TV Top 25 by Revenue
Buyers, buoyed by Dr. Phil, are upbeat on syndie
By Kim McAvoy -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/19/2003 7:00:00 PM
Business may be brisk at NATPE this week, and, indeed, television syndicators may find that much of the cynicism and anxiety present last year is far less evident this year.
|TV Top 25 by Revenue|
|Rank/Station Group||'01 revenue|
|Source: BIA Financial Network
|1 Fox TV Stations (News Corp.)||$2,145M|
|2 Viacom TV Stations Group||$1,678M|
|3 NBC TV Stations (GE)||$1,450M|
|4 ABC (Disney)||$1,148M|
|5 Tribune Broadcasting||$1,066M|
|6 Gannett Broadcasting||$761M|
|7 Hearst-Argyle Television||$711M|
|8 Sinclair Broadcast Group||$705M|
|9 Belo Television Group||$655M|
|10 Cox TV Stations||$576M|
|12 Raycom Media||$386M|
|13 Scripps Howard Broadcasting||$367M|
|14 Post-Newsweek Stations||$318M|
|15 LIN Television||$308M|
|16 Clear Channel Television||$296M|
|17 Young Broadcasting||$288M|
|19 Media General||$261M|
|20 Gray Television||$232M|
|21 Emmis Communications||$217M|
|22 Sunbeam Television Corp.||$204M|
|23 Allbritton Communications Co.||$196M|
|24 Liberty Corp.||$176M|
|25 The New York Times Co.||$142M|
Overall, the top 25 broadcasters are optimistic about the future of syndicated TV, and some even think the television industry is headed for economic recovery.
This annual BROADCASTING & CABLE survey of station-group chiefs is designed to reveal what syndicated programs the nation's biggest groups want. But sometimes it just shows their attitude.
"I think there is some vibrancy in the business," says Meredith Broadcasting President Kevin O'Brien. "I feel quite good about Dr. Phil. I think over-the-air TV is in good shape."
And he's not alone. "Dr. Phil is a big-time home run. It's great for business to have another big hit," says Post-Newsweek Stations President Alan Frank. Of course, now broadcast groups are scrambling to renew the hit show or have cleared it in even more markets.
All told, broadcasters seem to like some of the new product. Syndicators are rolling out shows that may have a shot at reviving daytime television, industry observers think. "We feel good about the shows that are out there. I am sure we'll be buying new product," says Cox TV Stations Executive Vice President Bruce Baker.
Certainly, the flurry of major group deals prior to NATPE reflects broadcaster confidence in several new offerings. NBC TV Stations signed off on Ellen DeGeneres and Starting Over. Tribune is counting on Sharon Osbourne as a big daytime hit.
This year's list graphically "spotlights" each of the Top 5 station groups on each page; otherwise, they're listed in order, based on 2001 revenue.
01 Fox TV Stations (News Corp.)
2001 revenue $2,145,050,000
Number of stations: 35
Number of markets: 26
Majority of the stations are in markets 1-24, with duopolies in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington, Houston, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Phoenix, and Orlando, Fla. There are 25 Fox and nine UPN affiliates and one independent, KDFI-TV Dallas/Fort Worth. Among top operations are WNYW(TV) and WWOR-TV New York, and KTTV(TV) and KCOP(TV) Los Angeles.
Fox TV Stations is sticking with its current sitcom offerings and has renewed much of its daytime programming. "Given what is being offered and given the landscape of things, we felt it was more important to first lock up key renewals of the shows we wanted to bring back," says Frank Cicha, vice president of programming for the Fox O&Os.
Another aspect of Fox's daytime strategy is to expand local news in certain markets. Last year, Fox's WNYW(TV) New York and WTTG(TV) Washington added news to their early-fringe lineup. Cicha says that trend will continue, but he would not reveal which Fox stations have been targeted this year.
In daytime, Fox renewed Ricki Lake, Judge Hatchett, Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown. Stations also will continue airing Divorce Court, Texas Justice, Maury and Jerry Springer, and, for the UPN stations' late-night schedule, Blind Date and Fifth Wheel.
Although there haven't been any acquisitions for daytime, there will be some holes to fill, Cicha says, adding that Fox will look both externally and internally for product. The station group may also use Fox stations to test new shows the way it did with Texas Justice, Ex-Treme Dating and Good Day Live.
