"Insider", "ET" to move to new digs – and go HD, too

CBS Television Distribution’s two syndicated prime access magazine strips – The Insider and Entertainment Tonight are moving to a new home – and getting a HD makeover as well.

Beginning this fall, both shows are being shot in high-definition from CBS Studio Center in Studio City (yes, the same place where they shot Gilligan’s Island and My Three Sons.)

The move means the last ties for Entertainment Tonight have been cut from Paramount, the original syndicator of the long-running magazine show, now in its 27th season. ET has been shot from the Paramount lot (Stage 28) since 1981.

Both programs came under the ownership of CBS Corp. after Paramount owner Viacom split into two companies in 2006.

As for Insider, the program moves back to Los Angeles from New York, where it has been based for the last year. Lara Spencer continues to host (she recently inked a new contract), with former co-host Pat O’Brien now regulated to special correspondent. O’Brien took a leave of absence from the show earlier this year.

ET and Insider become the latest syndicated programs to convert to HD this fall, joining other series including Dr. Phil, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Ellen. In total, nine syndicated programs have or are expected to make the jump. Already, CBS’ Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are available in HD.

But the conversion of the programs to HD could become a problem for stations, as they must upgrade their servers (mainly software to the existing Pathfire servers) to handle satellite-fed downloads of larger HD files for broadcast, as well as rebuilding their infrastructure – which could become an pricey proposition.

Insider airs weeknights at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. locally on WCIU-TV, while ET airs weeknights at 6:30 p.m. and 1:37 a.m. on WBBM-TV.