'Young' clears major markets for '07 launch

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On the heels of renewing its court show "Judge Maria Lopez" for a second season, Sony Pictures Television has cleared the new court series "Judge David Young" in 55% of the country for a fall 2007 launch.

The half-hour strip features Young, the circuit court judge in Miami-Dade County who has presided over cases including that of two former America West pilots who were sentenced to prison last year after being convicted of operating an aircraft while intoxicated (HR 10/12). He will continue as circuit court judge until next year, when he will step down from the post he was elected to in 2001 to host the court show.

"Judge David" has been cleared in 17 of the top 20 markets, including stations from the Fox, CBS and Sinclair groups.

Station clearances in the top 10 markets include Fox O&Os in New York (WNYW/WWOR), Los Angeles (KTTV/KCOP), Chicago (WPWR/WFLD), Dallas (KDFW/KDFI), Washington (WDCA/WTTG) and Houston (KRIV), as well as CBS O&Os in Philadelphia (KYW/WPSG), San Francisco (KBCW/KPIX), Boston (WBZ/WSBK), Atlanta (WUPA) and Detroit (WWJ/WKBD).

Several Sinclair stations also have cleared the show, including WBFF/WNUV Baltimore, WLFL/WRDC Raleigh, N.C., WSTR Cincinnati and WVTV/WCGV Milwaukee.

The news marks the first station clearance announcement of a nationally syndicated first-run show launching in the 2007-08 season. "Judge David" is being sold with a 50-50 barter split.

SPT president of distribution John Weiser said Young has a "great sense of humor" and a "compelling personality."

"Our goal is to help stations grow their audiences with advertiser-friendly programming," he added. "Court is one of the most dominant forces in daytime, with an 11% growth over the past three years."

SPT also distributes a third court show, "Judge Hatchett."
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