'Boston' as '08 syndie has appeal


"Boston Legal" has made its case for a fall 2008 launch in broadcast syndication.

Twentieth Television has cleared the legal drama as a weekly off-net series in 50% of the U.S.

Meanwhile, CBS Television Distribution has cleared its "Dr. Phil" spinoff, tentatively titled "The Doctors," in 75% of the U.S. for its fall 2008 launch in first-run syndication.

Twentieth president and COO Bob Cook said "Boston Legal" has been "generating excitement among the local stations." The show has been cleared in 46 markets so far, including ABC-owned KABC Los Angeles, WLS Chicago, KTRK Houston and KGO San Francisco; NBC's KXAS Dallas; Scripps' WXYZ Detroit and WEWS Cleveland; Sunbeam's WHDH Boston and WSVN Miami; Allbriton's WJLA Washington; Meredith's KPHO Phoenix; and Cox's WSB Atlanta.

"Boston Legal," in its fourth season on ABC, stars James Spader and William Shatner. The show is produced by David E. Kelley Prods. and 20th Century Fox Television. Kelley, who created the series, executive produces with Bill D'Elia.

"Doctors" features five practicing medical professionals, ranging from a plastic surgeon to an OB/GYN to a therapist, who will discuss such medical topics as painkillers, obesity or vaccines.

The first-run strip has been cleared in the top 25 markets. New stations include Belo Corp.'s KMOV St. Louis and WCNC Charlotte and Meredith Broadcasting's KPTV Portland, Ore. The majority are the show's clearances are for early-fringe time periods.

"Doctors" is produced by Stage 29 Prods. and CTD, with Phil McGraw and Jay McGraw serving as executive producers.

Separately, independent distributor Litton Entertainment said it has cleared the off-net show "Storm Stories" in several markets for a fall 2008 launch, with the stations planning to customize the episodes to feature their own meteorologists, local news and weather updates.

Stations clearing the show include KCAL/KCBS Los Angeles, WGN Chicago, WSB Atlanta, WTSP Tampa, Fla., KPHO Phoenix, KUSA Denver, KSDK St. Louis, WPXI Pittsburgh and WJZ Baltimore.