Roll of the dice

Programming executives descend on Las Vegas in search of the next big hit

It's time to get down to business. In the past few weeks, we've helped get your NATPE journey headed in the right direction, with information on the new syndicated product and the off-net product that may find its way into your business plans. But after weeks of announcements, planning and negotiating, the real talk starts on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Jan. 22.

The general vibe heading into this year's show seems to be one of caution. Broadcasters are always on the hunt for programs that will draw better audiences, but extraordinary events this past fall such as the election that didn't want to end and a late-summer Olympics have many broadcasters wondering if the ratings books are reality or a mirage. It may only be fitting that this year's convention is held in a city known for its make-believe reality. Can broadcasters believe the ratings they see?

Given the inability to feel comfortable about judging fall ratings, many station execs are heading to Las Vegas not quite sure if they want to (or need to) replace programs on their current schedules. It all makes for a NATPE that will require studios to sell harder, stations to evaluate better and talent to shine brighter.

Of course, with so much hard work facing attendees there will be a need to blow off some steam, and there are a number of invitation-only parties that promise to do just that. Granted, Las Vegas has plenty of things to do, but the following events promise to be worth the effort to gain entry. Getting in is, of course, the tricky part.

On Monday night, Entertainment Tonight
celebrates its 20th anniversary at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay hotel. From 9 p.m. to midnight, the party will feature George Thorogood and the Destroyers.

Tuesday night offers music of a different sort, as Pearson will hold a party at the MGM Grand that will have the Brian Setzer Orchestra jumping and jiving. Another invite-only event, it will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

And Wednesday brings a double bill, with Tribune Entertainment and Don Cornelius taking over the aforementioned House of Blues to celebrate 30 years of Soul Train. Smokey Robinson and Grammy nominees Destiny's Child will hit the stage.

Boxing fans will have a chance to catch a six-fight heavyweight boxing card at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, courtesy of Litton Inc. and its new program, Thunderbox. The opening bell is at 7 p.m.


What's new in first-run? / Diversity is the key component to this year's first-run offerings, with a little bit of everything available.

Show Clearance Barter Distributor


Talk

Ananda

70%

10.5/3.5

King World Productions

Caroline

70%

6/8

Paramount Domestic TV

Iyanla

60%

3.5/10.5

Buena Vista Television

The Tom Leykis Show

N/A

N/A

Warner Bros. Domestic TV

The Other Half

60%

11/3

NBC Enterprises and Syndication


Games

Show

Clearance

Barter

Distributor

Card Sharks

N/A

3.5/3.5

Pearson Television

Pyramid

N/A

N/A

Columbia Tri-Star

Who Wants To Date A Hooters Girl?

N/A

3.5/3.5

Lions Gate/Mercury


Relationships

Show

Clearance

Barter

Distributor

Cheaters

N/A

7/7

Western International Synd.

Elimidate

N/A

N/A

Telepictures Distribution

Fifth Wheel

N/A

3.5/3.5

Universal Worldwide TV

Rendez-View

N/A

3.5/3.5

Paramount Domestic TV

Shipmates

N/A

N/A

Columbia TriStar

Talk or Walk

55%

3.5/10.5

Tribune Entertainment


Reality

Show

Clearance

Barter

Distributor

The Bravest

N/A

7/7

Hearst Entertainment

Crossing Over With John Edwards

N/A

1.5/5.5

Studios USA Domestic


News/Magazine

Show

Clearance

Barter

Distributor

Hot Ticket

N/A

3.5/3.5

Paramount Domestic TV

Urban Latino

N/A

3.5/3.5

Litton Inc.

Drama

Show

Clearance

Barter

Distributor

Chicken Soup For The Soul

N/A

3.5/3.5

Litton Inc.

What About Your Friends?

N/A

N/A

Connection III Ent./Baruch


Action

Show

Clearance

Barter

Distributor

The Adventures of Jules Verne

N/A

N/A

Promark Entertainment

Collosseum

N/A

N/A

Pearson Television

Hard Knox

N/A

7/7

New Line Television

Lean Angle

N/A

N/A

Pearson Television

Mutant-X

71%

8/6

Tribune Entertainment

Tracker

N/A

7/7

Lions Gate/Mercury


Heading for off-net / The off-net market is sitcom heavy, but dramas such as Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and West Wing attract their share of attention.

Show Distributor Terms Clearance Debut


Comedy

Becker

Paramount

N/A

N/A

2003

Dharma & Greg

Twentieth

N/A

90%

2002

Everybody Loves Raymond

King World

N/A

94%

2001

For Your Love

Warner Bros.

N/A

N/A

2003

Futurama

Twentieth

N/A

N/A

2003

The Hughleys

Twentieth

N/A

N/A

2002

Just Shoot Me

Columbia TriStar

N/A

95%

2001

Kids Say the Darndest Things

King World

N/A

N/A

N/A

King of the Hill

Twentieth

N/A

95%

2001

King of Queens

Columbia TriStar

N/A

N/A

2003

The Larry Sanders Show

Columbia TriStar

N/A

B'cast N/A*

2001

Malcolm in the Middle

Twentieth

N/A

N/A

2003

Norm

Warner Bros.

N/A

N/A

2003

The Parkers

Paramount

N/A

N/A

2003

Sports Night

Buena Vista

N/A

N/A

2003

The Steve Harvey Show

Columbia TriStar

N/A

50%

2001

That 70's Show

Carsey Werner

N/A

94%

2002

Titus

Twentieth

N/A

N/A

2004

Two Guys and a Girl

Twentieth

N/A

N/A

2001/2002

Will & Grace

Warner Bros.

N/A

85%

2002

Ally McBeal (one hour)

Twentieth

N/A

N/A

2002

Mad TV (one hour)

Telepictures

N/A

N/A

2001


Drama

Show

Distributor

Terms

Clearance

Debut

Angel

Twentieth

N/A

N/A

2003

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer

Twentieth

N/A

B'cast 90%**

2001

Charmed

Paramount

N/A

N/A

2002

Dawson's Creek

Columbia TriStar

N/A

N/A

2002

Family Law

Columbia TriStar

N/A

N/A

2003

Judging Amy

Twentieth

N/A

N/A

2003

Law & Order: SVU

Studios USA

N/A

N/A

2003

Once & Again

Buena Vista

N/A

N/A

2004

The Practice

Twentieth

N/A

B'cast 90%**

2001

Providence

NBC

N/A

N/A

2003

Roswell

Twentieth

N/A

N/A

2003

Seven Days

Paramount

N/A

N/A

2002

West Wing

Warner Bros.

N/A

N/A

2003

Third Watch

Warner Bros.

N/A

N/A

2003

*sold to Bravo cable network

** sold to FX cable network