Spurred on by today's economic crunch, Twentieth Television is offering stations Texas Justice free of charge for a temporary time.
The move was part of the studio's announcement Wednesday - of what was already widely expected - the national roll-out of the current regional court effort. To peak stations' interest for this, Twentieth will not charge stations license fees for Texas Justice from September until the show's official roll-out in January 2002. They'll also let stations keep all the commercial inventory for the episodes during that time.
Once the new year hits, however, stations will revert back to paying the typical license fees and participating in the usual barter advertising split on Texas Justice. So far all Fox O&O's, Twentieth's distribution partners, have signed on.
"Yes, yes," the current economic climate played into Twentieth's clearance strategy, says its sales chief Paul Franklin. But Franklin explains that it didn't require a lot out of Twentieth to do this, since so many episodes of Texas Justice are already in the can.
Just 45 of the 70 produced for Texas Justice's regional test have aired. Including the Fox stations, 53% of the U.S. is now cleared to run Texas Justice. - Susanne Ault