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On With the 2003 Show!

Your Unofficial Guide in New Orleans 1/19/2003 07:00:00 PM Eastern

NATPE this week in New Orleans has shrunk from crowds of 18,000 or so just a few years ago. But it's almost as if it has returned to its origins of 40 years ago: as a convention held in hotel suites.

What's New in Weeklies for Fall '03
Upcoming offerings of from syndicators
Show Description Distributor Deal
*Playground Earth can be sold on a barter or barter/cash basis
Source: Broadcasting & Cable
America's Moving To… Half-hour Mansfield Barter
CosmoGirl! Half-hour Hearst Entertainment Barter
Missing Half-hour Telco Productions Barter
Playground Earth Half-hour Zoom Culture Barter*
The Talent Agency Hour Western International Barter
Unexplained Mysteries Hour Paramount Barter
Angel Hour Twentieth Barter
Walker, Texas Ranger Hour Sony Barter

There will still be exhibitors and seminars at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and a thing called the Hollywood Plaza where the major studios can hang with clients. But most of their major business will be conducted in those suites (for a full list of hotels, see page 20).

Next year, NATPE will return to its new permanent home in Las Vegas, which syndicators find an easier trek.

Consolidation has reduced the convention. Now buyer and seller are often from different branches of the same company. And, now that station groups can own more stations, those larger groups make group buys, often long before NATPE (for a look at what buys the top 25 groups are considering, see page 21).

Still, a lot of business gets done at NATPE, and this year, largely because of some arm-twisting by NATPE Chairman Tony Vinciquerra, president of Fox TV Stations, three broadcast networks (CBS, NBC and Fox) will either hold affiliate meetings or meet with their boards of governors in New Orleans this week.

In fact, some show-buying does get done, which is what everybody is there for, and there's buzz about a handful of new shows this year (see charts, this page). And, although the bulk of the transactions at NATPE involve syndicators' making deals with stations, some advertisers use the show to buy into shows.

This year, though, just about a month from now, on Feb. 25-26, these same syndicators will be in New York for the first annual conference of the Syndicated Network Television Association, an organization funded by the major studios. In essence, the SNTA conference is a syndication upfront, and distributors plan to use the event to meet with ad agencies and buyers.

Shopping for a First-Run Show or Two?
Here are the major strips available this year
Program Distributor Type Terms Launch
*Show has had limited regional or station-group run, is now being offered nationally.
Source: Broadcasting & Cable
Ask Rita Litton Syndications Half-hour relationship cash + barter Jan. 2003
eBay TV Sony Pictures Hour reality barter only Fall 2003
Ellen DeGeneres Warner Bros. Hour talk/variety cash + barter Fall 2003
Ex-Treme Dating Twentieth Half-hour relationship barter only June 2003*
Fergie Universal Hour talk cash + barter Fall 2003
Good Day Live Twentieth Hour news/talk cash + barter Jan. 2003*
Living it Up! King World Hour talk cash + barter Fall 2003
Sharon Osbourne Warner Bros. Hour talk cash + barter Fall 2003
Starting Over NBC Enterprises Hour reality cash + barter Fall 2003
Wayne Brady Buena Vista Hour talk/variety cash + barter Fall 2003*
How About an Off-Net Program?
Here's what the major studios are offering for 2003
Show Distributor Type
Source: Broadcasting & Cable
Angel Twentieth Weekend hour
Becker Paramount Sitcom
The Parkers Paramount Sitcom
Walker, Texas Ranger Sony Weekend hour
Ripley's Believe It Or Not Sony Half-hour reality
King of Queens Sony Sitcom
My Wife and Kids Buena Vista Sitcom
America's Funniest Home Videos Buena Vista One-hour strip
March