02 Viacom TV Stations Group
2001 revenue $1,678,200,000
Number of stations: 35
Number of markets: 28
A majority of stations compete in markets 1-36, including duopolies in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Miami and Pittsburgh. There are 16 CBS and 18 UPN affiliates (three of which also air The WB programming). The group has one independent, KCAL(TV) Los Angeles. Among Viacom's top ranked operations: WCBS-TV New York, KCBS-TV Los Angeles, and WBBM-TV Chicago.
Viacom's CBS stations are concentrating on daytime. The group hopes to bolster its daytime schedule this fall by adding Living It Up! With Ali & Jack. Most stations will air the show following the morning news, says Tom Zappala, senior vice president of programming for the Viacom Television Stations Group.
Certainly last year's addition of Dr. Phil has paid off for the CBS division. "We're thrilled with Dr. Phil. It's been a huge success for us," says Zappala. Dr. Phil airs in nine CBS markets, mostly during early fringe.
Overall, Viacom is in "pretty good shape," Zappala says. "Most of the heavy lifting is done. We're filling in the gaps in individual markets at this point." Both WCBS-TV New York and KPIX-TV San Francisco are adding People's Court to their daytime lineups. Judge Judy broadcasts on CBS and some UPN stations in either early fringe or access and has been a "great performer for us," says Zappala.
At Viacom's UPN stations, the early-fringe and access time periods will get King of Queens and The Parkers. "King of Queens has been an anchor show for CBS. We believe it will work well on UPN stations," says Zappala.
03 NBC TV Stations (GE)
2001 revenue $1,450,250,000
Number of stations: 14
Number of markets: 14
Stations compete in markets 1-48. All are NBC affiliates. Among the group's top ranked operations: WNBC(TV) New York, KNBC(TV) Los Angeles, and WMAQ-TV Chicago. NBC also owns 15 stations through its purchase of Spanish-language network Telemundo.
All of the NBC stations have signed off on Ellen DeGeneres and Starting Over. Such a commitment to new product is part of an "overall strategy to continue to grow our daytime and early fringe," says Steve Schwaid, vice president of news and programming of the NBC television stations division.
The group is also looking internally to find or develop product that might work in daytime or early fringe. "We continue to work internally to take advantage of what we have," says Schwaid. "We're talking inside the company about using all the resources of NBC, including MSNBC and CNBC."
In addition, NBC stations are looking to expand local programming efforts as a means of augmenting their daytime schedule. Indeed, in Philadelphia, WCAU(TV) has launched 10!, a daily magazine show with news and information. "We're looking for more and more of those opportunities," says Schwaid.
This fall, Ellen will be carried in either daytime or early fringe, he says. Starting Over is slated for a daytime broadcast.
Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, Montel and Caroline Rhea are among the early-fringe offerings currently carried by NBC stations.
In daytime, The Other Half, People's Court and Celebrity Justice can be found on some NBC schedules.
04 ABC (Disney)
2001 revenue $1,148,050,000
Number of stations: 10
Number of markets: 10
Stations compete in markets 1-68. There are no duopolies. All of the ABC stations are ABC affiliates. Among the group's top-ranked operations: WABC-TV New York, KABC-TV Los Angeles, and WLS-TV Chicago.
Thus far, the ABC-owned stations are not big players in this year's syndication market. WABC-TV New York and WLS-TV Chicago will insert Ask Rita into their late-night lineup this month. However, for the most part, the group's syndication needs are limited.
"We're not looking for anything else," says WABC-TV Director of Programming Art Moore. Daytime at WABC-TV is solid with Live With Regis and Kelly, Wayne Brady and Oprah. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy also air on the station. ER runs back-to-back on Saturday nights.
Similarly, WLS-TV is not fixing any major programming holes. Daytime offerings include Oprah, Inside Editionand Jeopardy. Wheel of Fortune airs in access. On weekends, Larry Sanders runs in late night.
05 Tribune Broadcasting
2001 Revenue: $1,066,100,000
Number of stations: 23 TV
Number of markets: 20
A majority of stations compete in markets 1-38, including duopolies in New Orleans, Indianapolis, Hartford/New Haven, Conn., and Seattle. There is one ABC, 16 WB and six Fox affiliates. Among Tribune's top-ranked stations: WPIX(TV) New York, KTLA(TV) Los Angeles, and WGN-TV Chicago.
