12. Belo TV Group
By BroadCasting & Cable Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/21/2001 7:00:00 PM
18 stations/12.97% of U.S.
We're in pretty solid shape for 2001," says Dennis Williamson, senior vice president, Belo TV group. "There may be a couple of weekend holes or a morning here or an afternoon there. But for the most part, the group has wrapped up its syndicated buying.
Williamson has seen some product he likes. "Part of our problem is that we don't really have the holes at our stations to take all that I think might have a chance," he says. "We're always interested even if we've got a full program schedule in talking to any syndicator about any product. Because you never know where the next big show is coming from."
Belo renewed Oprah in 11 markets and is adding the show to KVUE-TV Austin's schedule. "It fills a big hole," Williamson adds. "Even though some of her [Oprah's] ratings are down, when you look at your alternatives, it is still a very powerful show."
Moreover, he notes, the ratings for syndicated programming in general have dropped off. "It used to be you wouldn't renew a show unless it had a 25 share attached to it. Now shows with 12 and 11 shares are routinely renewed."
Five years ago, Williamson continues, a show launched with a 1.5 to 2 rating would not have been renewed. "It is a different matrix that you have to look at today for what is a winning show," he maintains.
And Belo has not lost faith in the talk show genre. The group acquired Ananda in several markets. "She appears to be a great talent," says Williamson. "If they can put the right vehicle around her, I think it's got as good a chance for success as any of them out there." Ananda will replace Dr. Laura in four markets, he adds. And some stations have bought Iyanla. The group also airs Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown in several markets.
Wheel and Jeopardy are mainstays in access for many Belo stations. However, some of the group's smaller market stations will run Friends in access or even in late night. Some stations also carry Hollywood Squares and ET.
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