'Excused' Clears Syndication in More Than 50% of Country

CBS Television Distribution has cleared its new first-run syndicated strip Excused to stations in more than 50 percent of the country, which should give the series some momentum going into the NATPE trade show next week in Miami.

The first-run arena is still a little thin going into next week's sales bazaar. Only one other new first-run strip from a Hollywood major is more widely cleared so far -- Warner's gabber with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper; the only indie distributed show with wide clearances so far is Debmar-Mercury's gabber with British talk show vet Jeremy Kyle.

The deals for Excused were unveiled Wednesday by Joe DiSalvo, president of sales for the Eye's syndie unit.

The half-hour dating reality strip is cleared in the top three markets on WWOR in New York (Fox); KCAL (CBS) in Los Angeles; and WCIU (Weigel) in Chicago.

Among other stations signing on are key ones from the following groups: Fox, CBS, Sinclair, Weigel, Sunbeam, Cox Enterprises, Meredith, Tribune , Post-Newsweek, New Age, Titan, Griffin and Sun.

The show was sold cash plus barter into mostly late fringe and access time periods for a fall 2011 launch.

"Excused is a fresh take on a dating show that will mine the comedy that traditionally comes with relationships," said DiSalvo. "Stations saw this strip as an opportunity to counterprogram and give viewers an alternative to off-network sitcoms."

Excused will be produced by Renegade 83 Entertainment, best known for Blind Date, and executive produced by David Garfinkle and Jay Renfroe. Hosted by Iliza Shlesinger, who won the sixth season of Last Comic Standing, each episode of Excused will start with a group of men competing for the affections of two women (or vice versa).