Studios USA's 'Crossing Over with John Edward' will attempt to communicate with victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in several episodes planned for
the November sweeps for the syndicated and, perhaps, cable runs of the show.
Steve Rosenberg, the studio's domestic syndication president, anticipating
concerns by viewers, says the shows 'will be done tastefully.and won't be
exploitative,' and notes that the idea grew after relatives of victims first
approached Edward, not the other way around.
The show, that airs on WCBS-TV New York and other stations nationwide, as
well as on the Sci-Fi cable channel, is premised on Edward's purported ability
to communicate with the dead.
Rosenberg says that 'Crossing Over' producers started talking about having
Edward deal with the tragedy after they received several phone calls from
surviving family members asking to speak with him.
After awhile, said Rosenberg, any worries that it might be too emotional for
people went away, and 'it seemed wrong not to do it.'
A hit on Sci Fi for a couple of seasons now, 'Crossing Over' just launched
into syndication this fall.
The rookie, scoring a 1.8 Nielsen rating in the most recent national
syndication rankings, isn't a break-out hit yet on stations.
However, extended news coverage due to Sept. 11 events has bumped the show to
different time periods on stations, likely confusing viewers.
WCBS-TV didn't air the show for a couple of weeks because of an added
Plus, KCAL-TV Los Angeles debated whether or not they wanted to air 'Crossing
Over' as its 4 p.m. news lead-in, believing some people would be uncomfortable
watching Edward try speak to the dead immediately preceding news reports about
people dying. KCAL-TV now airs it at 11 a.m.
'Crossing Over' does top all other freshmen talk efforts, including the
high-profile 'The Ananda Lewis Show,' 'The Other Half,' and
'Iyanla.' - Susanne Ault