October Moon, Bunim-Murray on 'Laugh Off'

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PASADENA -- October Moon Television and Bunim-Murray Prods. will be selling a new first-run comedy/game show, targeted for a September launch in syndication, at NATPE's Conference & Exhibition this week in Las Vegas.

In addition, Buena Vista Television, Sony Pictures Television and CBS Television Distribution have locked up several deals with stations and talent.

October Moon and Bunim-Murray's "Laugh Off" is a comedy competition series that offers unknown comedians the chance to compete in challenges featuring stand-up, improvisation, charades, mime and tabloid quiz, among others. A studio audience votes on the winner, and the champion can return for up to five days to meet new challengers.

The half-hour strip is produced by Bunim-Murray and being distributed on a cash/barter basis by October Moon. The companies said it's designed to air adjacent to sitcoms or game shows.

Meanwhile, BVT has renewed the daytime talker "Live With Regis & Kelly" and the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" through the 2010-11 season.

"Live," which is in its 19th season in syndication, has been renewed by multiple stations from the ABC-owned, Tribune, CBS-owned, Sunbeam, Hubbard, McGraw-Hill and Freedom station groups, among others. Stations include WABC New York, KABC Los Angeles, WPVI Philadelphia, WHDH Boston, KGO San Francisco, KTRK Houston, KSTP Minneapolis, WSVN Miami, KWGN Denver, WRTV Indianapolis, WPEC West Palm Beach, Fla., and WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

"Millionaire," in its fifth season of syndication, has been renewed by multiple stations from the ABC-owned, McGraw-Hill and Freedom station groups, among others. They include WABC, WPVI, KGO, KTRK, KMGH Denver, WTVD and WPEC.

In addition, Roger Ebert, co-host of BVT's "Ebert & Roeper" who has been battling salivary cancer, issued a statement last week regarding his health.

"I had hoped to be back in my seat in the balcony alongside my partner Richard Roeper, but the surgeons tell me they will have to take a staged, multiphased approach to getting me back in shape," he said.

Ebert added that he won't be able to conduct red-carpet interviews at the Oscars on Feb. 25 but that he plans to conduct his "Outguess Ebert" contest in the Chicago Sun-Times and to work with WLS Chicago to make predictions. He added that he is looking forward to watching the Oscars as a "regular spectator" and hopes to return "soon."

Meanwhile, SPT has locked up additional clearances for 2007-08 on what it is calling the trio of "Supreme Court" strips. Upcoming "Judge David Young" has now been cleared for its fall 2007 launch in 82% of the U.S., including 23 of the top 25 markets. Freshman "Judge Maria Lopez" has been renewed in 92% of the U.S. for its upcoming second season, including 23 of the top 25, while "Judge Hatchett" is heading into its eighth season with clearances covering 97% of the U.S., including 24 out of the top 25 markets.

CBS Television Distribution said it has signed a new multiyear deal with Lara Spencer to continue serving as co-anchor of its entertainment newsmagazine "The Insider," which is in its third season in syndication.

As for "Insider" host Pat O'Brien, a spokesperson said: "Pat O'Brien has been with 'The Insider' since Day 1. He is currently under contract to us. We are in discussions to continue his deal."

NATPE's confab runs today through Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.
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