‘Drew,’ ‘Jeopardy!’ and ‘Wheel’ among major syndication renewals announced
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
A slew of syndicated shows have gotten renewal deals since the start of 2023.
The show had converted to a different format designed to air either as two separate 30-minute shows or a single 60-minute run. This enabled CBS-owned stations to launch half-hour 9 a.m. newscasts to air before “Drew,” typically after “CBS Mornings” ended.
Stations in other markets often run the full hour. Some markets run the first half on one station and the second half separately on another station or time.
“Drew” has been averaging about 1.21 million daily viewers and posted growth in several of CBS’s owned markets, ranging from 4% to 35%.
That would put “Jeopardy!” at 44 seasons and “Wheel” at 45 in syndication.
The show is in the middle of its first season with former champ Ken Jennings as host. Actress Mayim Bialik is officially billed as host alongside him but has so far only appeared on primetime specials produced for ABC and negotiated separately from the syndicated version.
So far, Bialik has been tapped to host “Celebrity Jeopardy!”
“Jeopardy!” is in the midst of a bit of a renaissance, brought on largely by the rise of the so-called “super champions” — contestants who, thanks to a change in rules a few years ago, win for weeks at a time, often amassing over $1 million in winnings.
Many of these champs have leveraged their status on social media and have various book deals and other projects in the works.
The show recently announced it would launch “Jeopardy! Masters,” a match-up of some of the most memorable recent contestants in 2023 for primetime. Matt Amodio, Sam Buttrey, Andrew He, James Holzhauer, Mattea Roach and Amy Schneider are scheduled to appear.
It was not immediately clear how long Jennings and Bialik are under contract.
“Wheel,” meanwhile, has expanded into primetime as well with a “Celebrity” franchise, but because it lacks any element of returning champs, hasn’t been able to leverage star contestants to the extent “Jeopardy!” has, which could be at least partially why the shows have flipped spots in the syndication ratings after decades of “Wheel” typically ranking first with “Jeopardy!” second.
There has also been some recent rumblings that “Wheel” host Pat Sajak may be leaning toward retirement, though it’s not clear where his contract negotiations, if any, stand.
The show, hosted by comedian and actor Sherri Shepherd airs on Fox-owned stations in major cities.
Warner Bros.’ “The Jennifer Hudson Show” got picked up for a second season as well.
Entertainment Studios’ “We the People with Judge Lauren Lake,” which got a new host in its second year, has not been renewed as of Jan. 17, 2023. No decision Debmar-Mercury’s “Pictionary” has also not received word of its future. Several off-network programs, including “9-1-1,” “American Housewives” and “The Rookie,” also debuted in national syndication.
NBC News’ “Dateline” is also began airing repeats daily in afternoons largely to replace “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in markets where it wasn’t filled with more local news or an early “NBC Nightly News” airing.
Looking to the fall of 2023, Game Show Network’s “People Puzzler” will go into syndication. Entertainment Studios has a court and home makeover series in development, among others. Sony has also hinted at more game show announcements.
Gray Television, meanwhile, plans to launch “Investigate TV,” a show that will air on its stations across the country. The launch could put a small dent in the syndication market and follows a trend of station groups producing their own content rather than pay for pricey syndicated shows.