For stations that need new off-network comedies next season, Katz Television
Group is telling clients to bet on one or more of four 'solid options' --
Dharma & Greg, That 70s Show, The Hughleys and Will
For 2003, three more off-network sitcoms will become available -- Malcolm
in the Middle, King of Queens and Becker.
For nontraditional affiliates (Fox, The WB Television Network, United
Paramount Network) Katz recommends Malcolm, which the rep described as
'well-written, well-acted and laugh-out-loud funny.'
For traditional affiliates, Katz programming director Jim Curtin said,
King of Queens was the top choice -- 'a welcome addition for stations
that have found success with Everybody Loves Raymond.'
Katz made the recommendations as part of its review of new syndication
offerings for clients going into the National Association of Television
Programming Executives convention
For stations in the market for new off-net hours, Katz said, 'CSI
[CSI: Crime Scene Investigation] should be a priority based on its
solid record of performance' on CBS.
In first-run talk, Katz gives a thumbs up to two new shows, Dr. Phil
and Beyond with James Van Praagh, who like John Edward, claims to commune
with the dead.
Katz gave three new game shows a positive nod: the syndicated versions of
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and The Weakest Link, as well as
Katz programming vice president Ruth Leaycraft said NBC's decisions to pick
George Gray as host of the syndicated Link, as well as to make a
'somewhat kinder and easier' version of the show for syndication, have both been
As for Millionaire, she said, network primetime host Regis Philbin was
hands down the best choice to host the syndicated version of the show, as well,
although it was reported that Philbin turned down offers to take on the
As for Pyramid, with host Donny Osmond, Leaycraft said the show was
likely to show up across a variety of time periods, 'but predominantly as the
lead-out game when paired with Millionaire or Link in early
In the magazine category, Katz said, the new Celebrity Justice has
some potential, particularly as a lead-in or lead-out from a local daytime
Generally speaking, syndication may potentially benefit from a move Fox made
just last month to jettison the final hour of kids' programming its affiliates
had been airing on weekday afternoons.
'Programs that might have had question marks next to their futures may
survive as additional slots become available on the Fox affiliates,' Katz vice
president and director of programming Bill Carroll said.
Katz noted that after the first hour of Fox's weekday kids' block went away
last September, court and talk shows seemed to work better as replacement shows
than off-network fare did.