Rick Dees heads to ABC Radio Networks

Venerable radio personality Rick Dees is heading back to ABC Radio Networks after signing a development deal with the company.

Dees, who was the morning personality at Top 40 outlet KIIS-FM in Los Angeles for 23 years (until he was replaced by Ryan Seacrest in 2004) and now is in the same capacity at Emmis’ KMVN-FM (Movin 93.9), will develop original content for a varied set of demos, including the 18-49 audience.

As part of the deal, Rick Dees’ longtime countdown show (The Weekly Top 40) is being syndicated by Citadel-owned ABC Radio Networks. The program was previously syndicated by Dial Global, which has handled distribution since 2005.

The move is actually a homecoming of sorts for Dees as ABC Radio (then under Capital Cities ownership) purchased The Weekly Top 40 in 1994 to replace the then-ailing American Top 40, which was canceled by the network as a result (Shadoe Stevens was the host of AT40 at the time, which steadily lost affiliates after host and creator Casey Kasem left the show six years earlier in a contract dispute with ABC.)

When KIIS was acquired by Clear Channel Communications in 1998, the company’s Premiere Radio Networks took over syndication of The Weekly Top 40 and distributed it until 2004, when Dees left KIIS. Ironically, Premiere also took over the second incarnation of American Top 40 two years later (whose hosting duties were taken over from Casey Kasem in 2004 by – you guessed it, Ryan Seacrest.)

Did you know?: Before he signed with ABC Radio in 1994, Dees had a short-lived turkey of a late night show on the television side of the network titled Into the Night with Rick Dees, which he hosted from July 1990 to July 1991, and then staggered on for three months as Into the Night after Dees left.

Into the Nightof course, is in the prestigious T Dog Media Blog TV Hall of Shame. Is your show a member? Ryan Seacrest – oh, there’s that name again – get ready for your new lame reality show to be inducted…

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