Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution Has Sold TMZ, a New Show Based on TMZ.com�The #1 Entertainment News Website�To All the Fox Owned Television Stations in a Multi-Year Deal for National Syndication Launch in Fall 2007
January 15, 2007
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (WBDTD) and the Fox Owned Television Stations are teaming up on a multi-year deal for the launch of TMZ, a new, daily television series based upon TMZ.com, the #1 entertainment news destination on the Internet, it was announced today by Ken Werner, President, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, at a press conference at the 2007 NATPE Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.
The series is being produced by Warner Bros.-based Telepictures Productions, Harvey Levin Productions, Inc., and paraMedia, inc., with TMZ.com managing editor Harvey Levin and paraMedia founder Jim Paratore serving as Executive Producers.
TMZ is being readied for launch in fall 2007, and WBDTD has sold the series to all of the Fox-owned stations, including New York City (WNYW/WWOR), Los Angeles (KTTV/KCOP) and Chicago (WFLD/WPWR), among others.
The licensing deal for the broadcast program includes additional, precedent-setting multiplatform elements. All TMZ station partners will have access to exclusive TMZ content for use on their websites. Telepictures will create a TMZ-branded module that will reside on the station's home page, creating an entertainment news destination that is fully integrated into the local station website and is updated around-the-clock with information on stories featured in the daily TMZ program. Additionally, the local TMZ site will function as a 24/7 "newsfeed" for its affiliates, providing TMZ-branded news reports as well as un-edited footage for station use in local news telecasts.
The half-hour series will bring the TMZ.com brand to television, expanding upon the website's mission as a 24-hour-per day, seven-day-per week entertainment news destination providing a fresh, unvarnished and sometimes irreverent take on celebrities and their real lives. Since its launch in December 2005, TMZ.com�a joint venture between Telepictures Productions and AOL�has enjoyed a meteoric rise, becoming the #1 entertainment news destination on the Internet within seven months of its debut and maintaining its dominance. TMZ.com broke several of the biggest pop-culture news stories of 2006, including Mel Gibson's DUI arrest and subsequent encounter with law enforcement; Michael Richards' ill-fated trip to the Laugh Factory; and the breakup of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline's marriage. TMZ.com has quickly become one of the most-cited entertainment news sources, utilized by national network and local newsgathering organizations across the country.
"In today's television landscape, there is big opportunity for a younger, more gender-balanced entertainment magazine with a distinct voice and point of view," said Werner. "TMZ.com was created by Telepictures and AOL to fill a need in the broadband world for an entertainment news site run by professionals experienced in that world. In a very short time, they have established the most highly trafficked entertainment news site on the web and a brand that under the leadership of Jim Paratore and Harvey Levin will translate in a powerful way in the TV world."
"What we are buying into is a proven, immensely successful internet brand," said Frank Cicha, Senior Vice President, Programming, Fox Television Stations. "The unique combination of broadcast and broadband this project brings makes it extremely attractive."
"The combination of the TMZ brand�and its ability to break stories and tell them from a different point of view�combined with our track record at producing magazine programming will translate into a compelling series," said Hilary Estey McLoughlin, President, Telepictures Productions. "This is a terrific example of how broadcasters, program suppliers and new media can combine their respective areas of expertise to break new ground in programming."
"Today's audience wants a fresh, unvarnished look at celebrities and the world of entertainment. With TMZ.com, we have proven that we can break the stories and create the features they want," said Paratore. "TMZ will not only be the hottest entertainment magazine on TV, TMZ will give local stations a competitive edge on their websites and in their local news."
TMZ will be produced in Los Angeles by Harvey Levin Productions, Inc., and paraMedia, inc., in association with Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. With an irreverent point of view, the show will feature fast-paced video segments, investigative news reports, exclusive citizen video and other elements that will give viewers behind-the-scenes access to the most popular entertainment stories of the day.
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution (WBDTD) is one of the leading distributors of first-run and off-network programming in the domestic television marketplace. It handles the syndication of television series produced by Warner Bros. Television, Telepictures Productions, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Horizon Television, selected HBO Independent Productions and the impressive Lorimar Television library; current feature films from Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Independent Pictures; and the Studio's unmatched film library.
WBDTD currently distributes seven first-run series: Telepictures Productions' The Dr. Keith Ablow Show, The Tyra Banks Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Judge Mathis and Extra, as well as The People's Court and Showtime at the Apollo. The extensive list of off-network programs currently in syndication via WBDTD includes daily strips of Friends, Will & Grace (from NBC Studios), The Drew Carey Show, HBO's Sex and the City and, launching in fall 2007, Two and a Half Men, as well as the weekend broadcast windows of ER, Cold Case, The West Wing and Without a Trace, among others.
The Fox Television Station group, one of the nation's largest owned-and-operated network broadcast groups, comprises 35 stations in 26 markets, covering nearly 45% of U.S. television homes. This includes five duopolies in the top 10 markets�New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Washington D.C.�as well as duopolies in Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Orlando.