Doctor Is in at Warner Bros.


Warner Bros. Monday gave a green light to the production of Telepictures new talk show with Dr. Keith Ablow, with the Fox stations on board to push its clearances to over 90% of the U.S.

The announcement, scheduled to be made at an afternoon press conference Monday, leads into this week’s NATPE convention in Las Vegas, which officially begins Tuesday.

It has also renewed the The Tyra Banks Show in 60% of the country for season two, including Fox (which accounts for about 45% of that).

Tyra leads in key demos but trails in households among this season’s trio of freshman first-run series.

While Warner Bros. stopped short of calling Banks a "firm go" for another year, a renewal by Fox, the nation’s largest station group, could go a long way toward providing it with enough momentum to gain the clearances to endure.

As expected, Fox has licensed Ablow, a psychiatrist, author and TV personality who has been described as a "younger Dr. Phil," across all its stations, helping to provide it with clearances in 47 of the top-50 markets.

Produced by LMNO Prods. in association with Telepictures, the Ablow show will originate from New York and air in national syndication.

Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernathy called Ablow "a perfect fit for our stations," which include top-market WNYW/WWOR New York, KTTV/KCOP Los Angeles, WFLD/WPWR Chicago and WTXF Philadelphia.

Jim Paratore, executive VP, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, and Telepictures president, positioned the new doctor on the block as a "fresh alternative" to Dr Phil, which he called the "biggest hit in daytime since Oprah." Paratore noted Ablow will bring a "different point of view" to the advice genre, adding: "Everybody needs a second opinion." Sounds like a slogan-to-be.

Married and the father of two, Ablow holds a medical degree from Johns Hopkins Medical School and for the past 15 years has been a practicing psychiatrist, specializing in forensic psychiatry.

He has written a number of non-fiction books as well as six crime-based novels and The New York Times best seller Inside the Mind of Scott Peterson. He has also appeared as an expert on various shows, including Oprah and Tyra.

Meanwhile, Tyra, one of three new first-run strips to have debuted this fall, has done particularly well in all the key women demos.

The show improved time periods and defeated its renewed freshman competitors, Twentieth Television’s Judge Alex and NBC Universal’s Martha, which have usually finished ahead of her show in the weekly household race. 

“Tyra has done exactly what we said she would do--create a fresh, advertiser-friendly format that would bring young women back to broadcast in daytime,” Paratore said.