Scripps is producing two original half-hour unscripted shows – one a game show and the other a news magazine – to begin airing September 17 in seven of the company’s 13 U.S. TV markets, replacing the company’s current lineup of syndicated programming in the access timeslots.
The game show, called Let’s Ask America, sees contestants linked digitally from their own homes to answer questions about current events. The show is helmed by executive producer Jim Paratore (The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Lopez Tonight), produced by Telepictures and ParaMedia, and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.
The format will be distributed internationally by Warner Bros. International Television Production.
Meanwhile, nightly news magazine The List is billed as being positioned “at the intersection of news and pop culture.” It will use an ensemble cast of national and local vloggers (video bloggers), “web content experts,” and multimedia journalists, covering national topics with availability for localized content.
Rick Joyce, the executive producer of The List, spent 10 years as news director of Entertainment Tonight. The series will be made available outside of the Scripps markets through Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution for a fall 2013 national launch.
Both shows are replacing the company’s current lineup of syndicated programming in the time periods before the networks’ primetime lineup (the ‘access’ hour) or before early evening local newscasts (the ‘early fringe’ hour).
“This is an important step in our strategy to take more direct creative and economic control of the content that serves our viewers and supports our advertisers across the country,” said Rich Boehne, Scripps president and CEO.
“There’s no more important place to be an entrepreneur than in the creation of programming for the growing menu of screens that carry our brands.”
Brian Lawlor, senior VP of the Scripps television division (not to be confused with the cable company Scripps Networks Interactive, which spun off from The E.W. Scripps Company in 2008) added: “We have invested many months of research to find winning formulas that will inform and entertain audiences. Our extensive testing convinced us that we have the ingredients for some of the most-appealing new content to be introduced in the access and early-fringe hours in many years.”
The new programming begins in September in the Scripps markets of Phoenix, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Tampa and Tulsa. When contracts for other syndicated shows expire in the remaining Scripps markets – which include Detroit, Denver, San Diego and Indianapolis – Let’s Ask America and The List will move into those timeslots.