Wilkos talker secures more clearances

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NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution has cleared Steve Wilkos' upcoming talk show in more than 85% of the country for a fall launch in syndication.

The hourlong daytime strip, hosted by the security guard from "The Jerry Springer Show," has now been sold to stations from such groups as Tribune, Sinclair, Fox, Hearst-Argyle, Gannett and Sunbeam. Recently added markets include WLVI Boston, WATL Atlanta, KUTP Phoenix, WFTC Minneapolis and WKCF Orlando.

They join such previously announced stations as WPIX New York, KTLA Los Angeles, WGN Chicago, WPHL Philadelphia, WTTA Tampa, WPGH Pittsburgh, WNUV Baltimore and WLFL Raleigh (HR 1/17).

The as-yet-untitled show, which is being sold on a cash-plus-barter basis, has now been cleared in 45 of the top 50 markets. It will be paired with NBC Universal's "Maury" and "Springer" in many markets.

"Steve has been on television for more than a decade, which has made him extremely recognizable and already a proven success with the daytime audience," said Barry Wallach, president of NBC Univeral's domestic distribution unit. "Local broadcasters are excited to add Steve's show in the fall, as it will be a perfect complement to their current lineups."

The show, featuring Wilkos doling out tough-love advice to his guests, will be taped in front of a live studio audience at WMAQ Chicago, home of "Springer." Richard Dominick, who is executive producer of "Springer" and VH1's upcoming "The Springer Hustle," will exec produce Wilkos' talker.

Wilkos, a former U.S. Marine and Chicago police officer, has been with "Springer" for 14 years.
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