Griffin, Program Partners To Solve Crosswords on NBC O&O's

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Program Partners, Merv Griffin Entertainment and the William Morris Agency Tuesday confirmed a deal to clear Griffin’s new game show, Let’s Play Crosswords, as a strip on the NBC-owned stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas “as part of a comprehensive commitment" by the station group, as expected.

“The NBC Universal stations are an ideal launch platform for Let’s Play Crosswords,” said Ritch Colbert of Program Partners. “We look forward to partnering with NBC to ensure the success of this series.” 

The agreement provides for NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution to represent national barter advertising sales, the way Tribune Entertainment Co. has with shows that appear on its station group.

Additionally, the parties will jointly develop a broadband offering that will launch from the NBC stations’ Websites.

The parties “are continuing to explore an opportunity to produce the series at NBC-owned facilities at WMAQ in Chicago,” a statement said.

“Merv Griffin is the master of the game show genre, and we’re excited about the addition of Let’s Play Crosswords to our program schedules this fall,” said Steve Schwaid, senior VP, news and programming, NBC Universal Television Stations.

The deal puts to rest rumors that the game show would launch without the top-three markets now that NBCU has put its bet on Griffin, creator of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! The two most successful prime-access series in the history of television are both locked up for years at the ABC O&Os.

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