With the annual NATPE gathering taking place this week in Miami Beach, its time to see where several shows and proposed projects for syndication stand in 2014:
– As first reported by Broadcasting & Cable a few weeks ago, Twentieth Television canceled Judge Alex after nine seasons. The writing appeared to be on the wall when Twentieth renewed Divorce Court for another year, but nothing was said about Judge Alex, which hasn’t done well in the ratings in recent years. Both shows were paired with each other in several markets.
Judge Alex was shot in Houston at Fox’s KRIV since its inception, taking over studio space from predecessor, Texas Justice, another courtroom strip which ran from 2001-05.
– In other court news, CBS Television Distribution has cleared new strip Hot Bench in 75 percent of the country, declaring it a firm go for September 2014. This program features not just one judge, but three judges. They are: Los Angeles lawyer Larry Berman; lawyer and legal contributor Tanya Acker (whose made appearances on several network and cable news talk shows); and Judge Patrick DiMango, a New York Supreme Court judge in Brooklyn. The program was created by Judy Sheindlin, a.k.a. “Judge Judy”, who came up with the idea while she and her husband (Judge Jerry Sheindlin, a one-time People’s Court judge) vacationed in Ireland and visited their Supreme Court, where they had a three-judge bench (known as a “hot bench”.)
CBS Television Distribution did not elaborate on which exact station bought Hot Bench, or what markets cleared the show.
– You can forget a Kris Jenner talk show for this fall – for now. Fox’s owned-and-operated stations have passed on Kris, but may consider the show for a fall 2015 launch. The show was tested this summer on several Fox-owned stations, including WNYW in New York and KTTV in Los Angeles (WFLD here in Chicago was not included.) According to Deadline, Kris earned only a 0.8 Nielsen household rating, but an episode featuring son-in-law (and Chicago native) Kanye West earned a strong 1.7. Fox’s stations opted for Warner Bros. The Real, over the product from their sister division, Twentieth Television.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. other Fox O&O talker – Bethenny – is still on the bubble, but is now considered to be a shoo-in for renewal after beating fellow rookie Queen Latifah in the key female 25-54 demo.
– Bellum Entertainment is launching two new weekend syndicated series this fall: sports blooper series What Went Down, and E/I series State to State, a travel and history series. Both have been cleared on Tribune stations (including WGN-TV locally) in addition to renewing Unsealed: Alien Files for a third season.
– Despite meager ratings (an 0.2 HH, according to Nielsen), Trifecta Entertainment renewed Entertainment Tonight clone OK! TV for a second season.
– Speaking of entertainment magazines…after only a year, OMG Insider has reverted back to The Insider name. The syndicated half-hour strip continues to be hosted by Kevin Frazier and Thea Andrews. No format change is planned.