Fox O&Os Nab Fear Factor

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In the first-ever syndication deal for a prime-time network reality show, the Fox owned-and-operated stations have acquired NBC Enterprises’ Fear Factor to run as a strip next fall.

"It’s another aggressive step toward strengthening our duopolies with strong off-network product," said Frank Cicha, vice president of programming for Fox Television Stations.

The deal is all-barter, industry sources say. This is the third time in recent weeks that the Fox group has made assertive syndication deals: the Fox group just renewed top off-net sitcoms Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond, taking Raymond from Tribune in five markets and stealing Seinfeld from Raycom in Cleveland.

The Fox O&Os join broadcast groups Acme, Bahakel, Clear Channel, Cox, Emmis, Granite, Grant, Media General, Meredith, Milwaukee Journal, Raycom, Sinclair, Viacom and Young, bringing FearFactor’s coverage to more than 70% of the country. News Corp.-owned FX also has purchased the show as an hour-long strip for this summer.

In its fourth season, Fear Factor is a top performer for NBC, averaging a 5.9 rating this season in the key adults 18-49 demographic, up 7% over last season, and 13.9 million viewers overall, up 8% year-to-year. The show also is winning its Monday 8 p.m. time period this season in all key ratings categories, including total viewers. Fear Factor set series records (8.4/21 in 18-49, 18.8 million viewers overall) with the last of its seven-hour couples editions on Feb. 16.

Fear Factor is a production of Endemol Entertainment USA. Matt Kunitz, John de Mol and David Hurwitz are executive producers.

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