The president of Debmar-Mercury is calling out the first-run syndication business.
In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable, Mort Marcus says we might be seeing more syndie cancellations coming in the next several months as the economy continues to become worse.
Marcus, who runs the company responsible for syndicating South Park, Family Feud, Trivial Pursuit, and the upcoming Wendy Williams Show, points out that syndicators aren’t going to be taking on deficit-financed programming during a recession, and many low-rated programs on the air now could end up going away as a result. Plus, he says sales of new shows are being slowed because of the recession.
So far, only Dr. Oz from Sony, T.D. Jakes from CBS, and Debmar’s own Wendy has been sold into first-run syndication for next fall.
There are reports many syndicators are struggling financially, as the economic situation has gotten worse. According to Marcus, many stations are balking at renewing some programs because they simply can’t come up with the cash license fee.
Marcus also talks about the hazard of stations signing long-term deals for syndicated programming, and the possibility of Oprah Winfrey departing her talk show come 2011.
He certainly has some valid points here. After all, can anyone explain why Comics Unleashed and Jury Duty (with an average rating of 0.2 – yes, 0.2) are still on the air? As far as the latter is concerned, somebody must be busting the bank to keep the show in production (and if it is, the bank probably won’t be around for long in this economy.)