The launch of Sharon Osbourne on all the Tribune stations this fall is a key component of the group's daytime strategy. The show is needed to replace Beyond With James Van Praagh. "[Sharon Osbourne] certainly has a lot of recognition coming into this. She's a very interesting woman," says Vice President of Programming Marc Schacher.
The group also struck a deal with DIC Entertainment for a children's-programming package aimed at helping Tribune stations meet FCC guidelines. "We'll make a selection from their library," says Schacher.
Actually, the group is primarily focused on next year. "We'll be listening to the ideas that producers have for projects in 2004 and beyond."
Renewals deals for Maury, Jenny Jones and Jerry Springer, which make up the core of the group's daytime offerings, were closed last year. Other daytime product carried by Tribune includes Judge Mathis, Good Day Live, Ricki Lake and Caroline Rhea.
Nor have there been any off-net acquisitions for 2003, according to Schacher. Sitcoms such as Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond and Will & Grace remain the mainstay of the early- and late-fringe schedule. King of the Hill and The Simpsons also air in some markets. This fall, several Tribune stations began broadcasting episodes of Dharma & Greg.
06 Gannett Broadcasting
2001 Revenue: $761,300,000
Number of stations: 22
Number of markets: 19
A majority of stations compete in markets 8-63, including a duopoly in Jacksonville, Fla. There are six CBS, three ABC and 13 NBC affiliates. Among Gannett's top-ranked operations: WUSA (TV) Washington, WXIA(TV) Atlanta, and KARE-TV Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Gannett's WXIA-TV Atlanta is making only a slight alteration to its daytime schedule. The station's morning lineup will change this fall with the addition of Living It Up! With Ali & Jack.
Living It Up! is likely to run at 10 a.m. or as a lead-in to the news at noon. Right now, WXIA-TV airs The Other Half followed by Access Hollywood and Extra. Access Hollywood and Extra are a delayed broadcast and are not returning to the NBC affiliate, according to Bob Walker, president and general manager of WXIA-TV. "We've been fortunate that we had an opportunity to pick up Living It Up! We think it will be a fun and light vehicle in the morning," he says.
Last year's addition of Dr. Phil, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and Pyramid to the station's schedule has basically eliminated pressing need for new product. Indeed, the acquisitions have turned the station's 3-5 p.m. block around, says Walker: All of those shows are performing better than the ones that aired in the time period a year ago. In the case of Dr. Phil, there has been "dramatic improvement. We're very pleased with Dr. Phil," says Walker. "It's nice to have successful shows that you can bring back."
07 Hearst-Argyle Television
2001 Revenue: $711,050,000
Number of stations: 27
Number of markets: 24
A majority of stations compete in markets 6-72, including duopolies in Boston and Sacramento, Calif. There are one UPN, one WB, two CBS, 10 NBC and 12 ABC affiliates and one independent. Among Hearst-Argyle's top-ranked operations: WCVB(TV) Boston, WMOR (TV) Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., and KCRA-TV Sacramento, Calif.
Hoping to establish a more compelling morning block next fall, Hearst-Argyle has undertaken some significant acquisitions The group is committed in at least 10 markets to Starting Over. It also cleared Living It Up! With Ali & Jack for three stations.
Mornings are basically set for Hearst-Argyle's ABC and NBC affiliates. But the group is targeting its third hour during mornings for programming revisions, says Emerson Coleman, vice president of programming at Hearst-Argyle Television.
"Starting Over is a project we're most excited about," he says. "It's not what you would expect from traditional TV. It combines reality with some soap-opera elements, and it provides a lot of attitude and edge." The show is a product of NBC Enterprises, which has partnered with Hearst-Argyle, NBC owned-and operated stations, and Gannett Broadcasting to develop and distribute daytime programming.
More deals for Living It Up! With Ali & Jack are under consideration, he says. He believes the series has potential to succeed: "The talent in the show is intriguing. It's an entertaining combination."
There have been some other minor deals, according to Coleman. Ellen DeGeneres and Fergie were individually purchased for two stations, and The Wayne Brady Show will appear this fall in two Hearst-Argyle markets.
The group's daytime is well-established with Live With Regis and Kelly and Dr. Phil. "Dr. Phil is a standout performer," says Coleman. "It reminds us that there is an audience for well-executed and well-articulated daytime television." Dr. Phil runs at 3 p.m. in nine markets.
