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Sony TV Tries a Younger View - Broadcasting & Cable

Sony TV Tries a Younger View

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After months of speculation, Sony Pictures Television has unveiled its latest syndie entry: Life & Style, a one-hour strip on pop culture, relationships, fashion and celebrity news.

E! Entertainment's Jules Asner will host, joined by Cynthia Garrett, Lynne Koplitz and Kimora Lee Simmons in a sort of younger version of ABC's The View. The show is in development for a fall 2004 launch.

"When we looked at the daytime landscape, we felt there were few shows which speak to younger women with the same freshness and authenticity that The Ricki Lake Show did when that show first came on the air 11 years ago," says Melanie Chilek, senior vice president of development and syndicated programming for SPT. "Much has changed in terms of young women's lives in that time, so we approached developing Life & Style with those differences in mind."

Ever since Twentieth had success clearing its new show with American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, syndication has been looking for more shows to appeal to young demographics and focus on pop culture. King World, for example, has been talking with pop star Britney Spears about executive-producing and occasionally appearing in such a program.

Increasing consolidation in the syndication business, though, could hamper Sony's efforts to get Life & Style cleared. Last week, NBC and Vivendi Universal announced that they had entered exclusive talks that both sides expect to result in a massive media merger. Both companies have active syndication divisions, and combining Universal Domestic Television into NBC Enterprises could mean even less opportunity for independent Sony to get shows on the air.

Sony hopes its hip hosts and young skew will encourage stations to take the show. Asner is best known for hosting Revealed With Jules Asner on E!, and Garrett has been seen on VH1, covering the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards, Divas Live!, the VH1 Fashion and Music Awards and Women First.

Comedienne Koplitz most recently was co-host of NBC's short-lived and similarly titled Shop & Style and has been a guest host on NBC's Later. Simmons, CEO of urban fashion line Baby Phat and wife of hip-hop artist Russell Simmons, most recently appeared as a judge on UPN's America's Next Top Model.

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