King World's Living It Up! With Ali & Jack, a one-hour entertainment/talk strip, is the first firm go of the 2003-04 season, said Roger King, CEO of CBS Enterprises and King World Productions, last week.
Living It Up!
has been in development for a while, but it comes at a handy time for King World because the show likely will oust Martha Stewart Living, also syndicated by King World. Martha Stewart Living
is contracted with stations through 2003, but they don't have to continue to air the show, imperiled by the ImClone scandal, at the same time. So Living It Up!
arrives just in time.
It is hosted by Alexandra Wentworth, an actress who is married to ABC's George Stephanopoulos, and Jack Ford, formerly of ABC News himself. The show has a tie-in with Hearst Magazines, which will provide some content.
So far, Living It Up!
is cleared on stations representing more than 60% of the country, including CBS's owned-and-operated stations, as well as stations owned by Hearst-Argyle Television, Scripps Howard, Post-Newsweek, New York Times Broadcasting, Gannett, Belo Corp. and Jefferson Pilot, among others. "We've been selling this show since Aug. 1," King said, "and it's one of the fastest-selling shows I have ever sold in my life."
Living It Up!
is being cleared in daytime, mostly at 9 a.m. Stations are agreeing to two-year licensing deals for cash plus barter, with stations getting 101/2 minutes of ad-sales time, King World 31/2 minutes. "Of the shows out in the market for next fall, it's really the only one that's been out there and able to announce a firm go," says one station rep.
The show is an entertainment talk show, akin to Live With Regis and Kelly. Some see that show as Living It Up's target, although King denies that. "We see a tremendous opportunity. Oprah is great and Regis is great, and there is only one Oprah and only one Regis. We aren't going after anyone other than the failures."
With the smash launch of Dr. Phil
this year, King World is on a roll, distributing five of the top nine syndicated shows: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Everybody Loves Raymond
and Dr. Phil.