Wednesday, April 21st, 2010


Harpo Studios and Sony Pictures Television
The Dr. Oz Show
The most successful launch in nearly a decade -
already the #2 rated talk show this season!
The Nate Berkus Show
Already cleared in 90% US including the NBC O&Os.

Source: Source: NSS, live+SD HH AA%, Sept-Feb avg of debut season; M-F first-run daytime program debuts 2003-2009; NSS, live+SD W25-54 US AA/GAA%; type code=cc (M-F); 9/14/09-4/4/10; excludes breakouts and specials

Cynopsis Media presents: 


Upfront 2010 – The


Syndication Market



Good morning. It’s Wednesday, April 21, 2010, and this is your third installment of this special five-part series on this year’s Upfront season. 

Syndication Upfront 2010: By Daisy Whitney

The biggest story in syndication this year isn’t even happening this year.

But when the most powerful figure in entertainment is about to step down from a post she’s held for 25 years, it’s the kind of thing you can’t stop talking about.

Oprah Winfrey’s pending 2011 exodus from the business she built her empire on will indeed be one of the hot topics at this syndication upfront and into the next one too. In fact, Oprah’s departure is generating a heck of a lot more buzz than are this year’s crop of new shows entering the syndication fold.

“There is no one who is the heir apparent,” said Barry Wallach, President of NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. “You don’t replace Babe Ruth. She is irreplaceable,” he said. But, he pointed out that her departure from syndication is also part of the cyclical nature of the TV business.

“It’s the natural evolution. Someday in 2012 or 2013 or 2015 there will be some other unique personality that no one is thinking of that will wind up filling a void she left,” Wallach added.

That’s why Oprah’s long goodbye will remain a conversation point, but may actually have little material effect on how the money goes down in syndication. Interestingly enough, another staple of syndication is leaving the daypart too as Martha Stewart shifts her show from local TV stations to the Hallmark Channel.





New Shows Few and Far Between

Their departures are garnering such attention in part because there are only a handful of new shows coming down the pike. Notable new shows include The Nate Berkus Show from Harpo Studios and Sony Pictures TV (Berkus himself is a designer and Oprah protege) and the Nancy Grace court show from CBS Television Distribution. Off-network shows entering the fray include How I Met Your Mother, Entourage, Ugly Betty, Real Housewives and Curb Your Enthusiasm. There’s also a new Access Hollywood spinoff from NBC Universal launching this year called Access Hollywood Live, which will be broadcast live and feature in-studio guests and female-friendly segments on style and design.

That’s a solid crop of off-network shows. And when it comes to originals, Nate Berkus should be appealing to advertisers, said Amy McMahon, Associate Director and Lead Syndication Negotiator for Starcom. Still, “It’s all about Oprah’s last season,” she added.

The lack of a big, buzzy show this year is due in part to the long lead time for syndication development. The economy was in such dire straits 18 months ago that many studios pulled back on development then that may have led to a bigger incoming class this year.


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Market Looks Up

The good news is the syndication market will probably rise this year. Advertisers won’t place their bets until broadcasters make their presentations in May, but with a robust scatter market, syndication will likely be healthy and up over last year.

Of course, syndication took a beating last year so an increase isn’t tough to manage. But the sector might not bounce all the way back yet.

“Will this year’s upfront make up for the lost ground from previous years? I don’t think we are there yet, but it’s better and that includes syndication,” said Francois Lee, VP and Activation Director at MediaVest.

Syndication’s strength lies in its familiarity, he said. “There is a level of stability in syndication and by that I mean you buy the show and you know what you’re getting.”

But the pending absence of Oprah may cause uncertainty over where the market is headed, he added. “Without Oprah, some say Ellen will be the person stepping in; but her ratings are far off from where Oprah is so she may pick up some of Oprah’s audience, but viewers don’t differentiate between cable, syndication and broadcast.”

On the plus side, the TV station business is finally starting to recuperate some, as evidenced by recent earnings, said Ira Bernstein, Co-President of Lionsgate-owned studio Debmar-Mercury, which produces and distributes Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and The Wendy Williams Show. Also, TV stations will see new revenue from retransmission consent this year and from political advertising, which should heat up with midterm elections, he said.

“The general economy has come back, but it’s not 100% back,” Bernstein said.

Looking Ahead
McMahon also said she’s keeping an eye on 2011 when Rosie O’Donnell launches her new syndicated show, presumably without the backing of a major studio, McMahon said. “Rosie O’Donnell producing and syndicating a show without a studio is, I suspect, the first of more big news to come,” she said.

“This is more of setting the stage year,” she said of 2010. “Syndication is a $2 billion market. It’s not going to be a driver of the market especially given there has been a lack of overall excitement around the new shows.”         


However, the Syndicated Network Television Association points out that syndication generates the ratings of primetime but is more cost efficient. Plus, syndication expanded in several categories in 2009-2010, including telecom, retail, auto and restaurants, said Mitch Burg, President of SNTA.

In addition, the stable of sitcoms draws youthful demos. He said the median age for syndicated sitcoms like Family Guy, Two and a Half Men and The Office is 36.

“Major advertisers have accepted and embraces syndication’s value proposition of having great programs that people relate to and in having valuable viewers who go to their stores and restaurants, use their mobile phones, buy their cars, etc,” Burg said.

Wallach echoed a similar view. Syndication is reliable and that can be comforting for advertisers. After all, for some shows success is measured in decades, like Oprah, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Judge Judy, Phil Donahue and even I Love Lucy. “One thing that makes broadcast syndication a unique medium is that it offers longevity,” he said.



Upcoming Upfront 2010 Special Editions:
Spanish Language (5/5), Broadcast (5/19)

Special Editions and more Upfront information are available at Upfront Overview.

Influence Brands and Agencies’ Upfront Buying Decisions.
Space is limited. Contact Mike Farina to reserve your advertising!, 203.218.6480

A non-exhaustive list of the available syndication product for the 2010-11 television season:

New First Run Strip Syndication for 2010-11 Season:
Access Hollywood Live – NBC Universal
America’s Court with Judge Ross – Entertainment Studios
Cash Cab (UK) – MGM
Don’t Forget the Lyrics – 20th Television
Judge Karen’s Court – Litton Entertainment
The Nate Berkus Show – Sony Pictures Television
Steven & Chris (Canada) – Program Partners
Swift Justice with Nancy Grace- CBS Television Distribution

First Run series Not Returning to Syndication for Fall 2010: Bonnie, Deal or No Deal, Martha Stewart, Tyra

New Off Net Syndication for 2010-11 Season:
American Dad – 20th Television
Brothers & Sisters – Disney
The Closer – WBDTD
Criminal Minds – CBS Television Distribution
Curb Your Enthusiasm – WBDTD
Dog Whisperer – 20th Television
Entourage – WBDTD
How I Met Your Mother – 20th Television
Meet the Browns – Debmar Mercury
Numb3rs – CBS Television Distribution
Real Housewives – NBC Universal
‘Til Death – Sony Pictures Television
True Hollywood Stories (off net) – Debmar Mercury
Ugly Betty – Disney-ABC Domestic Television
The Unit – 20th Television

This Upfront 2010 Special Edition and all future Special Editions from Cynopsis Media are available to read or download after publishing on the Cynopsis website in our special UPFRONT OVERVIEW section.

Later —
Daisy Whitney for Cynopsis

Cynopsis Ad Sales:
Mike Farina – Sr. Dir/Business Development & Sales – 203-218-6480 /
Classifieds – Trish Pihonak- 203-926-9878 /

Member of Interactive Advertising Bureau (iab)

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