The Latest News from the TV Beat
ORIGINAL SYNDIE Let’s see: There are about 30 new shows (many of which seem completely interchangeable), lots of familiar faces, and a dearth of originality. No, we’re not talking about the networks’ fall lineups — it’s the new season of syndicated TV.
Actually, there is some promise in this batch of game shows, actioners, and courtroom contretemps (Judge Joe Brown and Judge Mills Lane join vets Judge Judy and The People’s Court).
The two biggest shows (in cost and expectations) are King World’s Hollywood Squares, with Whoopi Goldberg, and Roseanne’s gabfest. Both have high-profile time slots across the country, a big break for King World, which needs some new hits to join the ranks of perennial talk queen Oprah Winfrey.
”The verdict on Roseanne will be very quick,” predicts Bill Carroll, vice president of programming for Katz TV, a consulting firm. ”She will come out the presumed front-runner, and if King World delivers anything, the show will do just fine.”
More questionable is Donny & Marie, whose Regis & Kathie Lee act may be too cute for the many Fox stations carrying the show.
Talk-show incumbents aren’t taking the new competition lightly. The Rosie O’Donnell Show will now include more kids stuff and longer celeb interviews. ”There will be more than just stars plugging their movies,” promises Jim Paratore, president of Telepictures Productions, the Warner unit that produces the show.
As always, syndication also delivers eye candy. Although Baywatch is losing babes faster than Charlie Sheen, Pamela Anderson Lee resurfaces in V.I.P. — which ad agency Leo Burnett’s fall preview calls ”exactly what you would expect from a drama executive-produced by Lee; she looks gorgeous, wears fabulous clothes, and has great hair.” Hmmm, who cares whether the scripts are any good?
AND SO ON The Seinfeld gravy train continues. TBS snapped up the syndication rights for more than $110 million. The show will start airing in 2002.