Syndications print model

Times Mirror to expand magazine-branded TV; Tribune merger could add WB synergy

Times Mirror wants to turn more of its magazines into syndicated shows, with top magazine titles Field and Stream and Popular Science heading the list of candidates.

With Golf Magazine and Today's Homeowner already on TV schedules, the company that publishes more than 20 national titles, as well as The Los Angeles Times and several other large daily newspapers, is looking do even more in TV syndication. Additional opportunities may also arise out of the pending Tribune Co.-Times Mirror merger.

To complement its venerable titles, Times Mirror Magazines has added six magazines within the past year and has an interest in a handful of TransWorld Media publications aimed at teenage male readers.

Popular Science and Field and Stream are likely to be the next publications making the transition to television, according to Times Mirror Magazines President and COO Jason Klein. "We have some exploratory efforts in place right now for a number of magazines," he says. "We are in the concept stage with a lot of different things, and we really want to put something on the air with Popular Science and Field and Stream. We think both of those franchises would be terrific."

Klein says the new relationship with Tribune, which has an ownership stake in The WB, could dovetail with the teen-driven TransWorld magazines, which include titles about skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing.

"There are a lot of possibilities that we have to chew over," Klein says of the pending merger. "We are right in the middle of that. What's exciting about the Tribune Broadcasting Stations is that they are aligned with The WB Network, and that aligns very nicely with all of our magazines with a teen focus."

Times Mirror's TV interests predate its current syndicated fare. In 1994, Times Mirror Cable and Times Mirror Magazines teamed up to launch cable's Outdoor Life Network but opted to sell out a year later-a move Klein says Times Mirror executives may be scratching their heads about today. The company still publishes the magazine Outdoor Life but holds only a brand licensing arrangement with the cable channel.

Times Mirror is the title sponsor for Golf Magazine TV, which is produced out of Dallas by High Performance Golf and is in its second year in syndication. The weekly half-hour show is distributed by TJ Sports. The company's other syndicated offering, Today's Homeowner With Danny Lipford, is in its third season in syndication and gaining momentum each season, Klein says. The magazine Today's Homeower, which has close to a million U.S. subscribers, offers readers various remodeling and home-improvement techniques.

Lipford, who runs a remodeling business in Mobile, Ala., had hosted his own weekly show in syndication for five years before linking up with Times Mirror in 1998. In a year, the show expanded from 28 markets in the Southeast to more than 100 nationwide. Now, the show is cleared in 160 markets, reaching 60% of the country.


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