Tribune, Twentieth team up for "Pt. Dume"

Tribune Broadcasting ad Twentieth Television have formed a rather unlikely alliance to clear a new syndicated program.

Titled Pt. Dume, the new weekly scripted hour for next fall is about troubled teenagers who are sequestered in a Los Angeles detention camp (are you excited already?) The series was created by Gregory Bonnan, who created Baywatch. The sun-and-surf drama which gave the world Pamela Anderson ran on NBC for one year (1989-90) and in first-run syndication for ten more.

Pt. Dume is targeted for Saturday night time slots on Tribune stations, including WGN-TV in Chicago. Due to sports pre-emptions however, expect the program to run in early fringe on Saturdays.The sale to Tribune is quite surprising, given Twentieth parent News Corp. owns My Network TV outlets in seven markets where Tribune owns stations, including Chicago and My Network TV is hurting for original programming in primetime.

The last time a scripted series aired in first-run syndication was just last season, with Disney-ABC’s Legend of the Seeker. It was canceled in April after two seasons when Tribune declined to renew the show.

Twentieth’s history producing first-run syndicated scripted product is quite scant; the few series it produced in this manner were sci-fi series Starlost (1973, which was a disaster no one could ever imagine); Small Wonder (1985-89; inherited when News Corp. purchased Metromedia Producers); a syndicated revival of former ABC series 9 to 5 (1986-88) and sitcom Student Bodies (1997-98).