T Dog’s Grab Bag – The syndication edition

The T Dog Media Blog has a lot of syndication items in the Grab Bag this week. Let’s see what we have:

– Program Partners, which was burned earlier this year by failing to find the funds to launch Marie Osmond’s daytime talk show, is turning to Canada once again to launch a syndicated program.

The syndicator acquired Steven and Chris to air as a strip beginning in September 2010. Launched by CBC in 2008, the talk show is hosted by Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman. The program previously aired on HGTV in the U.S. The last time a Canadian talk show was offered for sale to U.S. syndication was D.L. Taffner’s Shirley in 1995, which only managed to clear only a handful of markets. Shirley aired on CTV in the 1990’s.

Currently, Program Partners does not have any weekday strips on the air outside of Degrassi: The Next Generation, which does not even air as a strip in many markets, shunned off into weekend blocks on Saturday or Sunday mornings (including Chicago). The last two years saw Program Partners launch Merv Griffin’s Crosswords (2007-08) and Family Court with Judge Penny (2008-09) to unsuccessful results.

– Trifecta Entertainment recently announced its intention to launch three new first-run syndicated shows next fall: Judge Heck, an all-barter, first-run courtroom strip featuring Anthony Heckemyer; a weekly E/I series called Mystery Hunters; and a ambitious first-run strip titled Tooned In, which is an entertainment magazine hosted by animated characters. Yes, you heard right (I’m not making this up!)

The plan for Tooned In is, “[To] explore pop culture just like the traditional shows, but with cheeky writing and a US Weekly kind of feel to it,”, according to Trifecta CEO Hank Cohen. The animation is being produced by Film Roman Productions, who animates The Simpsons and in the past animated King of the Hill and Garfield and Friends. (I guess this is the kind of innovation yours truly said was lacking in the syndication business. Will this offbeat strip make it on the air? Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Somebody gets it!)

Meanwhile, Trifecta is in the process of selling Bill Kurtis’ Cold Case Minutes (which are already airing on CBS-owned WBBM-TV during its 10 p.m. newscasts) to other stations around the country. Cold Case Files repeats are already airing in syndication (locally via WBBM.)

– On to the programs currently airing in syndication – it was not a good week for most shows heading into the first week of the November sweeps period, thanks to the World Series and lower-than-expected PUT (persons using television) levels. All magazine shows dropped, with many (TMZ, Extra) falling below a 2.0 rating. Wheel of Fortune led the syndication pack with a 7.1 rating.

– Fox-owned WFLD has flip-flopped time periods with The Wendy Willams Show and Judge Joe Brown. Retroactive to this Monday, Wendy moves to 11a.m. from 3 p.m., while Brown moves from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The move is in response to the slow ratings start for Wendy, whose show may be more suited for mornings than late afternoons – it has been airing at 3 p.m. since July 13. Wendy’s most recent national rating was a 1.2, while Judge Joe Brown scored a 2.1.

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