08 Sinclair Broadcast Group
2001 Revenue: $705,070,000
Number of stations: 59
Number of markets: 39
A majority of stations compete in markets 14-77. Sinclair has 20 "multistation markets": Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; Milwaukee; Columbus, Ohio; Greenville, S.C./Asheville, N.C.; San Antonio; Birmingham/Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Greensboro, N.C.; Oklahoma City; Buffalo, N.Y.; Las Vegas; Dayton, Ohio; Charleston, W.Va.; Mobile, Ala./Pensacola, Fla.; Paducah, Ky./Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Champaign/Decatur, Ill.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Charleston, S.C. There are seven ABC, three CBS, 20 Fox, four NBC, 18 WB and six UPN affiliates and one independent. Among Sinclair's top ranked operations: KMWB-TV Minneapolis/St. Paul, WTTA (TV) Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., and KOVR (TV) Sacramento, Calif.
At Sinclair, the emphasis has been on renewals. Plans for any major new acquisitions are on hold, says Bill Butler, group vice president of programming and promotion.
"We haven't dipped too forward into clearing new shows. Particularly this year, we are waiting to see how the road block in New York is resolved. Then we'll address the programs that are still standing," says Butler.
Meanwhile, the group has renewed Wayne Brady, Maury, Jerry Springer, Blind Date and Fifth Wheel. Butler says Sinclair has also added Wayne Brady in some of its markets.
Overall, Sinclair is in good shape. "Between the sitcoms and the shows we have continuing, we don't have much room," he adds. Last year, stations cleared Dharma & Greg, Will & Grace and That '70s Show for broadcast in either an access or late-fringe time period. Sinclair stations also carry Friends, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond and Just Shoot Me.
The group's investment in the court genre remains strong. Among its court offerings are People's Court, Judge Mathis, Judge Judy, and Judge Joe Brown.
09 Belo Television Group
2001 Revenue: $654,800,000
Number of stations: 19
Number of markets: 15
A majority of stations compete in markets 7-79, including duopolies in Seattle, Phoenix, Tucson, Ariz., and Spokane, Wash. The group has five CBS, four NBC, four ABC, two UPN, one Fox, and one WB affiliate. There are two independent stations. Among Belo's top ranked operations: WFAA-TV Dallas/Ft. Worth, KHOU-TV Houston, and KING-TV Seattle.
Belo is targeting its daytime television schedule for some revisions, but the changes are apt to be minor, says Dennis Williamson, senior corporate vice president. "If we're going to fill a hole, it will probably be between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m."
The group will continue looking at new product, and, like many broadcasters, Belo will be evaluating November ratings before making any new programming decisions.
"Everybody is waiting to see the demographics before making any real conclusions. You'd hate to replace a show and then find out it did really well demographically," says Williamson. He does, however, think eBay TV is "somewhat interesting."
For the most part, Belo's daytime schedule is in good shape. Williamson says mornings are basically strong with Live With Regis and Kelly airing in five markets and the group's NBC stations running the third hour of the Today show.
In the afternoons, Belo's decision to run Dr Phil at 3 p.m. has been a beneficial move for the six stations that carry the show. "Dr. Phil has been really good for broadcast television. It's great to have a show come on like that and do so well out of the box," says Williamson. Dr. Phil airs in Seattle; Phoenix; Norfolk, Va.; Louisville, Ky.; Spokane, Wash.; and Boise, Idaho.
Belo also appears satisfied with its early-fringe product. "We've got pretty solid programming leading into our local news," says Williamson.
10 Cox TV Stations
2001 Revenue: $576,350,000
Number of stations: 15
Number of markets: 11
The stations compete in markets 5-150, including duopolies in San Francisco; Charlotte, N.C.; Orlando, Fla.; and Reno, Nev. There are three NBC, three ABC, three Fox, one UPN and two CBS affiliates and three independents. Among its top-ranked operations: KTVU(TV) San Francisco, WSB-TV Atlanta and KIRO-TV Seattle.
Cox's ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates may make some daytime acquisitions, but more purchases may come from Fox affiliates KTVU, KRXI(TV) Reno, Nev., and KFOX-TV El Paso, Texas, which are concentrating on strengthening their daytime and early-fringe lineup, according to Bruce Baker, executive vice president, television.
Like other station-group executives, Baker is optimistic about the variety of product available for fall. "We feel good about the things that are out there. I am sure we'll be buying new product."
