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Oprah, Sony Sell Nate Berkus Talk Show to NBC U

Syndicated series hosted by the lifestyle guru is expected to debut this fall

Oprah Winfrey’s new Nate Berkus talk show is headed to NBC-owned stations in nearly a dozen big cities.

Sony Pictures Television has closed a deal with NBC Universal’s local stations group to begin airing the new Berkus show this fall, a person familiar with the negotiation confirmed late Friday. Winfrey’s Harpo unit is producing the show.

With the NBC U deal done — and clearances in 10 major markets from New York to San Diego secure — Sony will now begin trying to sell the show to other big station groups and individual outlets around the country. Landing the NBC U deal makes a firm greenlight for the Berkus show all but a certainty.

NBC U had been considered the most logical buyer for the Berkus show, particularly once the conglomerate opted not to move forward with "Martha Stewart." The only question was whether Sony would be able to get a deal that mixed hard cash with ad time in a marketplace in which most local stations have decided they can’t afford to pay cash for new programming.

It’s understood that NBC U has agreed to a so-called cash plus barter deal, a coup for Sony in such a down economy.

Sony and Oprah are already paired on another syndicated hour, "Dr. Oz," which launched to solid numbers last fall.