Program Partners offers new shows

Program Partners is offering two new strips in syndication this fall – both coming from north of the border.

The company already offers several first-run dramas which have originally aired on Canadian broadcast networks CBC, CTV, and Global in weekly broadcast syndication, including ReGenesis and Cold Squad.

Branding the block Daytime Plus, Program Partners is offering Style by Jury – a makeover show airing on cable specialty channel the W Network in Canada – where individuals are judged by a jury after a fashion makeover – somewhat similar to Ambush Makeover, a program which aired as a syndicated strip a few years ago. Program Partners is also offering Inside The Box, a game show about TV trivia which airs on the Canadian cable channel TVtropolis. Box is somewhat similar to MTV’s game show Remote Control, and Group W’s syndicated Couch Potatoes, both of which aired in the late 1980’s.

The two imported strips join Merv Griffin’s Crosswords, which returns for its second season, but with a limited amount of unaired episodes. The program is now on indefinite production hiatus.

A reason why Program Partners (as well as producers Merv Griffin Enterprises and the William Morris Agency) decided to take the production hiatus is because the production costs for Crosswords were becoming prohibitive. Crosswords has struggled in the ratings this past season, with numbers averaging below a 1 rating.

Stations will get to pick and choose which programs to air, and all have a split of 2:30 national commercial time to sell to national advertisers, and 4:30 for local ad inventory for stations to sell. The same advertising block will run on all three programs, meaning the same barter commercials.

It is not known at this time whether or not Crosswords‘ local affiliate in Chicago (NBC-owned WMAQ-TV) will carry the new block – though its more likely the two new programs will end up on another station. WMAQ has the new weekday version of Deal or No Deal lined up for this fall.

For the record, the last time a Canadian game show strip was sold in syndication was D.L. Taffner’s Talkabout, which ran during the 1989-90 season.

updated 3:23 p.m. (added B&C link, plus more info)