At least four stations have already cleared Ask Rita. "It appears to be a program that fits late night. But we may try some other time periods," says Baker. Other deals are likely to be closed prior to and during NATPE. He notes that the group's three independents—KICU(TV) San Jose/San Francisco, WAXN(TV) Charlotte, N.C. and WRDQ (TV)Orlando, Fla.—need programming all the time.
2001 Revenue: $495,400,000
Spanish-language network Univision generally does not buy U.S. syndicated programming.
12 Raycom Media
2001 Revenue: $386,100,000
Number of stations: 32
Number of markets: 27 markets
A majority of stations compete in markets 15-113, including duopolies in Honolulu; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Paducah, Ky./Cape Girardeau, Mo.; and Cleveland. There are seven CBS, 10 NBC, three ABC, six Fox, one WB and three UPN affiliates and two independents. Among Raycom's top ranked operations: WOIO (TV) Cleveland, WXIX-TV Cincinnati and WFLX (TV) West Palm Beach, Fla.
Daytime continues to be a challenge for Raycom Media. "So many of the new shows are not performing to the level that some people anticipated," says Vice President of Programming Mary Carole McDonnell.
Last year, Raycom acquired a little bit of everything, including Dr. Phil, Rob Nelson, Life Moments, The Wayne Brady Show, The John Walsh Show, Caroline Rhea, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, Weakest Link and Texas Justice.
Like other groups, Raycom is closely evaluating the November books. "We'll wait and see the books before making any acquisitions," says McDonnell. "I think everyone wonders if it's better to stick with something that is a lesser or mediocre type of product or simply try something else that's new." However, it was encouraging "to see Dr. Phil succeed."
In the meantime, the group has started looking at new product. "[eBay TV] is interesting. It is a little bit cutting-edge in terms of the technological advances that our business is trying to make," McDonnell says.
Despite its size, Raycom doesn't do group deals. "We are so geographically diverse it would be challenging to do group acquisitions," McDonnell explains. "It also puts the company at great financial risk if you went out and spent a lot of money on one piece of product and then it's not successful."
13 Scripps Howard Broadcasting
2001 Revenue: $366,700,000
Number of stations: 10
Number of markets: 9
The stations compete in markets 10-60 and include a duopoly in Kansas City, Mo. There are six ABC and three NBC affiliates and one independent, KMCI(TV) Kansas City, Mo. Among Scripps's top-ranked operations: WXYZ-TV Detroit; WFTS(TV) Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., and KNXV-TV Phoenix.
For the most part, Scripps Howard is reaping the benefits of its earlier syndication deals. Last year's addition of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, Pyramid, The Wayne Brady Show, The John Walsh Show and Dr. Phil to the daytime and early-fringe schedules at some stations seems to be working. Therefore, the group is not likely to have a serious demand for new product.
"You never know going in, but, in this case, with the shows that we have picked up, we have mostly been pleasantly surprised. We have no clear failures," says Gary Stark, director of programming and research for Scripps Howard Broadcasting. "Dr. Phil was a runaway. Wayne Brady is doing nicely for us in Cincinnati, and Millionaire is mixed."
Stark thinks the group's success with the newer syndicated programs may relate to the fact that the networks are having better luck with their shows. "Maybe people are more receptive to the new shows; maybe they're looking for more things. Whatever it is, we'll take it.
"Going into last season," he adds, "we had a lot of holes. We had shows we knew were failures, like Ananda and Iyanla." This year, "we may not have room for many new shows."
Even so, the group has purchased Living It Up! With Ali & Jack for a couple of Scripps markets that could wind up with morning holes. On balance, he says, "we're doing pretty well."
Furthermore, since Martha Stewart Living is coming back, the group won't need to scramble to find a replacement for it. The show airs in Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., and Tampa, Fla.
Scripps's access offerings are primarily a mix of Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight— shows that continue to attract an audience. "We don't see people leaving the old shows," says Stark. "They're still doing extremely well."
14 Post-Newsweek Stations
2001 Revenue: $318,350,000
Number of stations: 6
Number of markets: 6
The stations compete in markets 10-51. There are two NBC, one CBS and two ABC affiliates and independent WJXT-TV Jacksonville, Fla. Among the group's top-ranked operations: WDIV(TV) Detroit, KPRC-TV Houston and WPLG(TV) Miami.
