5th Wheel enjoying universal success - Broadcasting & Cable

5th Wheel enjoying universal success

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Universal Worldwide Television is not shutting down, it's not selling its hit
syndicated series Blind Date to a rival studio and it is getting
upgrades on its new first-run series 5th Wheel, so says
Universal brass.

After several months of attempting to sell-off the small syndication studios'
wares to rival syndicators, parent company Vivendi-Universal executives now say
they are moving forward and even developing new programming for syndication
distribution.

Sources say Warner Bros. Domestic TV, Tribune Entertainment, Paramount
Domestic TV and Columbia TriStar Television Distribution all passed on
Universal's $30 million asking price for Blind Date and 5th
Wheel.

'There were conversations between other studios with Vivendi-Universal in
relationship to a lot of subject matters and based on the success of Blind
Date
, people came knocking,' says Universal Worldwide TV's senior vice
president Matt Cooperstein.

'Vivendi-Universal believes that the TV production business is an integral
part of a media company in the U.S. and they are committed to Blind Date
and they like the fact that they have a hit show and they want a second
one.'

Cooperstein says his division will soon be offering a new Universal movie
package in syndication and that newcomer 5th Wheel has
received upgrades in a number of U.S. markets.

The series has moved from overnight time periods to 10:30 p.m. on WKCF-TV
Orlando, from midnight to 11 p.m. on WPGH-TV Pittsburgh and from 12:30 a.m. to 3
p.m. on KSAT-TV San Antonio.

Other 5th Wheel upgrades are coming on WGNO-TV New Orleans,
WYNO-TV Buffalo, WTTA-TV Tampa and KWBF-TV Little Rock. - Joe Schlosser

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