Marie Osmond talker cleared in N.Y., L.A.

First big announcement for new show at NATPE

LAS VEGAS -- Program Partners has cleared its Marie Osmond-hosted talk show "Marie" in the top two markets for its targeted fall launch.

NBC owned-and-operated station WNBC New York and Tribune Broadcasting's KTLA Los Angeles have both signed up to air the first-run strip, which brings the total clearance level to 70% of the country.

The news actually marks the first clearance announcement for the talker, which was unveiled a year ago at NATPE 2008, as well as the first clearance announcement for a new syndicated show to come out of this year's confab.

Program Partners co-founder Ritch Colbert said on a panel here that he believes the two big-market clearances will provide momentum to get more deals inked going forward, telling THR that he expects a dozen more markets to close within the next two weeks.

Asked during the panel if the New York and Los Angeles clearances mean the show will be on the air in the fall, Colbert said, "I'd have to say that's a pretty good bet."

Despite the advertising crisis that's causing stations to slash their programming budgets, Colbert said, "We started early so we were able to generate cash license fees at a time when you were still able to do that."

In other news out of NATPE, Twentieth Television has now cleared "How I Met Your Mother" in 75% of the country for its fall 2010 launch in broadcast syndication. The distributor has inked deals for the off-net sitcom in 23 out of the top 25 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Dallas.

Meanwhile, David Decker has been promoted to executive vp business and legal affairs at Telepictures Prods.

Decker will continue to oversee all of the day-to-day business operations -- including business affairs, legal, finance and administration -- for Telepictures. He will also provide business and legal affairs counsel to corporate sibling Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. Decker had been senior vp since 2004.

Also, Steve Rotfeld Prods. has renewed three weekly children's series for fall 2009.

"Wild About Animals" and "Awesome Adventures" are cleared in 90% of the U.S., including the Fox O&Os, while "Whaddyado" has been cleared in 85% of the country, including the CBS-owned CW and MyNetworkTV affiliates.