By Susanne Ault -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/3/2001 8:00:00 PM
Kids Talk Sports, a new weekly half-hour program profiling athletes, is definitely late to the syndication game, having just been given the green light for a September debut. Although it is an underdog—most syndicators have had their players assembled since NATPE—distributor SportsWorld Media Group thinks Kids Talk Sports will score points with viewers next season.
For one thing, says Jason Charles, chief of SportsWorld Media Group, Kids Talk Sports features child interviewers that "blow Marv Albert away."
The show, which originally ran on the New England News Channel from 1996 to 1998, offered its young talent in conversations with such A-list athletes as Michael Jordan, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. These sports heroes were so accessible because they thought "a 14-year-old is not going to beat me up," says Charles. "But the reality is that the kids are trained to ask great questions."
Admittedly, the series "looked rough," he says, as produced by the small regional channel. But, with the backing of SportsWorld, Charles thinks a relaunched Kids Talk Sports can attract fans nationally.
Charles is behind in syndication's fall 2001 race but on the right track with the show, which is already cleared in 74% of the U.S., representing eight of the top-10 markets. Moreover, the FCC-friendly Kids Talk Sports is nabbing Saturday 7 a.m. to noon time periods, its target for grabbing kid viewers.
To accomplish this, Charles touted the fact that stations can insert their own two-minute segment within the show, plugging in a clip of a local kid interviewing a star athlete in their market. "At the end of the day, there aren't a lot of shows that provide this kind of local opportunity," he points out.
With Kids Talk Sports, stations can hold auditions for kids at a sponsor's location, he notes, "a huge value-added bonus when they go to sell spots on the show."
Top-market stations that see a potential winner in Kids Talk Sports include KCBS-TV Los Angeles, WGN-TV Chicago, WTXF-TV Philadelphia and KTVU(TV) San Francisco.
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