While no one knows where the next great first-run syndicated show will come from, Tegna Media hopes it will be Atlanta or New Orleans.
The station’s group WXIA Atlanta is developing a talk show with an African-American panel, while its WWL New Orleans is working on a “singing competition show,” said Lisa Kridos, executive producer/development at Tegna during a NATPE panel session Wednesday.
Tegna Media President Dave Lougee challenged stations to come up with new ideas for shows, Kridos said. That yielded five pilots and, of those, the two from WXIA and WWL were deemed worthy to produce locally.
If they draw audiences, she said, Tegna will take them group-wide and possibly into national syndication.
Stephen Brown, EVP, programming and development, Fox Television Stations, said he also believes in stations as show incubators.
The Fox stations are adept at producing shows, he said. “I work very closing with all of them to see if they can be brought up to national.”
One example: The Jason Show, a talk show starring Jason Matheson that was developed at Fox’s KMSP Minneapolis.
Fox tested it in four markets last summer, but decided it needed more work, he said. With improvement, he said, he will give it another shot, probably in more markets, this year.
He said stations are just one of many sources for show ideas and that the chances of any one getting a national rollout are remote.
He said that he receives between 300 and 400 pitches a year from talent agencies and others. Of those, he said, Fox will produce five pilot this year and test three. “The failure rate is horrendous …. That sucks.”
Another panelist, Alexandra Jewett, EVP, programming, Debmar-Mercury, said that she, too, is swamped with pitches from agencies, independent producers and station groups, but is happy to get them. “We have an open door.”
Despite the odds, she said, Debmar-Mercury is committed to finding the next “tent pole” show. “We are looking for shows with talent and ideas that can play 35 weeks a year, five days a week, 10-plus years — and work on the national level.
“And that’s just not easy.”
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