Producer Seeks Station Dance Partners

High Noon looking for groups to share ownership on four new syndicated shows
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Denver-based High Noon Entertainment, producer of unscripted cable series such as HGTV’s Fixer Upper and TLC’s Cake Boss, is preparing to bring station groups four new shows intended to launch in the fall of 2017.

This marks the first foray into syndication by High Noon, which was acquired by ITV in 2013. ITV has worked in syndication before, having developed with Raycom news magazine America Now, which ran for four seasons and was canceled in 2014.

High Noon plans to produce first-run shows in partnership with TV station groups, allowing them to have ownership stakes in them, says High Noon CEO Jim Berger. The shows would be produced efficiently, and wouldn’t necessarily have to be cleared nationally to be successful, he says.

“Each of the station groups [we work with] would have some participation in these shows as a new way to finance these programs,” says Brad Miller, High Noon executive VP, operations. “In a typical situation when they buy a show from a studio, they face having to pay higher license fees in seasons 2, 3, 4 and 5 if the show is a success. This way, they have a piece of the ownership so they can have more control over the future of the show.”

The model has become more common recently, with Tribune owning stakes in Warner Bros.’ Crime Watch Daily and in Debmar-Mercury’s Celebrity Name Game.

“We think we can launch these partnered up with a couple of groups,” says Miller. “Right-ThisMinute is a good example of a show that started small and then went national.”

Viral video show RightThisMinute is produced by Magic Dust Television and is the result of a partnership between the Cox, Raycom and Scripps television station groups. MGM distributes the show, with Disney-ABC taking over distribution next season and the show moving to the ABC owned stations.

High Noon hopes to partner with station groups in a similar manner, and has pitch meetings set up with groups over the next several weeks. The company is open to testing its new shows, says Berger, as groups such as Fox, Sinclair and Tegna have been tending to do.

The shows that High Noon has in development include:

The How—a how-to show created in partnership with Demand Media’s website eHow, which hosts more than 170,000 how-to videos on its site. The How would be a hosted half-hour with two in-studio hosts queuing up and then throwing to videos, although no hosts have been selected yet. The show would offer tips on fashion, fitness, health, personal finance, crafts and other lifestyle topics, says Miller.

Love Court—a half-hour court show that would be arbitrated by dating guru Steve Ward. Ward runs matchmaking service, Master Matchmakers, with his mother, JoAnn. High Noon produced the Wards’ VH-1 dating show, Tough Lovek.

“This is a twist on a very successful format in syndication, the judge space,” says Miller. “In this case, the focus will be on relationships, with couples bringing their relationship issues to a neutral third party and hopefully walking away together.”

Although this show sounds different from the dating shows that used to air, syndication hasn’t seen a dating strip since Blind Date ended in 2006.

The Lawyers—Series would star famed attorney Robert Shapiro, who recently has been in the spotlight after being played by John Travolta in FX’s The People v. O.J Simpson: American Crime Story. Shapiro also will be interviewed on Megyn Kelley’s Fox special scheduled to air May 17.

“The idea for this show is to do for the law what The Doctors and Dr. Oz have done for the health field,” says Miller. “We want to take legal issues and break them down for everyday viewers who actually have a lot of different legal issues in their lives.”

A panel of lawyers, who have yet to be selected, will join Shapiro, says Miller.

• Gone Viral—A new format that will be a “twist on the viral video format with a game element,” according to Miller.

Denver-based High Noon Entertainment, producer of unscripted cable series such as HGTV’s Fixer Upper and TLC’s Cake Boss, is preparing to bring station groups four new shows intended to launch in the fall of 2017.

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