Post-Newsweek's syndication needs are limited this year. The group is basically sticking with Pyramid, The John Walsh Show, Dr. Phil and The Oprah Winfrey Show. The group also has long-term renewal deals for Wheel ofFortune, Jeopardy and Entertainment Tonight, which represent the bulk of the stations' access offerings.
However, the group has acquired some new product. One-hour entertainment/talk strip Living It Up! With Ali & Jack was cleared by most of the stations for daytime viewing this fall. And off-net sitcomsKing of Queens and Becker have been picked up for independent WJXT (TV) Jacksonville, Fla., and will probably air during prime time.
"We don't have many holes. We have a lot of product that's working," says Post-Newsweek Stations President Alan Frank. "Dr. Phil is a big-time home run. It's great for business to have another big hit." Five of the Post-Newsweek stations run the show at 3p.m.
Dr. Phil has been especially good for the group's NBC affiliates, which air NBC soap Passions at 2 p.m. "Passions is a ratings disaster. Dr. Phil makes 3 p.m. viable," says Frank. "The numbers for Dr. Phil have been spectacular."
The group is also pleased with Texas Justice, part of the morning lineup at WPLG(TV) Miami and WJXT(TV) Jacksonville, Fla. Furthermore, since much of Post-Newsweek's syndicated programming is under contract through this year, the group's focus at NATPE this year is on 2004, says Frank.
"We've expanded our news, and now we're looking at local program ideas," he says, adding that a reality show is under consideration.
15 LIN Television
2001 revenue: $308,470,000
Number of stations: 23
Number of markets: 14
A majority of stations compete in markets 25-106, with duopolies in Hartford/New Haven, Conn.; Norfolk, Va.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and San Juan, P.R. The group has two LMAs: Austin, Texas, and Providence, R.I. There are three ABC, five NBC, five CBS, three UPN, one WB and three Fox affiliates. LIN has two independent stations and an LPTV in Austin. Among LIN's top-ranked operations: WISH-TV Indianapolis, WTNH-TV New Haven/Hartford, Conn., and WOOD-TV Grand Rapids, Mich.
"We have more work to do at NATPE this year," says LIN Television Vice President Paul Karpowicz. The acquisition of seven stations from Sunrise Television has increased the group's syndication needs. "We have more stations to work with and more holes to fill than we did last year."
LIN's traditional affiliates will concentrate on fixing daytime and early-fringe programming holes; the Fox, UPN and WB affiliates will focus on access and late fringe. Says Karpowicz, "We're going to be looking at a lot of different time periods and a lot of different product."
The group has cleared Ellen DeGeneres in six markets and Living It Up! With Ali & Jack in three. Those shows are primarily for the group's traditional affiliates and will run in daytime. "We'll continue to look at Fergie and all the other things that are out there," says Karpowicz. "The challenge is finding product that works. Any new show is a long shot."
King of Queens and Becker will be added this fall to some of the Fox and WB affiliates' schedules for access, early fringe, or late fringe. Seinfeld, Just Shoot Me and King of the Hill are among the programs currently offered in access. LIN is also renewing Blind Date.
16 Clear Channel Television
2001 Revenue: $296,050,000
Number of stations: 37
Number of Markets: 27 markets
A majority of stations compete in markets 5-123, with duopolies in Memphis, Tenn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Little Rock, Ark.; Tulsa, Okla.; Mobile, Ala.; Wichita, Kan.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Monterey, Calif.; Binghamton, N.Y.; and Harrisburg, Pa. There are seven NBC, seven ABC, six CBS, seven Fox and eight UPN affiliates and two independents. Among Clear Channel's top-ranked operations: KFTY(TV) San Francisco, KVOS-TV Seattle, and WKRC-TV Cincinnati.
In an effort to bring viewers back to daytime television, Clear Channel is planning to offer more local programming instead of relying solely on syndicated product. "The trend is to go local," says Dan Stein, vice president of programming.
Clear Channel has already launched San Antonio Living at WOAI-TV San Antonio and Good Things Utah at KTVX(TV) Salt Lake City. Both are locally produced hour magazine shows with news and entertainment aimed primarily at women. The shows run Monday-Friday at 10 a.m.
"Local is one of the main ways to differentiate ourselves in this environment of cable and internet," Stein explains. San Antonio Living, which has been on-air for several years, has been successful from a sales standpoint and in ratings, says Stein. Clear Channel has high hopes for Good Things Utah, a new venture. He says the group is actively considering producing local programming for other markets, but he would not discuss which ones.
