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A hard sell

Vertically integrated networks have trouble getting their rivals to buy prime time shows 5/28/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern

With media giants owning broadcast networks like CBS, The WB, ABC and FOX, selling to the outside world ain't what it used to be. A record 24 of the 37 new series launched for next fall are owned outright or co-owned by one of the networks.

Broadcast television's biggest producer for this fall, Viacom-CBS, landed 31 shows on network schedules for the fall for a total of 25.5 hours of prime time television.

Disney's TV divisions supplied 14 shows (18.5 hours) for the fall, including four hours of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? at ABC. AOL-Time Warner's prime time studios have 19 series either returning or debuting this fall, 17 from co-owned Warner Bros. Television.

Of CBS' seven new fall series, CBS has at least a partial ownership stake in six. At FOX, the network produced 13 pilots with Twentieth Century FOX alone and picked up six for the fall schedule. Twentieth Century FOX didn't have much luck selling elsewhere. The studio landed only one new show at a rival network, Yes, Dear at CBS.

"It's becoming more challenging," says Gary Newman, Twentieth Century FOX co-president said. "It is more strategic than ever before. You have to find creative ways to partner up with other networks. You have to assure them that business with Twentieth is going to be beneficial to both sides."

Twentieth Century FOX only had four pilots in development at rival networks this season, two at CBS and one each at The WB and NBC. ABC, which currently gets its top-rated drama (The Practice) and top-rated comedy (Dharma & Greg) from Twentieth Century FOX, didn't commit to any pilots from them this year. Thirteen of ABC's 15 pilots were from co-owned Disney studios Imagine and Touchstone Television. And CBS, whose parent company closed its merger with Viacom just weeks before the network finalized its 2000-2001 lineup, developed 12 shows with co-owned studios like Paramount and Viacom Productions.


Prime time programmers* *Figures include partial ownership of series

Studio: # Shows Hours


Viacom/CBS

CBS Productions

10

8.0

Paramount

10

8.0

Spelling

3

3.0

CBS News

3

3.0

Viacom

3

2.5

Big Ticket

2

1.0


TOTAL

31

25.5


Fox

Twentieth Century Fox**

19

15.0

Regency**

4

3.0

FOX TV Stations

1

1.0

Greenblatt-Janollari

1

.5


TOTAL

25

19.5

**Fearsum and Roswell are co-produced by Twentieth/Regency


GE/NBC

NBC Studios

7

5.0

NBC News

3

3.0


TOTAL

10

8.0

Studio:

# Shows

Hours


Time Warner-AOL

Warner Bros.

17

13.0

Michigan J. Prods.

1

1.0

Castle Rock

1

0.5


TOTAL

19

14.5


Disney

Touchstone/Imagine

10

12.5

ABC News

3

3.0

ABC Sports

1

3.0


TOTAL

14

18.5


Studios without networks:

Studios USA

5

4.5

Artists TV Group (ATG)

5

3.5

Columbia TriStar

4

3.0

Worldwide Pants

3

2.0

Carsey-Werner

3

1.5


TOTAL

20

14.5
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