Jeff Probst Syndicated First-Run Talk Show Sold to NBC Owned Television Stations

Jeff Probst
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PRO: He's Emmy producerMark Burnett's biggest reality talent and an experienced -- and funny -- stand-in for Regis Philbin on "Live!" CON: He barely survived his last Emmy hosting stint in 2008 with fellow reality hosts.


UPDATED: The shuffle is probably bad news for a possible show from reality star Bethenny Frankel, who must now struggle to find enough carriage to make a launch likely.

The picture in domestic TV syndication for fall 2012 is becoming clearer in the wake of the renewal of Warner Bros. Telepicture’s freshman series Anderson by the Fox stations and others.

A new talk show starring Survivor host Jeff Probst from CBS Television Distribution is the winner of a competition for a slot on most of the NBC-owned TV stations, including WNBC in New York, according to a statement from CBS. The show is expected to be sold to the stations on a cash plus barter basis.

CBS Television Distribution has sold the new syndicated first-run talk show to stations in more than 55% of the country for a fall 2012 launch, it was announced today by John Nogawski, President of CTD.

“Stations enthusiastically embraced our and Jeff’s vision for re-creating the classic talk show,” Nogawski said. “Jeff developed his listening and storytelling skills on the prime-time hit Survivor, and his hosting appeal was cemented on Live With Regis and Kelly and Larry King Live. Jeff has the ingredients to become an instant asset to stations and provide a strong lead in to their newscasts.”  
“I’m fascinated with people,” Probst said. “And I love adventure. I can’t wait to bring these two worlds together in daytime, and the added bonus is I get to continue with Survivor in primetime.”

THR had reported previously that the NBC stations, which had already picked up a new talk show starring Steve Harvey, were considering three other new talk shows for a second hour – one with Probst, another from Warner Bros featuring reality star Bethenny Frankel and a talker from Twentieth Television hosted by Ricki Lake, which would mark her return with original shows on the talk circuit for the first time since 2004.

CBS sources had vowed to get Probst launched and now it appears they have succeeded, although there is still no official announcement from the NBC station group.  CBS has not yet confirmed the deal.

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Meanwhile Lake’s new show appears headed to the Tribune group of stations, including WPIX in New York City, which lost Anderson for next fall after helping launch the show.  According to TV News Check, the Tribune group of stations has picked up Lake’s show in a number of other markets.

There has been no official announcement yet from Twentieth TV or Tribune.

A source close to Tribune recently told THR they will also attempt to roll out a talk show starring conservative Cincinnati talk host Bill Cunningham for the fall. That is also expected to land on the Tribune stations, which airs a number of other “conflict” talk shows during the day. Lake is not expected to have a “conflict” format like such shows as Jerry Springer, Maury and The Steve Wilkos Show.

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This shuffle is probably bad news for Frankel, who must now struggle to find enough carriage to make a launch likely; and for Entertainment Studios Gloria Allred show We The People, which has been carried this TV season by the NBC owned stations. Entertainment Studio’s CEO Byron Allen has said that We The People will continue in syndication even if it isn’t renewed by the NBC owned stations.

What this means is that along with the new show Katie starring Katie Couric, which Disney has set to launch on the ABC owned stations, the sure bets to make it onto the air are NBC Universal’s Steve Harvey and Jeff Probst, with Anderson staying on for at least another season.

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In TV syndication, many shows are announced but only those that reach at least 70% or more of U.S. TV homes get on the air because they need at least that much coverage to justify production costs and attract national advertisers. The big event to showcase these syndicated shows and try and clear enough stations to make a launch possible is the annual NATPE market and convention, which will be held in Miami Beach in late January.

This also means the CBS stations are not picking up the Probst show from CBS Television Distribution and the Fox stations are not picking up the Lake show from sister News Corp. division Twentieth TV.

Another talk show from NBC Universal that was announced previously to star Jenny McCarthy appears unlikely to get off the drawing board at all.