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Posted 02-05-99

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.



    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

    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

    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.


                               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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