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NBC to pick up Ellen - Broadcasting & Cable

NBC to pick up Ellen

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Warner Bros.-owned Telepictures has emerged as the big winner in the syndication derby leading up to the National Association of Television Programming Executives' show.

The syndicator announced a deal Tuesday with the NBC owned-and-operated
stations to air its new one-hour talker, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, next
fall and a deal with the Tribune Broadcasting stations to air another new talk show, The
Sharon Osbourne Show
.

"Ellen is as big of a name and, more important, as big of a talent as
syndicated television has seen hit the airwaves in a very, very long time," said
Dick Robertson, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

"With this show, we have an advertiser-friendly, high-CPM-commanding [cost per thousand homes], quality
talk show. We are particularly pleased that our friends at NBC have placed this
kind of confidence in Telepictures Productions and Warner Bros. Domestic
Television Distribution."

Sources have speculated that an NBC deal for Ellen
could make it tough for Universal Domestic Television to clear its new
talker, Fergie, because at the moment there are no
more network O&Os with slots to fill.

But Universal said it is going full-steam ahead with its new show.

"We are absolutely as enthusiastic and confident in this project and Fergie
as a talent as we ever were," a Universal spokesman said. "And without going
into too much detail, so are the station-group people we've spoken
to."

NBC also has The Other Half, The John Walsh Show
and Starting Over for daytime next fall,
although The Other Half has not yet been renewed for
next year.

Last month, NBC canceled Paramount's Life Moments
on its O&Os in some markets and gave those slots to The Other Half. Renewal is dependent on the show's ratings
performance in its new slots, NBC said.

The John Walsh Show has already been renewed on the NBC O&Os and on
the Hearst-Argyle Television Inc. stations, but ratings for the show have yet to move higher
than a 1.4 national average, falling short of making Walsh a hit.

While Telepictures is celebrating the pickup of its two new shows, it also
is likely waving goodbye to The Caroline Rhea Show,
sources said.

The talk show, which was meant to be a replacement for The Rosie O'Donell Show, never got off the ground this fall after the
ABC O&Os instead picked up Buena Vista Television's, forcing Caroline
Rhea into late-night time-slots in many big markets.

Tribune has been negotiating a deal with Warner Bros. and Telepictures for
Sharon Osbourne almost from the moment word leaked that the Osbournes matron
would be hosting a talk show.

Tribune has cleared the show on all of its O&Os,
covering more than 40 percent of the country.

"We couldn't be more excited than to have Sharon Osbourne on our stations
starting this fall," said Pat Mullin, president of Tribune Television.

"Not only do we think this will be one of the most highly anticipated
new shows, but we also believe Sharon's wide-ranging appeal will be a perfect
complement to our programming lineup."

Tribune's cancellation late last week of Beyond with
James Van Praagh
opens up slots for Sharon
Osbourne
on Tribune's schedule.

That gives other established shows, such as Telepictures' Jenny Jones, better shots at renewal, sources
speculated.

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