Verdicts Deferred For Shows On Bubble

After this week's annual programming marketplace in Miami Beach, the fates of a number of shows are still up in the air. “We’ll know in mid February” was a common refrain. But deals were certainly being done, by syndicators both large and small.

NATPE wrapped up four days at Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau this week with major syndicators still hedging about the fate of three struggling freshmen shows — CBS Television Distribution’s The Arsenio Hall Show and The Test  and Warner Bros.’ Bethenny — and a show vying for a spot this fall , CTD’s Serch.

“We’ll know in mid February” was the common refrain to questions about all these shows.

Arsenio, which debuted Sept. 9, 2013, has been an underperformer. So far this season, it has a 0.7 household rating and a 0.4 adults 18-49 rating. One rival syndicator said it is far along in developing game shows to replace Arsenio in its latenight slot.

On Monday, Bethenny started a trial, secondary run with best-of episodes on Bravo. Warner Bros. needs a cable run and maybe some international clearances for a second season of Bethenny to make financial sense, according to one syndication observer.

Bethenny’s first, unpublicized night on Bravo generated an audience of 227,000 people at 6 p.m., based on Nielsen overnight ratings. The show, which counts Ellen DeGeneres among its executive producers, will continue its cable test through today.

Serch host MC Serch showed up at NATPE on Tuesday and said he was hopeful that his talk show would get picked up after a three-week test earlier this month yielded respectable numbers: 0.9 household rating and 0.5 among women 25-54. Serch, like Arsenio and The Test, is a partnership of CTD and Tribune Broadcasting.


One rumor had Serch taking over the hosting duties from Kirk Fox on The Test, which is generating a 0.4 rating among women 25-54 so far, but a CTD spokesperson shot down the talk.

There was some certainty from the majors at NATPE: CTD’s Hot Bench, Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game, NBCUniversal’s Meredith Vieira and Warner Bros.’ The Real have all amassed sufficient clearances to insure their launches this fall.

None of those four made news at the show, although Meredith Vieira and Celebrity Name Game’s Craig Ferguson made appearances.

“Our presentation shows how great he [Ferguson] is and how great the show can be,” says Mort Marcus, co-president of Debmar-Mercury. “Stations were attracted to all that potential.”

Smaller independent syndicators at the conference worked to place a variety of programs among this fall’s newcomers.

Trifecta Entertainment was pitching court show Judge Faith with former New York City prosecutor Faith Jenkins.

“I think before long, this will be a tent pole in court blocks, and stations are agreeing with us,” says Hank Cohen, CEO and partner at Trifecta. “It’s kind of an odd year because everything is breaking so late. We are still assessing offers.”

Trifecta is also offering The Game Plane, a game show that takes place on Allegiant airplanes in flight.

One-time Entertainment Tonight co-host John Tesh says his lifestyle tips show Intelligence for Your Life, based on his nationally syndicated radio show, will premiere this September with as many as 100 stations.

“We already have a tribe of eight million weekly radio listeners, which is a huge differentiating advantage for us in the sales process,” he says.

Tesh will co-host IFYL with his wife, actress Connie Sellecca, and their grown son Gib Gerard.

Alex Paen’s Telco Productions is pitching stations on panel-talk show The Balancing Act and The Flipside, a political talk show with a right-leaning point of view.

PPI Releasing was at NATPE selling Canadian strip The Social. And it was getting good station response to weekend half-hour Q with Jian Ghomeshi, a Canadian radio show taped for TV. The show gets big-name guests like Meryl Streep and musical acts such as Mumford & Sons.

Robert Rose’s Raw Travel will kick off its second season this fall. On the show, Rose hangs out with locals in cities around the world.

“Thanks to a strong viewer response all over the U.S., season two is a firm go and I expect to expand distribution to 80% or more of TV homes,” says Rose, founder of AIM Tell-A-Vision Group. He hosts and executive produces Raw Travel.

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