Despite Clear Channel's push toward creating a more local lineup at its stations, the broadcaster has been working on renewals for Wheel of Fortune, Entertainment Tonight and Judge Judy among others. The group has also invested in some first-run offerings, picking up Ellen for its Fresno, Calif., market and Fergie for Memphis. eBay TV will air on Clear Channel stations in Jacksonville, Fla., Wichita, Kan., and Tulsa, Okla.
17 Young Broadcasting
2001 Revenue: $287,500,000
Number of stations: 11
Number of markets: 11
The stations compete in markets 5-135. There are six ABC, one NBC, and three CBS affiliates and one independent. Among the group's top-ranked operations: independent KRON-TV San Francisco, WKRN-TV Nashville, and WTEN(TV) Albany, N.Y.
Young is likely to make only minimal investments in new product. "We are pretty well booked. We just have some minor holes to fill," says Deb McDermott, executive vice president of Young Broadcasting.
The group does have some interest in finding morning shows and has acquired Living It Up! With Ali & Jack for its Albany, N.Y., and Knoxville, Tenn., markets. She says Young may also have a "few holes to plug in early fringe."
According to McDermott, last year's commitment to Dr. Phil in six markets and the clearance of The Oprah Winfrey Show in Sioux Falls, S.D., Knoxville, Tenn., and Richmond, Va., has alleviated many of the group's programming concerns.
Dr. Phil is doing an "incredible job," says McDermott. It has been especially successful at KRON-TV San Francisco, where it airs in prime time. The jury is still out on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, which airs in either access or early fringe in five Young markets. McDermott will be evaluating the November ratings to see how the Millionaire has performed. "We're waiting to take a look and see how some current shows are doing, particularly in our non-metered markets."
2001 Revenue: $286,270,000
Number of stations: 11
Number of markets: 10
The stations compete in markets 9-201, with a duopoly in Portland, Ore. There are five CBS, one UPN, one NBC and four Fox affiliates. Among Meredith's top-ranked operations: WGCL(TV) Atlanta, KPHO-TV Phoenix and KPDX(TV) Portland.
Meredith has picked up Ellen DeGeneres. "I think it's going to be a good show," says President Kevin O'Brien. It's slated for a fall debut on about half the group's stations.
Overall, Meredith's need for new product is for daytime. "Stations are interested in filing daytime holes," says O'Brien.
And fortunately, he sees some good choices. "I like Starting Over, and the Sharon Osbourne show looks interesting to me." Meredith is also shopping for some movie packages.
Overall, he's optimistic about the future. "I think there's some vibrancy in the business." He believes ratings winners like Dr. Phil (two Meredith stations broadcast it) have given the industry a boost. "I feel quite good about Dr. Phil. I think over-the-air TV is in good shape."
O'Brien is eager to review the November ratings to see how newer syndicated fare such as The John Walsh Show and That '70s Show have done. On weekends, ER, The Practice, Providence and Relic Hunter air in late night on some stations.
19 Media General
2001 Revenue: $261,450,000
Number of stations: 26
Number of markets: 21 markets
Concentrated in the Southeast, a majority of stations compete in markets 13-115, with a duopoly in Spartanburg, S.C. There is one WB, one UPN, five NBC, three ABC and 16 CBS affiliates. Among Media General's top-ranked operations: WFLA-TV Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.; WSPA-TV Greenville, S.C./Asheville, N.C.; and WIAT(TV) Birmingham, Ala.
Like other broadcasters, Media General is re-evaluating its daytime offerings, says Vice President of Programming Steve Gleason. Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, which was added last year to several stations for broadcast in access, is also not performing well. "I am certainly going to look at Millionaire as the ratings come in to see if it's going to be a long-term player for us. I am apprehensive about it based on the October book and based on the November overnight," he says.
There have been no major group acquisitions although The Wayne Brady Show cleared WJWB(TV) Jacksonville, Fla. Furthermore, Gleason says Media General shies away from group deals. "I don't buy one program for every station. I look at a station's individual needs."
He's pleased with the variety of new product that is being rolled out. But he is cautiously optimistic. New shows Fergie, Ellen DeGeneres, Living It Up! With Jack & Ali, Starting Over and Sharon Osbourne all have "pretty good opportunities" and may work for an individual station, he says. But the question remains: "Is that what viewers want? That's the $64,000 question."
