The Fox Television Stations have renewed five of Warner Bros.’ first-run syndicated shows in multi-year deals that remove advertising breaks at the end of those shows for a more seamless flow.
“I started in broadcasting, but I’ve spent a lot of time in cable. There, we are very focused on clean breaks from one show to another. In cable news, they do the hand-offs and you don’t even know one show is ending and another is beginning,” said Jack Abernethy, CEO of the Fox Television Stations.
Syndicated shows traditionally have one-and-a-half or two minutes of advertising after the close of the show, which can cause viewers to change the channel or stop watching. After Abernethy was alerted to the issue, he started looking at how shows flowed across the Fox station schedule.
“I said we better not be doing that anywhere we can control it,” Abernethy said. “Anywhere on a local station where we had a show that ends and starts into [one] of our shows, we fixed it.”
The inventory at the end of these shows has now been moved into the middle, which creates longer ad breaks inside of shows but eliminates ad breaks in between them. The change represents an innovation in syndication that Abernethy would like to see take hold across all distributors.
“Seamless transitions between programs are long overdue in local television,” Abernethy said.
Fox also has renewed several shows produced and distributed by Warner Bros. in multi-year deals. Extra, TMZ and TMZ Live all have been renewed for three years, taking each of those shows through the 2022-23 TV season. Panel talker The Real has been renewed for two years, and veteran court show People’s Court has been picked up for three more years on Fox-owned WNYW New York.
“Fox has offered unparalleled promotional and programming support for our series and we are very pleased these long-running franchises will continue to thrive on their stations, and even more so as a result of this new seamless format,” said Jeffrey Schlesinger, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, in a statement.
Fox renewed Extra after picking it up this season in six major markets, including New York and Los Angeles. Prior to that, Extra had aired on NBC-owned stations in those markets.
Before this year’s premiere, Extra was rebooted with the addition of anchor and managing editor Billy Bush, who spends his days trying to lock down exclusive interviews prior to that day’s broadcast.
“In the history of the show, we’ve never had a better or more supportive partner than Fox,” said Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, senior executive producer, Extra. “We are incredibly proud of Extra, which has not only earned a second life, but this new chapter feels like we caught lightning in a bottle.”
“Fox is a fantastic partner, and it’s clear that their support, alongside our award-winning producers and talent, has made a difference in our mutual success,” said Donna Redier Linsk, executive VP and general manager at Warner Bros.’ first-run production unit, Telepictures.