Their Own Show

With hits harder to come by and most programming pipelines controlled by companies that own both studios and stations, station groups are taking a new tack to meet programming needs: launching their own syndicated shows.

Acme's youth-driven morning talk show, The Daily Buzz, is one. Anchored by Ron Corning and Andrea Jackson, the show airs in 123 markets, including The WB 100+, Acme's eight WB affiliates and, as of Dec. 1, the Emmis affiliates in Orlando, Fla., and Mobile, Ala.

Acme launched the show in September on its then 10 WB affiliates with hopes of eventually taking the show into syndication. Having sold KPLR-TV St. Louis and KWBP-TV Portland, Ore., to Tribune Broadcasting, though, Acme President and COO Doug Gealy knew he wouldn't be able to keep the show on the air if he couldn't sign up a partner: KPLR-TV contributed half the show's revenue. Last month, Emmis Communications agreed to take a 50-50 stake in The Daily Buzz, not only saving the show but giving it a shot at national syndication. "When we looked at this show, we said, 'We want to syndicate it, but we don't care about getting 100% of the country cleared,'" Gealy said. "If we syndicate it to 50% of the country, we'll make a nice chunk of change."

With production within Acme and, now, Emmis, the show doesn't need to finance itself with a second run on cable. That keeps it exclusive to its station in each market, which is appealing to station owners.

The Daily Buzz
evolved because few smaller stations have their own local news and usually run low-rated second-run syndicated programming in the morning.

"We are trying to create identities for WB, UPN or Fox affiliates without news," Gealy says. "We get a ton of e-mail from people in their 50s who were sick of the other shows. And we get a lot of e-mail from parents who say thanks because now their 16-year-old is watching the morning news."