With the support of Fox Television Stations, Media General agrees to a sophomore season for its syndicated entertainment news strip. Garcelle Beauvais becomes its fourth co-host.
‘Hollywood Today Live’ Renewed For Season 2
Amid questions about new owner Nexstar Broadcasting’s commitment to original program production and syndication, Media General went ahead and renewed its highest-profile original show Hollywood Today Live for a second season.
Media General announced the renewal this morning.
The decision to renew the hour-long strip for next fall was due in part to Fox Television Stations — the only group outside of the Media General stations that is currently airing the show on some of its stations — agreeing to continue with the show for a second season.
“We are thrilled to partner with Fox Television Stations to continue delivering this unique and engaging show to more than 50 million viewers coast-to-coast,” said Media General’s head of programming, Tony Optican, in a prepared statement.
Garcelle Beauvais was also announced as a new co-host on Hollywood Today Live, which features entertainment news, gossip, celebrity interviews and lifestyle features. The show originates from the Hollywood studios of BiteSize TV, a production company owned by Media General. On the show, Beauvais joins other co-hosts Ross Mathews, Kristen Brockman and Tanner Thomason.
The show airs on 33 Media General stations and 12 Fox-owned stations. All told, the clearances cover only about 50% of U.S. TV households, but thanks to the Fox stations, the show is seen in the top three markets of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
“We’re excited to expand our partnership with Media General on Hollywood Today Live,” said Stephen Brown, EVP of programming and development for Fox Televisions. “The show is energetic and relevant, and fits well with our lineup.”
However, there was no word in Media General’s announcement on today about any additional stations or groups picking up the show for season two, although the company is actively seeking to expand the show’s footprint, Optican told TVNewsCheck last month just before NATPE, where Optican planned to be talking up the show and seeking clearances.
Moreover, Nexstar Chairman Perry Sook has said twice recently that his company does not believe station groups should be in the business of creating original shows that they then try to syndicate themselves, such as Media General is doing with Hollywood Today Live. Sook made his comments at NATPE last month and more recently in an interview last week with TVNewsCheck Editor Harry Jessell.
The week after NATPE, Nexstar won its battle for Media General in a deal worth $4.6 billion — fending off a challenge from another interested buyer, Meredith Broadcasting. The Nexstar-Media General deal won’t close for several months.