'Crosswords' put in play


Program Partners has teamed with Merv Griffin and WMA for a new syndicated game show.

The show, "Let's Play Crosswords," was unveiled to potential station partners Sunday ahead of NATPE's Conference & Exhibition at the Mandalay Bay Resort.

The half-hour strip features contestants answering questions with words that solve a crossword in order to win the game and become a returning champion. It's being produced for syndication in high-definition.

"Crosswords," which is owned equally by Merv Griffin Entertainment, Program Partners and WMA, is being sold for straight cash, with double runs available.

Ritch Colbert, who founded Program Partners with Josh Raphaelson, said the timing is right to launch a new game show.

"Established shows are ruling the roost, but if you look closer, court shows, talk shows and sitcoms are all down year-to-year," he said. "Game shows are the only format that's up."

Colbert added that the show can work in various time periods — including morning, early fringe and access — particularly alongside newscasts.