Paramount Develops Mystery, Money - Broadcasting & Cable

Paramount Develops Mystery, Money

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With Paramount's reality strip Life Moments
on life support after 10 NBC owned-and-operated stations decided to cancel or downgrade it to late night next week, the syndicator is looking ahead with weekend hour Unexplained Mysteries
in development for fall 2003.

The Viacom-owned company also is considering several other ideas for upcoming seasons, including a court/relationship show tentatively titled For Love or Money.

For Love or Money
is in the early stages of its development. Far more certain is Paramount's spin-off of Entertainment Tonight's Insider segment for fall 2004.

For Love or Money
is one of at least two court shows in the works. Another is Tribune's Mobile Court, where a California judge would travel to the scene of a dispute. No word yet on whether that show will go forward.

Earlier, NBC Enterprises and Court TV had considered bringing out a show for next season they called Trial by Fire
with Nancy Grace, a sort of court-talk hybrid, which appears to be on hold for now.

Unexplained Mysteries
is similar to a show Paramount produced several years ago called Sightings
and will look at paranormal phenomena, such as mysterious symbols that appear in fields, Bigfoot and UFOs.

"It's a whole X-Files
look at reality," says John Nogawski, executive vice president of Paramount Domestic Television.

The show will shoot new footage but also draw from the Sightings
library, Nogawski says. The show does not yet have a host.

Unexplained Mysteries
will be available on a straight barter basis, with seven minutes of advertising available for stations and seven for the syndicators. Paramount hopes Unexplained Mysteries
will work on the weekends because it is relatively inexpensive to produce.

Meanwhile, NBC owned-and-operated stations in 10 markets plan to stop airing or downgrade Life Moments
as of Jan. 6 and replace it with NBC-owned The Other Half, sources confirm.

Life Moments
actually does a bit better in the ratings than does The Other Half, with Life Moments
averaging a 0.9 rating in November sweeps and The Other Half
averaging a 0.7, according to Nielsen Media Research. But sources say that NBC believes it will ultimately do better financially by putting a show it owns into the time slots, even though NBC has agreed to make good on its Life Moments
license fees and some commercial time commitments.

Life Moments
will continue to air in good time slots on four other NBC stations: KNSD(TV) San Diego, KNTV(TV) San Francisco, WJAR(TV) Providence and WTVJ(TV) Miami.

Neither NBC Enterprises nor Paramount would comment on Life Moments.

Life Moments
is a one-hour weekday program that includes three or four segments on universal events such as weddings, births or reunions. It premiered last September.

The Other Half
features a panel of four men—Danny Bonaduce, Dick Clark, Dorian Gregory and Mario Lopez—talking about issues that interest women from a man's point of view. The show is in its second season and has been renewed through spring 2003. It is co-owned by NBC Enterprises, Hearst-Argyle and Gannett Broadcasting.

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