And other news of note
Traditionally, there is a crush of syndication news at this time of year, but we’re not in any normal times as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the globe as vaccines rolls out.
As expected, the yearly NATPE gathering went virtual (as did the annual CES gathering). While NATPE hasn’t exactly been a magnet for syndication for over a decade now, syndicators still use this time of year to announce new programming initiatives, though not as much as in the past.
On Tuesday, Fox First-Run provided an update on the previously announced You Bet Your Life reboot with Jay Leno and it’s becoming a Tonight Show reunion: former bandleader Kevin Eubanks is co-hosting the show with Leno, and has been sold in 85 percent of the country with the Fox-owned stations as launch partner, including Fox 32 and My50 in Chicago. Other groups signing on are Nexstar, Sinclair, Gray, Meredith, McKinnon (San Diego independent KUSI), and Sun. Fox stations who currently run Family Feud and/or 25 Words Or Less (including Chicago) are expected to pair it You Bet in early fringe (afternoon) and/or access (6-8 p.m.)
“Combining the expertise of two of Hollywood’s top producers, Tom Werner and David Hurwitz, with the joint hosting experience of the tremendously talented Jay Leno and Kevin Eubanks, “You Bet Your Life” will deliver a fun series filled with the warmth and laughter that America needs now,” said Fox First-Run and Fox TV Stations EVP Stephen Brown in a statement.
NBCUniversal still owns international rights to the show through NBCUniversal Formats and is being sold globally through Propagate Content. The original You Bet (with host Groucho Marx) aired on NBC in both TV and radio in the 1950s and in first-run syndication during the 1980-81 and 1992-93 seasons, the latter co-produced by Werner with former partner Marcy Carsey.
In other syndication news, NextTV is reporting the long running Maury show is ending first-run production after the 2021-22 season. Originally a general-interest talk show when it began in September 1991 under the former Paramount Domestic Television, The Maury Povich Show became Maury in 1998 when he switched to Studios USA (now NBCUniversal Syndication Studios) and devoted a huge lion’s share of topics on paternity tests, known for the phrase “You are the father!”
NBCUniversal Syndication Studios nor Povich were available for comment. Similar to Jerry Springer (which ended its run in 2018) and Judge Judy (ending production this year as Judy Sheindlin moves to Amazon), repeats are reportedly being licensed under multi-year deals, signaling a trend of off-syndication content moving on to stations’ schedules. Maury has been in reruns this season due to the pandemic curbing production for many shows with the show now airing two hours a day over Chicago’s WGN-TV as the station was unable to fill the vacant hour left by the cancellation of Mel Robbins last September.
After selling the rerun rights to ViacomCBS’ cable properties, Warner Bros. is finally making off-network episodes of Young Sheldon to broadcast stations beginning this fall with Nexstar as the launch group, also according to NextTV. Although no stations were announced, it’s likely Sheldon will air on Nexstar stations in the top markets including WGN, KTLA Los Angeles, and newly acquired WPIX New York though its shared services agreement with owner Mission Broadcasting. It’ll likely be paired with The Goldbergs on these stations for the hapless home viewer to enjoy in a sitcom block of really annoying people.
Warner has also set new cycle deals for The Big Bang Theory and Friends, but notably missing was Two And A Half Men, whose contracts with stations are up this fall. Also renewing is Sony’s Seinfeld and King of Queens, who recently swapped time periods with Drew Barrymore’s talk show on CW26, moving back to 5 p.m. from 9 p.m.
Finally, online reports has surfaced regarding the future of weekly magazine show Central Ave. is going out of production as the producers are reportedly shopping the series around for a new deal. After being tested on a few Fox-owned stations, Central debuted as a weekend series last September in syndication, including the Fox O&Os. Debmar-Mercury was quoted saying the program will continue to air through the rest of the current season.
Ratings for the show were not available.