'Zone' among pre-NATPE syndie deals

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PASADENA -- There is good news for several syndicated shows just days before NATPE's 2007 Conference & Exhibition kicks off in Las Vegas.

Debmar-Mercury said Thursday that it has cleared the off-cable drama "The Dead Zone" in 85% of the country, including the top 10 markets, for a fall launch in syndication. In addition, Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein said that Twentieth Television has come on board to handle ad sales on the Lionsgate show.

The show is cleared on the Fox owned-and-operated stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Washington, Philadelphia and Boston as well as the ABC affiliates in Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta. Other stations groups on board include Cox, Sinclair, Sunbeam, Gannett and Tribune.

Eighty episodes of "Dead Zone" are available for syndication. The show, which stars Anthony Michael Hall, is set to launch its sixth season on USA Network in June.

Debmar-Mercury also said it has cleared "Family Feud" in 85% of the country for the 2007-08 season, including 49 of the top 50 markets. The distributor said the sales include upgraded time periods in key markets and that it had added new stations to the lineup.

Station groups on board for 2007-08 include CBS, Gannett, Cox, Sinclair, Sunbeam, Meredith, Fox and Tribune. Twentieth is handling ad sales for "Feud" as well.

Debmar-Mercury acquired domestic distribution rights to "Feud" from producer FremantleMedia North America in November. (Tribune Entertainment's deal to handle the station distribution and national barter sales runs through the current season.)

Meanwhile, NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution said it has renewed its syndicated how-to series "The Martha Stewart Show" in more than 80% of the U.S. for its upcoming third season.

The show has been renewed on stations representing such groups as NBC Universal, CBS, Scripps, Sinclair, Hearst-Argyle, Media General, Gannett, Belo, Allbritton, Fisher, Gray, LIN and Nextstar. The latest stations clearing the strip include KING Seattle, WISN Milwaukee, WLKY Louisville, Ky., and WOWT Omaha, Neb.

Martha Stewart and Mark Burnett are executive producers of "Martha," which is produced by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

In other syndication news, Atlas Worldwide Syndications & Distributions said its moving forward with a fourth season of the courtroom series "Eye for an Eye." The show is airing on stations from such groups as Tribune, Sinclair, Raycom, Viacom, LIN TV, Clear Channel, Belo Corp., ACME, Equity, Hearst-Argyle, Weigel, Meredith, Barrington, Roberts Communications, Granite, Hubbard, Shooting Star, Emmis, Entravision, Media General, Winston and Scripps.

Atlas Worldwide also said that it has acquired distribution rights to the action-adventure series "Acapulco H.E.A.T." and "Tarzan," both created and produced by Keller Entertainment. The shows will be distributed nationwide as 30-minute strips and one-hour weeklies.

NATPE's confab runs Tuesday-Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Resort.
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