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Sinclair Adds NBCU's 'Trisha Goddard' to Its Syndie Slate

Conflict talker still seeking major-market homes 10/20/2011 04:17:38 PM Eastern

The Sinclair Broadcast Group has picked up NBCUniversal Domestic Television's Maury spin-off Trisha Goddard, said Barry Wallach, president of NBCU Domestic Television.

Goddard, who hosted her own talk show in the U.K. for several years, has been a regular guest and substitute host on Maury. B&C was the first to report in July that NBCU was shopping a show with Goddard.

NBC now will distribute two of next year's three new shows, Steve Harvey and Goddard. However, Goddard has yet to be cleared in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and can't be declared a firm go -- at least nationally -- until those markets are on board. In today's market, however, distributors have shown a willingness to test shows -- such as NBCU's Access Hollywood Live, Tribune's Bill Cunningham and Raycom's America Now --  for months even without a national clearance. The disadvantage is that a distributor cannot sell national barter advertising in the show using this model.

Distributors have speculated that Fox might acquire Goddard to pair with Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle in an attempt to build its own block of conflict talk shows. While Kyle thus far is not performing in the ratings, Fox is apparently happy with it creatively and willing to give it time to grow, say sources, although Kyle has not been renewed in any market at this point. Fox also hopes to hang on to Debmar-Mercury's Wendy Williams, which performs much better in Fox's big markets than it does across the country.

Getting Fox on board would mean that Goddard will definitely launch. Tribune, which airs Maury, Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos in daytime blocks, also would be a good home for Goddard, but so far the broadcaster plans to stick with its new conflict talker, Bill Cunningham, and thus does not have an hour for anything new.

The traditional affiliates -- ABC, CBS and NBC -- don't air conflict talk shows and thus aren't expected to bid for Goddard. Moreover, CBS lacks available time slots.

Still, the Sinclair buy gives Goddard a good shot at premiering next September, along with Disney-ABC's Katie and NBCU's Steve Harvey. It also means that the talk-show musical chairs now going on in the syndication marketplace has lost one more chair, making it harder to get other new shows, such as CTD's Jeff Probst and Warner Bros.' Bethenny Frankel, cleared.

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