It may be at a slower pace than in previous years, but syndicators are putting the final touches on a number of first-run offerings headed for the 2002-03 season.
Several new shows were sold to stations earlier this year for fall 2002 debuts, including King World/Paramount's Dr. Phil,
Columbia TriStar's Pyramid
and Buena Vista's daytime version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
NBC's syndicated version of Weakest Link
debuts next month and is cleared through next season.
And titles continue to be added. Sources say Buena Vista TV is developing a daily series with Wayne Brady from Whose Line Is It Anyway?
that will be similar to his ABC summer sketch-comedy/variety show. The studio is said to be moving forward also with Last Resort, a reality/relationship series featuring four couples on the verge of breaking up. Alliance Atlantis and October Moon are reportedly teaming up on John Woo's Once a Thief, an action series in which a group of young adults fight terrorism. Hearst Entertainment is said to be preparing a daily series with lifestyles expert B. Smith. And Universal's syndication division is said to be developing a weekend action series based on last year's successful drag-racing film The Fast and the Furious.
NBC Enterprises is going forward with a talk show with John Walsh, of Fox's America's Most Wanted
series; he'll use his expertise in law enforcement and other areas when he travels to breaking-news sites. The studio is also working on a yet-untitled action hour created and produced by NBC Agency head Vince Manze and featuring three women set free from prison to help stop crime. NBC News is said to be teaming with the syndication unit for a weekend news roundtable series.
None of the syndicators or producers would comment on these projects.
Sources say Warner Bros. is still moving forward with a Caroline Rhea talk/variety show to replace Rosie O'Donnell, who is expected to end her run after this season. Warner Bros.' Telepictures division is developing Celebrity Justice, a newsmagazine that goes behind the scenes of stars' legal woes and is currently a nightly segment on the studio's long-running Extra. Insiders say Warner Bros. is also bringing back Moral Court
with Larry Elder, a series that ran in syndication during the 1999-2000 season but was benched this year. Warner Bros. had no comment.
MGM has announced a spin-off to Stargate SG-1, called Stargate Atlantis, and is also developing pseudo-court series Twisted Justice
and action series Spartacus, said to be in the vein of the film Gladiator.
Tribune Entertainment has its own Gladiator
-type action weekly in development: SPQR
chronicles an elite guard division that protects the emperor of Rome. Also in the works at Tribune are action series The Ultimate Adventure Company,
which takes viewers around the globe searching for lost artifacts, and a daily series with psychic James Van Praagh. Studios USA, which distributes Crossing Over With John Edward, is developing a series with hypnotist Paul McKenna, sources say. Studios USA had no comment.
Columbia TriStar is working with Endemol Entertainment on Salon Confidential, a reality series in which viewers listen in on people's conversations at a beauty salon. A series the studio is developing with eBay will likely have a sales component.
Fox's Twentieth Television has announced new talker The Rob Nelson Show, a daily series with the former Fox News Channel personality. Twentieth is also rolling out newsmagazine series Good Day Live
on several Fox stations and may sell it nationally for next season.
Carsey-Werner has its first-ever first-run syndicated series coming, weekend series Livin' Large. The show, a co-venture with The Heritage Network and Dick Clark Productions, is described as an updated, hip-hop version of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Telco Productions is selling We the Jury, and Paramount Domestic TV has a female-oriented reality series Life Stories
in the works.