'Phil's' docs schedule '08 syndie appointment

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With two major syndicators already making announcements about fall 2008, their counterparts at other companies also are ramping up for next year, with a "Dr. Phil" spinoff among the projects in the works.

CBS Television Distribution is pitching stations the "Dr. Phil" spinoff, which would feature a panel of doctors discussing a range of health issues, sources said last week. The plan is for the doctors to make appearances on "Phil" throughout the current season — similar to how Dr. Phil McGraw was featured regularly on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" ahead of the launch of his own show.

That strategy also gave the CBS distribution unit success with "Rachael Ray," whose host also was regularly featured on "Oprah" before getting her own daytime talker last season.

The new project, which is being pitched under the working title "The Doctors," is from the same team behind "Dr. Phil," which includes CBS TV Distribution CEO Roger King and creative affairs and development president Terry Wood. Sources added that McGraw's son, Jay McGraw, also is involved. Jay McGraw has executive produced several "Dr. Phil" primetime specials and is exec producer of MyNetworkTV's new series "Decision House."

The sales tape that's being presented to stations features a panel of five doctors that includes Travis Stork, former star of ABC's reality series "The Bachelor," but sources said casting decisions haven't been finalized. Carla Pennington, executive producer of "Dr. Phil," also appears on the tape.

CBS Television Distribution also was developing a court show for fall 2008 featuring Larry Seidlin, the Florida judge who presided over the Anna Nicole Smith trial this year. But sources said that show has been put on the back burner. Reps for CTD declined comment.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and Telepictures Prods. are getting good response from stations on an hourlong court show featuring Jeanine Pirro. The former district attorney for New York's Westchester County had been tapped to preside over Telepictures' celebrity-jury show that didn't go forward.

Reps for WBDTD and Telepictures declined comment.

Looking beyond fall 2008, Sony Pictures Television is mulling the possibility of bringing out a syndicated version of CBS' game show "Power of 10." A rep for SPT confirmed that the show would be considered for future syndication but noted that it is not currently being offered in the marketplace.

The Drew Carey-hosted series, which debuted Aug. 7, was created by executive producer Michael Davies of Embassy Row Prods., who signed a three-year deal with SPT in January 2006 to develop scripted and unscripted programming. Davies also oversees Disney-ABC Domestic Television's syndicated version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

There's also been buzz about a possible syndie version of Fox's game show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" down the road as well, though reps for producer Mark Burnett Prods. could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Twentieth Television is developing several game concepts as well as talkers and some hybrid projects, insiders said.
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