Syndication update

As the NATPE convention draws closer and closer (next month in Vegas – assuming it doesn’t snow), you’ll be seeing these updates more and more here. So, here we go…

– TNT’s The Closer has been sold to all Fox-owned stations for weekend play, including WFLD/WPWR here, as Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution hopes Closer’s success on TNT will translate into syndication. Closer’s track record is an impressive one: It is the highest-rated original cable hour drama of all-time, according to TNT.

– NBC Universal’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is converting from a weekend off-net offering to a daily one next fall. The off-net strip has been sold to 92 percent of the country, including WPWR. The other Law & Order strip in syndication (Criminal Intent) is being offered for a second cycle in syndication next fall.

Hopefully, NBC Universal could also serve up the original Law & Order in syndication as soon as it is able to.

– Program Partners is bringing back Degrassi: The Next Generation for not just one, but two years through 2011: The program has been renewed in nine Tribune markets, including WGN-TV here for weekend plays. Degrassi has also been renewed on ACME-owned outlets and CW Plus stations, for total coverage thus far to 60 percent of the country.

Degrassi provides these stations E/I programming, which the FCC requires broadcast outlets to air three hours a week.

Degrassi has its roots in The Kids of Degrassi Street (1982-86), Degrassi Junior High (1987-89) and Degrassi High (1989-91), all three of which aired on CBC in Canada and the latter two series airing on PBS (often edited for content) in the U.S. New episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation currently airs on CTV in Canada and on The N in the U.S.