Syndicated weekly hours, such as Paramount's cult favorite, Star Trek: The NextGeneration
or Universal's Xena: Warrior Princess, no longer can garner high enough ratings to make them worth syndicators' efforts.
"We don't do a lot of weekly first-run syndicated shows any more," said Paramount President of Programming Greg Meidel at last week's NATPE. "It's just not viable."
But Paramount is having some success with two weekly programs, half-hour movie-review show Hot Ticket
and hour unscripted show Unexplained Mysteries, according to Executive Vice President of Sales Mark Dvornik.
At the annual gathering, Paramount cleared Unexplained Mysteries
for a second year in 80% of the country, including on the Viacom station group. Paramount's a part of Viacom.
Last week, Unexplained Mysteries, which checks out paranormal happenings and mysterious phenomena, did a 1.5 household rating, according to Nielsen. Not exactly burning up the airwaves but performing well enough to be renewed and to be profitable for Paramount.
The studio also has cleared Hot Ticket
in more than 80% of the U.S. for its fourth season, Dvornik says. Hosted by Leonard Maltin and Joyce Kulhawik, the weekly movie-review show is catching up to Buena Vista's veteran Ebert & Roeper at the Movies.
Last week, Hot Ticket
saw the most growth of any show in syndication, jumping 36% to a season-high 1.9, with a show on the best and worst films of the year just as Oscar season kicks into high gear. The show is up 12% from last year. Ebert & Roeper at the Movies
scored a 2.1, flat week-to-week and year-to-year.
Paramount did a fair amount of business at last week's show, without much fanfare. The studio's biggest project, The Insider, is now at 90% of the U.S., and off-net offering Girlfriends
is cleared in 70% of the U.S. for a fall launch. Paramount also is readying UPN's One on One
for fall 2005.
Paramount has cleared The Montel Williams Show, which continues to perform solidly and turned in a 2.6 in the last round of national ratings, in more than 90% of the U.S. for its 14th season.