Broadcasting & Cable
By 38 (No. 2, Vol. 129)
In an article about the decline of newsmagazines on TV, USA Studios strategy is discussed with XENA mentioned in passing as a sample action hour.
[snip] Studios USA, which has made a name for itself with talk (Jerry Springer, Sally Jessy Raphael) and action-hours (Xena and Hercules), is looking to get a foothold in the prized access and early-fringe time periods. And with Free Speech, the Barry Diller-run syndication unit is sending out video cameras to everyday Americans to let them produce and shoot news magazine-type stories themselves. Studios USA is teaming up with New York-based Broadcast News Network (BNN) to produce the daily half-hour shows. BNN is a well-established independent news organization that contributes to many shows, including CBS's 48 Hours, A&E's Investigative Reports and MTV's MTV News: Unfiltered. "It's a magazine show that tells the story from a first-person perspective," says Steve Rosenberg, president of Studios USA Domestic Television. "As opposed to having 20/20 or Primetime Live go out and do a story by a staff reporter, Free Speech will be told by a person who is living it. You are going to get a much more emotional pull and first-person attitude than you would from a reporter." Viewers who write in with a compelling story to tell will be sent a video camera and sound equipment that allows them to do all the work alone. A BNN segment producer will be assigned to each story and sent to a location if a story requires further assistance. [snip] THE NEW NEWSMAKERS Show Distributor Terms-barter split Clearance National Enquirer MGM Domestic Television barter-3.5/3.5 76% Free Speech Studios USA cash-plus-1.5/5.5 NA Show Debut National Enquirer Fall '99 Free Speech Fall '99
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