NBCU Ups ‘Steve Harvey’ Clearances To 55%

Station groups picking up the new daytime talker include CBS Television Stations, Capitol Communications, Cox Media Group, Fox Television Stations, Hearst Television, LIN Media, Local TV and Sinclair Broadcast Group. That comes on top of the show’s launch group, NBC’s 10 owned stations, which picked it up last month. The additions make it a virtual certainty to launch in fall 2012.

NBCUniversal’s Steve Harvey, the daytime talk show with the comedian, author and radio host, has now cleared TV stations reaching more than 55% of U.S. homes, NBCU is announcing this morning. The show is virtually a sure bet to go forward for fall 2012, and the news brings a little more clarity to next season’s overall syndication season.

Station groups picking up Harvey include CBS Television Stations, Capitol Communications, Cox Media Group, Fox Television Stations, Hearst Television, LIN Media, Local TV and Sinclair Broadcast Group. That comes on top of the show’s launch group, NBC’s 10 owned stations, which picked it up last month.

Harvey, which is being sold for two years on a cash-plus-barter basis (four national minutes, 11 local), and Disney-ABC’s Katie with Katie Couric are leading the rookie talk show pack for next fall. Katie has cleared more than 60% of TV homes.

These two shows are not alone in vying for 2012 distribution. Stations have been picking up CBS Television Distribution’s talk show with Jeff Probst, from the longtime Survivor host. Those stations include Cox Media Group’s ABC affiliate WFTV Orlando, according to The Orlando Sentinel. The show has yet to announce a big-market launch group. However, NBC is likely to fill that role, according to a few TV station executives.

And, similarly, Twentieth Television’s Ricki Lake talk show has been snapped by some stations, according to people familiar with those negotiations. That show is also waiting for a launch group. Fox is a possibility.

However, many syndication observers say NBC stations and Fox stations may end up cherry-picking Jeff Probst and Ricki Lake in large TV markets.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Meanwhile, NBCUniversal Television Distribution has gained some traction with its new conflict talk show Trisha, with British host Trisha Goddard. Sinclair Broadcast Group picked it up for its mostly midsize markets. However, that show has not cleared any major markets and, so far, the most probable big-market buyer — Tribune — has not committed to picking it up.

There may be enough time slots opening in 2012 for Katie, Harvey, Jeff, Ricki and perhaps Warner Bros.’ Bethenny Frankel, even though several long-running talk shows have been renewed for another two seasons. These include Warner Bros.’ Ellen, NBCU’s Maury, Jerry Springer, Steve Wilkos and Debmar-Mercury’s Wendy Williams.

Warner Bros.’ Anderson with CNN’s Anderson Cooper is pulling so-so ratings so far in the first year of its one-year deals, but it looks as if it will get a second year. Likewise, CBS’s Rachael Ray has been fading in the final year of its current station deals, but is likely to get renewed.

Sony Pictures Television’s Nate Berkus is in the second year of a three-year deal with NBC-owned stations. Still, it’s not a sure bet to move forward if Sony can’t clear the show elsewhere.

And both Debmar-Mercury’s Jeremy Kyle and Tribune’s Bill Cunningham have yet to generate ratings strong enough to ensure second seasons. However, both distributors say they’re committed to sticking with the shows for at least one more season.


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