The other shoe has dropped in Warner Bros.’ decision to exit the court genre as Marilyn Milian has signed with Allen Media Group for a new hour-long court show, Justice For The People With Judge Milan, debuting this fall.
“We at Allen Media Group are proud to add our ninth television court series Justice for the People with Judge Milian to our amazing portfolio of court shows,” said Byron Allen, who is founder, chairman and CEO of Allen Media Group. “Judge Marilyn Milian is an outstanding, charismatic and brilliant television host.”
This comes a few weeks after Allen signed another Warner castoff – Greg Mathis – to helm Mathis Court With Judge Mathis, also coming this fall. Both Judge Mathis and Milan’s show (The People’s Court), were canceled after more than twenty years on the air amid ongoing cutbacks at Warner Bros. Discovery.
Mathis Court is cleared in 90 percent of the country, according to Allen. Aside from New York’s WPIX, no station list was announced, but it’s likely those who carried both Judge Mathis and People’s Court (such as Chicago’s CW 26) will carry the new shows to fill the slots Warner Bros. is deserting.
Now with nine shows, Allen Media is by far the dominant producer of court programming. The only other studios currently producing court shows outside of Allen is CBS (Hot Bench), Amazon (Judy Justice, for streaming service Freevee), and Fox (Divorce Court.)
With the departure of Todd Cavanah, his former duties are being split among two people: Audacy’s B96 (WBBM-FM) has named Molly Cruz as the Top 40 station’s new brand manager, moving from the company’s Milwaukee cluster, where she was assistant brand manager of WMYX/WMSS. Meanwhile Erik Bradley is taking over in the same role at Classic Hip-Hop/R&B 104.3 Jams (WBMX) on an interim basis.
B96 is one of America’s longest running and most important CHRs,” said vice-president/programming and operations chief Greg Solk. “Building on Todd’s excellence is a big-time challenge, and Molly is ready to meet that challenge. We are excited to welcome her home to work closely with Erik Bradley and our superstar morning show, ‘The Morning Mess.”.
The pair of promotions puts to rest speculation both underperforming stations would be soon changing formats. In the last ratings period, 104.3 Jams placed in a tie for 13th while B96 placed 22nd, but did show an uptick from the previous month’s book. B96 originally launched in May 1982 (as “Hot Hits”) while 104.3 Jams debuted in November 2017, replacing the K-Hits format on the former WJMK.
We have an update on the RSN/MLB saga and it looks like the situation is sorting itself out – at least for this season. Despite announcing they would be closing their regional sports networks on March 31, Warner Bros. Discovery’s AT&T Sports Nets had a change of heart and are close to a deal to continue their arrangements for the rest of the season.
The three teams agreeing to the extensions are the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Colorado Rockies. A fourth, the Seattle Mariners, will continue as the team owns a majority stake in their RSN, known as Root Sports. On or around October 1, the Astros, Pirates, and Rockies will regain those rights.
The Astros and the NBA’s Houston Rockets are currently negotiating to take over AT&T Sports Net and may try to find another partner (both had a partnership with Comcast a decade ago, until the venture went belly up.) The Rockies could wind up with Altitude, though its presence in Colorado is limited due to a standoff with the aforementioned Comcast, the state’s largest multiple system operator, or MSO. The future of the Pirates’ and Penguins’ TV deals is still unknown. Another team AT&T has RSN rights to – the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, is also unknown though they could possibly land on Spectrum SportsNet given both the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers on their own dedicated channels are huge draws in the Las Vegas area. The NBA’s Utah Jazz also needs to find a new partner.
Meanwhile, the situation is a little more dicey in Minneapolis and Cleveland as the previously-filed-for-bankruptcy Diamond Sports Group, who controls the Bally brands, skipped payment for the Twins and Guardians, respectively and have now entered a grace period. MLB has now petitioned the bankruptcy court overseeing Diamond and asked for the teams to be paid or surrender their rights to them. As we say in TV land, stay tuned.
Even though Warner Bros. Discovery is cancelling programs (see above) and cutting costs at every turn, at least one of its syndicated shows is coming back for another season – its 30th as Extra was renewed for the 2023-24 season on Tuesday.
“At a time when syndicated shows seem to be dropping like flies, it’s a pleasure to be bringing this first-run, day and date staple back to our stations,” said Frank Cicha, executive vice president of programming for Fox Television Stations, whose Chicago duopoly airs the show in a variety of time slots every weekday.
“It’s not every day that an Emmy-winning show makes it past 9,000 episodes, while covering over 14,000 red carpets and 80,000 celebrity interviews. From the producers and staff to Billy [Bush] and the correspondents, everyone at Extra has done a standout job, and we couldn’t be prouder. 30 seasons never looked better!” said Mike Darnell, who is president of Warner Bros.’ unscripted division.
Originally anchored by Arthel Neville and Dave Nemeth and was Warner’s response to Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight, Extra spent more than two decades at the NBC-owned stations until 2019, when the show shifted over to Fox-owned stations (in Chicago, the shift happened earlier as Fox 32 picked up the show from NBC 5 in 2016.) Since 2019, Extra has been hosted by Access Hollywood castoff Billy Bush. In addition to Fox stations in the largest markets, Extra is also cleared on other station groups, covering 75 percent of the country.
One notable moment in Extra history came in February 2021, when Rachel Lindsay – a former Bachlorette contestant turned correspondent for the show, grilled host Chris Harrison on racial issues involving the ABC franchise, whose response cost him his job as host.
The renewal of Extra is important for Warner Bros. as the company now has only one other show in first-run, the recently renewed The Jennifer Hudson Show, who launched last September and entering its second season. It’s the smallest number Warner has had in its portfolio since 1989, when they acquired Lorimar-Telepictures. Before then, Warner Bros. did not have a first-run syndication division.