40 stations/41.33% of U.S.
We're not shopping very hard. We don't have as great a need for product as we do in some years," says Tom Zappala, senior vice president of programming for the Paramount division of the CBS Television Stations Group.
Paramount already has a significant number of off-net offerings and there's more coming down the pike for this fall, he says. Off-net continues to be the mainstay of the group's syndication strategy. Paramount stations are UPN affiliates.
Slated to premiere this fall on many of the stations during access is Everybody Loves Raymond, Just Shoot Me
and King of the Hill. Zappala says the division is also considering The Steve Harvey Show
and Malcolm and Eddie
for early and late fringe.
"We're looking at filling some holes in daytime in various markets," Zappala says. But there's nothing in which the stations have expressed an interest groupwide, he adds. "We like Ananda, but they did a deal with Tribune."
Moreover, many Paramount stations just don't have room for new offerings. He also emphasizes that the stations like to see the November ratings before making any new buys. Furthermore, Paramount prefers to give new shows time to build an audience before making a cancellation. "It's always easier to stay with something and watch it grow than switch gears and try to start all over again," he says.
And while there could be some acquisitions, Zappala says not to expect any groupwide deals. "We're looking at all the first-run product. But we haven't made a group deal and I don't think that this year we probably will because the stations do have a great deal of sitcom and off-network product." Paramount has Seventh Heaven, Sabrina, Jamie Foxx
and Moesha, in early fringe.
For weekends, the division has renewed Maximum Exposure
for the entire group. And Paramount has looked at some of the other weekend hours and has acquired Wildest Police Videos
for eight markets.
As for the CBS Television Station Group, CBS is looking for new programming to beef up its early fringe schedule, says John Moczulski, executive vice president, programming and marketing, CBS Television Stations Group.
CBS has been looking at some of the new talkers including Ananda, Caroline
and Iyanla. But like others, CBS wanted to assess the November ratings before making any decisions to buy anything. However, getting a clear picture of last fall's syndicated marketplace is difficult, says Moczulski. The Summer Olympics as well as the extended presidential election coverage skewed much of the daytime viewing, he explains.
"There was an inordinate amount of viewing of CNN and MSNBC during the day. And early fringe from 3 to 5 p.m. was probably the most impacted of all day parts," he continues. "Considering what everybody is paying for these properties, you want a report card. Unfortunately the report card isn't exactly a true reading of the performance ability of the programming."
Moreover, it's been frustrating for CBS stations trying to get people to sample the shows. "Because of all the chaos that's happened since the launch season started it's real difficult for people to sample new programming. If they're going to spend their time watching television they seem to be gravitating more toward the shows they know vs. programs that are new," says Moczulski.
Currently, early fringe is a mix for the group including Oprah, Rosie O'Donnell, Curtis Court, Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, and Sally Jessy Raphael. Oprah
has been renewed. Judge Judy
airs on KCBS-TV Los Angeles and WBBM-TV Chicago. "We thought Judge Judy
would be helpful to lead into early news. We made the decision to aggressively go after the show and we did and we were able to get it," he explains. " Judge Judy
is a branded proven entity that indeed performs well."
The group's access lineup is set with long-term investments in Entertainment Tonight
and Hollywood Squares. In some markets CBS has Wheel of Fortune
and Jeopardy, says Moczulski.