Twentieth Television Plans September Premiere for 'Dish Nation'
Twentieth Television and the Fox Television Stations plan to syndicate Dish Nation – featuring outspoken local radio personalities from across the country who will give a comedic twist on the news – nationwide beginning this September, pairing it in many markets with Telepictures’ celebrity news show TMZ.
The half-hour daily show has already been cleared to air in nine of the ten largest markets covering 55 percent of the U.S., including Fox owned stations as well as TV stations owned by Tribune, Lin and Cox, according to an announcement Monday by Paul Franklin, EVP & General Manager of Broadcast Sales, Twentieth Television and Frank Cicha, SVP of Programming, Fox Television Stations.
It is being paired with TMZ on most Fox stations and others; but will also be sold as a companion to off-network sitcoms in some markets.
Fox will be looking to sell the show in the rest of the country during the upcoming NATPE market and conference in Miami Beach, which begins Jan. 23. They will also be promoting the launch of their new Ricki Lake talk show at NATPE.
Fox describes the show as “highlighting the nation’s funniest radio shows; riffing on what’s hot and happening that day in pop culture.”
The announcement adds: “A fresh, new format, Dish Nation gives a comedic twist to the news that’s on everyone’s minds. Whether the latest on celebrity couples, breaking entertainment news, hot pop culture moments or what happened on reality TV the night before.”
Among those radio personalities who will participate, according to Fox, are The Big Show with Scott & Todd on WPLJ in New York City (Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill); Rickey Smiley Morning Show from Atlanta’s WHTA and syndicated in over 60 markets nationwide (hosted by Rickey Smiley and featuring Ebony Steele, Gary T, and HeadKrack); and Blaine & Allyson on WDVD in Detroit (Blaine Fowler and Allyson Martinek). Fox says they will name additional radio contributors in the future.
Dish Nation is the latest show that Fox has tested with a limited summer run before deciding whether to take it out nationally or not. In the past they did test runs before making commitments to Anderson Cooper and Wendy Williams. Talk shows they tested which did not go forward featured Craig Kilorn, Fran Drescher and Mike Huckabee.
Dish Nation got a six week test on Fox stations in seven markets, typically airing between 6 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
Fox’s Franklin says they “set out to present viewers a fresh, funny and modern take on the entertainment news genre. As exemplified by the positive viewer reaction, laugh-out-loud segments, and likeable radio personalities, we have succeeded.”
“This was a unique idea that we thought had real potential if it could be executed on a day and date basis,” says Cicha. “The test proved that it could, so we’re ready to go.”
Dish Nation is produced by the Studio City and distributed by Twentieth Television. The announcement says it will produce fresh content 52 weeks a year.
This is the first show produced by Studio City, and was the idea of their Chief Creative Officer Stu Weiss, who will serve as executive producer. Until now Studio City has been known as a marketing and promotion company.
Weiss says after 17 years promoting other people’s shows and movie, they began developing their own ideas about four years ago. “we got a sense of where there was an opportunity and a void,” says Weiss, “and where we thought a show could work.”
He says they will tape the radio shows each morning and then edit them down to fit the show’s format, offering up a local and regional take on entertainment news.
Weiss says radio has long been “the bullpen for television,” where personalities from Dick Clark to David Letterman to Ryan Seacrest got their start. “We are going to tap into this underutilized training ground,” says Weiss.
“Not since WKRP in Cincinnati,” he says making reference to a scripted sitcom that ran from 1978 to 1982, “has there been radio like this on television.”
Stations set to run Dish Nation inclue Fox’s WNYW-FOX / WWOR-MNT (New York), KTTV-FOX / KCOP-MNT (Los Angeles), WFLD-FOX / WPWR-MNT (Chicago), WTXF-FOX (Philadelphia), WFXT-FOX (Boston), KDFW-FOX / KDFI-MNT (Dallas/Ft. Worth), WTTG-FOX / WDCA-MNT (Washington D.C.), KMSP-FOX / WFTC-MNT (Minneapolis), WJBK-FOX (Detroit), WAGA-FOX (Atlanta), WUTB-MNT (Baltimore), KRIV-FOX / KTXH-MNT (Houston), WTVT-FOX (Tampa), WOFL-FOX / WRBW-MNT (Orlando), KSAZ-FOX / KUTP-MNT (Phoenix), WHBQ-FOX (Memphis), KTBC-FOX (Austin) and WOGX-FOX (Ocala); Cox’s KTVU-FOX / KICU-TV (San Francisco); Tribune’s WXIN-FOX / WTTV-CW (Indianapolis), KCPQ-FOX / KZJO-TV (Seattle), KTXL-FOX (Sacramento), WGNO-ABC / WNOL-CW (New Orleans);
Local stations include KTVI-FOX / KPLR-CW (St. Louis), KSTU-FOX (Salt Lake City), WITI-FOX (Milwaukee ), WGHP-FOX (Greensboro); Lin’s WTNH-ABC, WCTX-MNT (Hartford), WWHO-CW (Columbus), WOOD-NBC / WOTV-ABC / WXSP-MNT (Grand Rapids), WAVY-NBC / WVBT-FOX (Norfolk), KRQE-CBS, KASA-FOX (Albuquerque), WIVB-CBS / WNLO-CW (Buffalo), WPRI-CBS / WNAC-FOX / WNAC-DT2-MNT (Providence), and WALA-FOX / WFNA-CW (Mobile).