Shows on your DVR? Insecure, Younger, Catastrophe
What are you currently binge-watching? Atlanta, Barry
Favorite type of music: Short by Goldberg Sloan, Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Best recent meal: Anthony’s Coal-Fired Pizza in Florida, with my dad and my kids.
Vacation destination on your bucket list? Greece
When you think syndication, you don’t necessarily think Endemol Shine North America (ESNA). But the production company has been ramping up in the space since 2012, when it produced daytime talker Steve Harvey for NBCUniversal and then in 2016, when it launched Page Six TV for Fox — first as a summer test and then as a nationally distributed strip last fall.
Now ESNA is expanding its plans for syndication, with several projects in the works, including one in development with Essence magazine and another with New York-based radio personality Angie Martinez.
Syndication is well known to be a challenged space in television, but that’s not daunting ESNA. Michael Weinberg, the company’s executive vice president of syndication, joined B&C contributor Paige Albiniak to talk about why.
What brought you into the syndication space?
If you cobble together my resume, it really does all lead to syndication. I worked in daily comedy and variety on Conan O’Brien and that late-night audience is very similar to syndication. Then, I did other shows in syndication, such as To Tell the Truth, which is all about play-along engagement and keeping the audience’s attention during that half-hour, and then went into talkers with Queen Latifah’s first talk show with Telepictures.
Daytime audiences really demand dialogue that’s different from other types of programs. The daytime audience is there every day. They want to be with their best friend for a half-hour or an hour. They want to be entertained, informed and they want escape. They don’t want anything fake.
Can you can bring the buzz late-night is currently experiencing into daytime?
It’s all about respecting the audience. The late-night audience has been through their day and now they want to laugh at the news. In daytime, that audience is going through their day; they are looking for topics that are part of their regular day, but they are also looking for levity. In daytime, the host is more in the fan role, the viewer role — in late night, the host is more in the challenging role.
What is Endemol Shine North America working on for syndication?
We are just finalizing the deal with Essence magazine. We are excited about developing a show with them because of their brand and their global reach and because of the way that magazine tells stories. It’s so much more than a magazine. The Essence Festival is the biggest music festival in the country and Essence is a place where everyone is welcome.
What else are you working on?
Earlier this year, we signed a talent deal with Angie Martinez, who is known as the voice of New York. She’s got the No. 1 radio show on Power 105 and she also has a bestselling book called My Voice that’s a New York Times bestseller. What we are excited about with Angie is that the daytime audience is right in her demographic sweet spot at the center of pop culture and hip hop. She knows these people in an intimate and personal way and she has a way of relating to them in a way that’s very real, authentic and honest. She deals with Jay-Z in the same way she deals with callers on her radio show.
We also plan to take out formats from our international library into syndication. We are just figuring out how that might lay out from season to season. On the flip side of that, our development team is coming up with new [intellectual property] to bring product to the marketplace that we can then sell into international markets.
We all know syndication is a challenged business model. Why does it interest Endemol Shine North America?
We think about it from all those perspectives I just talked about: first-run, cable, second window and, finally, international, where we have a very strong distribution team. Each one serves as promotion for the other. For example, Page Six is also on Hulu. We’re excited about that and see that as a way to reach people on Hulu and also as a way to promote the show.
We’ve added syndication to everything else that we’ve done as a company. We already have multiplatform sales and international distribution built in — we are dedicated to that to begin with. For us, it’s not an afterthought.