"The Roseanne Show," scheduled to premiere this fall, has cleared 90.24% of the country. The show also has sold in Australia, Canada, England, Finland and New Zealand.
"She's one of the most versatile talents ever, and is incredibly funny and provocative," says Michael King, president-CEO of King World. "Her unique brand of humor strikes a chord with mass audiences, and she's used her talents to speak to an audience that for many years prior was never spoken to."
As evidenced by the large clearance, stations are supporting the weekday show scheduled to appear in early fringe or daytime slots. But some stations and agencies are uncertain about supporting the show because it might reflect Roseanne's controversial personality.
"From the sales perspective, King World is guaranteeing that she will be closely watched so that the show won't upset advertisers," says Bob Flood, senior VP-national broadcast for DeWitt Media, New York. "I don't know whether or not Roseanne is going to play well as the host of a show or if her appeal will be consistent throughout the country."
Mr. Flood adds that he hasn't seen a pilot for the show and that many media buyers will make their decision based on the show's cost effectivesness versus its potentially controversial content.
Benedek Broadcasting Corp., which owns 23 stations in mostly rural areas, bought the show for several reasons, says Terry Hurley, senior VP.
"We think that the demographics that watched her prime-time show are also there in daytime," says Mr. Hurley.
"We do have enough faith in King World's ability to ameliorate any potential bad situations and work with Roseanne in a positive manner," he notes.
"We believe that this will be among the biggest debuts in syndicated television history," says Mr. King. "I haven't had a show that's generated this much reaction since `Oprah.' "
"It will get major league sampling initially," Mr. Hurley says. "It will be up to Roseanne and King World to retain that audience."