Syndication’s banking on three shows for fall

The syndication business hopes that three new shows can break the losing streak the platform has had for the last few years. The most controversial of the three is Warner’s TMZ, the anti-celebrity website that has grown in popularity in the last few months. The trash-celeb show, reminiscent of Hard Copy, premieres Sept. 10 locally on Fox-owned WPWR-TV and WFLD-TV.

Meanwhile, the arrival of two new game shows – Twentieth’s Temptation and Program Partners’ Merv Griffin’s Crosswords – hope to revive interest in the genre. In the last seventeen years, only three game shows have succeeded – Hollywood Squares, Family Feud, and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – all either revivals of past shows or syndicated versions of network ones.

In the fall of 1990, five game shows debuted in syndication and all failed. Among them – revivals of Tic Tac Dough and The Joker’s Wild and a game show hosted by Dick Clark called The Challengers.

Fifteen years ago, a widely anticipated revival of You Bet Your Life, hosted by Bill Cosby, tanked instantly and lasted only a year.

New versions of The Price is Right (a nighttime version of the daytime show) and Match Game failed to take off in 1994 and 1998, respectively.

Both Crosswords and Temptation premiere Sept. 10. (Crosswords will air from 2-3 p.m. locally on WMAQ-TV; Temptation will air from 1-2 p.m. locally on WPWR-TV.)

Also on tap are two new courtroom shows: Sony’s Judge David Young and Radar’s Jury Duty, and the first off-network drama to premiere in syndication as a weekday strip in several years, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Other off-net premieres include CBS’ Half & Half, and Warner’s George Lopez.