'Wizard' pulls Tribune out of hat


Disney-ABC Domestic Television already has lined up clearances for its new syndicated series "Wizard's First Rule," from executive producer Sam Raimi.

"Wizard" — a first-run, scripted, live-action weekly series — has been cleared on Tribune Broadcasting's owned stations, representing 35% of the country, for its fall launch.

"We are enormously pleased to be bringing a network-quality product back to the syndication marketplace that will reinvigorate the weekly scripted, one-hour genre," Disney-ABC Domestic Television president Janice Marinelli said Tuesday. "Tribune's stations are the ideal home for this series, and we couldn't have asked for a better launch partner."

"Wizard" is based on Terry Goodkind's best-selling epic fantasy series "The Sword of Truth," which follows the transformation of woodsman Richard Cypher into a magical leader who joins with a mysterious, beautiful woman to stop a tyrant (HR 1/29).

The hourlong show is being produced by ABC Studios. Raimi is executive producing alongside Robert Tapert, Joshua Donen and Ned Nalle.

"We are eager to reunite with the creative forces (Tapert, Nalle) that brought us so much success with 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' and 'Xena: Warrior Princess,' " said Marc Schacher, senior vp programming and development at Tribune.

Production is slated to begin on the 22 episodes in May.

In other news, Litton Entertainment said it has cleared its off-Weather Channel series "Storm Stories" in 70% of the country.