With the 2003-04 TV season wrapped up, Twentieth Television is getting a jump on fall by giving slow rollouts to Classmates
and possibly Ambush Makeover
this summer. The syndicator also has begun actively selling a one-hour syndicated strip that will star American Idol
host Ryan Seacrest, who will also executive-produce.
This January, Twentieth will launch Seacrest's new show nationally, rare for Twentieth these days because the syndicator has been favoring slow rollouts on Fox-owned stations to give shows a chance to build. The launch of Seacrest's as-yet-untitled talk/variety show will coincide with the return of Fox's megahit, American Idol,
giving Twentieth a promotional opportunity in prime time that is almost unheard-of in syndication.
If Twentieth decides to go with Ambush Makeover, a show in which unsuspecting men and women are plucked off the street for an instant beauty treatment, would round out Twentieth's first-run slate for next year, but the studio is not confirming the status of the reality show.
The syndicator also will continue to promote the other shows it launched this year, including Good Day Live
and Ex-treme Dating, both featuring Jillian Barberie. Good Day Live
went national in January and is hovering around a 1.0 in the national household ratings, according to Nielsen. Ex-treme Dating
goes national next month and currently airs in selected markets on Fox stations.
Twentieth Television also has cleared Fox's critically acclaimed sitcom The Bernie Mac Show
in 30% of the country for a fall 2005 rollout.
In other development news, Sony is considering launching a show starring Jules Asner, formerly of cable network E! Entertainment and recently the wife of director Steven Soderbergh. Sony wouldn't comment on any plans for the show.
Confirmed for first-run debuts this fall are King World's Living It Up! With Ali & Jack
and NBC Enterprises'Starting Over. Paramount plans to launch Entertainment Tonight
spinoff The Insider
in fall 2004. Universal still hopes to give Fergie, starring Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, a January 2004 launch, while Sony plans to launch eBayTV
in fall 2004.