing the value of hourlong off-network strips.
“Videos” is cleared in more than 85% of the country on stations owned by CBS, Cox, Sinclair, Tribune, Meredith, Local TV and Fox Television Stations, which owns duopolies in six of the top 10 markets.
The package consists of the hourlong episodes hosted by Tom Bergeron, who began hosting in 2001.
“Videos” is joining the trend of daily off-network hours, which have crept into broadcast syndication only in recent years with the launch of a daily offering of NBC Universal’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” in 2007. The Fox Stations Group has purchased a daily run of its sister show, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” for this fall.
Frank Cicha, VP of programming for Fox Television Stations, chalked up the wealth of space available for hourlong off-net strips to the lack of first-run offerings from syndicators.
Distributors, noting the shrinking advertising market and stations’ inability to pony up hefty license fees, have been more reserved lately about bringing fresh first-run content to market.
The two-year “Videos” deal involves a barter advertising setup.
Fox Television Stations also are in on the launch of two of the biggest first-run offerings next season, Sony Pictures Television’s “The Dr. Oz Show” and Debmar-Mercury’s “The Wendy Williams Show.” Certain Fox stations, including KTTV in Los Angeles, will be offering Twentieth Television’s “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” this fall.
“Six months before we picked up ‘Videos,’ if you asked me if that’s something we needed, I would have said we wouldn’t have the shelf space for it,” Mr. Cicha said.
Fox will air “Videos” on its MyNetworkTV stations, looking to bolster its beefed-up daytime comedy lineup, Mr. Cicha said, adding that the show will be used as a transition from daytime programming such as court strips to off-network fare like CBS Television Distribution’s “Everybody Hates Chris.”
“Videos” is “the longest-running entertainment series in ABC primetime history,” said Chuck Larsen, president of television consulting company October Moon. “It’s been a success on pretty much every night of the week. It’s one of the most popular and versatile shows on television.”
This will be the second time “Videos” has entered broadcast syndication. MTM sold the half-hour, Bob Saget-hosted version from 1995 to 1998, with Twentieth Television taking over sales in 1998 until 2001.
Vin Di Bona, the show’s executive producer, said every time the show enters syndication with a new host, it’s like presenting a new show to audiences.
He said he’s confident the show will do well with kids during weekday syndication, while strengthening family viewing when the show airs in broadcast on Sundays on ABC.
Next season marks the 20th for “Videos.” It’s produced by ABC and Vin Di Bona Productions.

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