NATPE Update

Here is the latest from the NATPE convention in Las Vegas:

– The Fox O&Os, as it has been spectacled for the last few weeks, has acquired Warner Bros. new magazine strip, TMZ, for next fall. The program will air locally on both WFLD-TV and WPWR-TV this September. The show is based on the wildly popular entertainment website, which broke Mel Gibson’s DUI arrest and Michael Richards’ racial rant in a L.A. comedy club last year.

-Program Partners has announced a new game show called Let’s Play Crosswords, developed by Merv Griffin (Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!). The program will be offered -gasp! on an all-cash basis. When was the last time any game show (or any syndicated program for that matter) was offered on a cash basis? Crossword-type game shows aren’t new to syndication- The New Cross-Wits, a somewhat similar game show, aired during the 1986-87 season.

-No deal: forget a weekday airing of Deal or No Deal, at least for now. NBC Universal announced it is putting the project on the backburner for now, as NBC does not want DOND to suffer the same fate as The Weakest Link: airing it first-run syndication too soon and burn it out too quick. DOND already airs three times a week on NBC.

-Buena Vista has renewed Live with Regis and Kelly and Who Wants to be a Millionaire in syndication through 2011.

-Twentieth is finishing its sales of Family Guy, now cleared in 82 percent of the country, which includes 12 newly cleared Sinclair outlets. The list includes Raleigh, Birmingham, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Buffalo, Richmond (Va.), and Lexington. Also, Twentieth has cleared its existing court shows (Divorce Court, Judge Alex, and Cristina’s Court) in the majority in the country for next fall.