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Mutant X Articles: 5/7/06 Tribune drops syndicated TV



Excerpt from Variety 5/7/06: Tribune Entertainment CEO Dick Askin

Askin exits syndie post at Tribune: TV Acad CEO ankles
By MICHAEL SCHNEIDER

Tribune Entertainment prexy-CEO Dick Askin is ankling after more than a decade at the syndication outfit. Askin, who is chairman-CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (where he'll continue), will be replaced for now by Tribune Broadcasting prexy-CEO John Reardon, who will add overseeing Tribune Entertainment.
....
Company was until recently home to several successful weekly actioners, including "Andromeda" and "Mutant X." But those hourlong shows are now out of firstrun production, in part because of changing financial models. And even though it owns stations in the top market, Tribune has struggled to launch a daytime strip since "Geraldo" in the early 1990s. As a result, the company has seen its production output slim down as the syndication marketplace has changed dramatically.

© Variety


Variety 12/18/07

Tribune to lose Entertainment sector: Zell's buyout puts TV shows like 'Train' in limbo
By JOHN DEMPSEY Posted Tue., Dec. 18, 2007, 3:45pm PT

One of the first casualties of the Tribune Co. buyout by the Chicago billionaire Sam Zell is the Tribune Entertainment division, which will soon be shuttered. Tribune Entertainment clears TV stations and sells advertising time for such syndicated TV series as "American Idol Rewind," "Soul Train" and "Ag Day." As the unit winds down, these shows will seek new distributors; early this year Tribune made a deal to shift Fremantle's syndicated firstrun series "Family Feud" from Tribune to Debmar-Mercury.

A Tribune Co. spokesman said Tribune Entertainment has gone out of the firstrun-production business, and the company has laid off three distribution executives based in Chicago. "I'm disappointed but not surprised" by the shutdown, said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz TV. He said Tribune had already "scaled back" its operation, a downsizing that continued with the relinquishing of "Feud."

Tribune was most visible in firstrun syndication from 2000-03 when it successfully produced and distributed such sci-fi hours as "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda" and "Mutant X." The international marketplace for these shows kept Tribune Entertainment in profits. But when foreign broadcasters stopped buying the shows, Tribune couldn't continue to justify their production.

© Variety


Excerpt from Broadcasting & Cable 12/19/07

Tribune Entertainment Drops Syndication Business: Ad-Sales Business to Continue; Deal Pending for Studio
By Paige Albiniak 12/19/2007 4:41:00 PM

Tribune Entertainment is completely exiting the business of distributing syndicated shows to TV stations, but it will continue its ad-sales business, Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman said. “Tribune Entertainment has not been shut down,” he added.
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Before consolidation, Tribune was a prolific producer of first-run shows including Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules in the 1990s. Later, Tribune distributed and sold ads in science-fiction dramas Andromeda, Mutant X and Beastmaster in the United States in partnership with Canadian production company Fireworks Entertainment. Andromeda and Mutant X both proved initially popular, but both series went out of production in 2004 when Fireworks folded.

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