Station Group Makes Big Deal for Investigative Series

'Corrupt Crimes' from Bellum and Sinclair is launching without the participation of any of the big network broadcasters.

The big network players have been relatively quiet at NATPE when it comes to launching new syndicated series, so a deal involving a large station group has created a buzz at the market.

A new half-hour daytime series, Corrupt Crimes, was announced Tuesday by producer Bellum Entertainment and the Sinclair Broadcast Group for a September launch in national syndication. Bellum handles domestic syndication.

The five-day-a-week program is billed as an investigative series, which will expose corruption across the country.

It comes in the wake of another series featuring investigations and criminal activity, Crime Watch Daily, which is being produced by Warner Bros. TV and has a carriage commitment from the Tribune Stations and others covering most of the U.S. It also launches in September.

Sky Vision, the international distribution division of European satellite broadcaster Sky, is handling domestic cable sales and distribution of Corrupt Crimes outside of the U.S.

This is one of the rare deals in which none of the top network broadcasters are principals. It is a sign that Sinclair — which after a number of acquisitions of other station groups now has 162 stations in 78 markets (reaching 38 percent of U.S. TV homes) — is serious about carving out its own path in domestic syndicated content.

"This is another example of our scale benefiting our viewers by bringing new and interesting content, such as Corrupt Crimes," said David Amy, Sinclair's executive vp and COO.

"By launching with Sinclair, we have a great platform with our station partners, which we find crucial to the success of daytime syndication," said vp of Bellum Entertainment Boots Walker.

According to the announcement, each episode of Corrupt Crimes will showcase relatively recent stories about things such as doping in sports, wiretapping, treason, insider trading, piracy, murder, blackmail and government corruption.

"Corrupt Crimes pulls back the curtain to expose what is really going on," promises the announcement.