20 Gray Television
2001 Revenue: $232,225,000
Number of stations: 26
Number of markets: 24
A majority of stations compete in markets 63-188. There are 14 CBS and seven NBC affiliates. Among Gray's top-rated stations: WVLT-TV Knoxville, Tenn., WKYT-TV Lexington, Ky., and KAKE-TV Wichita/Hutchinson, Kan. The group includes former Benedek Broadcasting stations.
At Gray Television, WKYT-TV Lexington, Ky., is giving King of Queens a try this fall. For the most part, the station's syndication lineup is working. King of Queens is replacing AndyGriffith at 1 p.m. "We had The Nanny there, but, after it went to cable, we started using Andy Griffith," explains Barbara Carden, program director at the CBS affiliate.
Mornings are covered by Live With Regis and Kelly, says Carden. Longtime performers The Oprah Winfrey Show, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are also carried by WKYT-TV.
Some Gray stations also are pursuing renewal deals for Live With Regis and Kelly and Andy Griffith, reports Carden.
Weekend versions of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy air Saturday in access. Late night is a mix of She Spies, The Larry Sanders Show and Outer Limits.
21 Emmis Communications
2001 Revenue: $217,450,000
Number of stations: 15
Number of markets: 14 markets
Stations compete in markets 20-146, with a duopoly in Honolulu. There is one WB, one ABC, five Fox, five CBS, and three NBC affiliates. Among Emmis's top-ranked operations: WKCF(TV) Orlando, Fla.; KOIN(TV) Portland, Or.; and WVUE(TV) New Orleans.
Most of Emmis's syndication goals have been met with the renewal of Dr. Phil in eight markets. "Our big push this year was our Dr. Phil renewal," says Vice President of Programming Dave Ward.
Nor does it appear that the group will be pursuing any major acquisitions of new product. There isn't much availability, Ward says. "I'll be at NATPE this year taking care of a couple of time periods here and there." There are some weekend programming deals to be completed, he adds.
Emmis's daytime schedule is a mix with some stations offering The Wayne Brady Show, The John Walsh Show, Live With Regis and Kelly, Martha Stewart Living, People's Court, Judge Mathis, and Texas Justice. The Oprah Winfrey Show also runs in certain markets.
Last year, KSNW(TV) Wichita, Kan., and WTHI-TV Terre Haute, Ind., added Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. Weakest Link is playing in access on WVUE(TV) New Orleans and KMTV(TV) Omaha, Neb. Inside Editionand Entertainment Tonight can be seen on many stations, while some markets broadcast Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.
The group is also heavily invested in off-net product, such as Seinfeld, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, Will & Grace, That '70s Show and Dharma & Greg.
22 Sunbeam Television Corp.
2001 revenue: $204,100,000
Number of stations: 2
Number of markets: 2
The stations are Fox affiliate WSVN(TV) Miami Beach, Fla. and NBC affiliate WHDH(TV) Boston.
We're set in both markets. But we still go to NATPE because we feel it's important to make contact with the syndicators," says Bob Leider, executive vice president, Sunbeam Television Corp. There's another reason: "[Fox Networks CEO] Tony Vinciquerra is the chairman of NATPE." says Leider. "I think he's probably the most well-liked and respected person from the station side that I know in the business. I think his chairmanship is a coup for NATPE."
Sunbeam does not have any new acquisitions, but WHDH has to replace Life Moments.
Overall, the two stations are seeking renewals for key product. WSVN renewed Divorce Court and Judge Judy. The group already has multi-year agreements for Live With Regis and Kelly, Family Feud and Montel. Inside Edition runs in access, and weekend programming includes The Practice and ER.
Likewise, WHDH has long-term deals for Live With Regis and Kelly and Family Feud. The station is also expected to complete renewals for Extra and Access Hollywood. Weekend versions of Extra and Access Hollywood also air on WHDH.
23 Allbritton Communications Co.
2001 Revenue: $196,450,000
Number of stations: 7
Number of markets: 7
The stations compete in markets 8-105. All are ABC affiliates. Allbritton's top-ranked operations: WJLA-TV Washington, WBMA(TV) Birmingham, Ala., and WHTM-TV Harrisburg, Pa.
We're looking closely at some of our long-term product to make sure it's not losing audience," says President Fred Ryan. "We're trying to get our best sense of where the audience will be in two or three years when these shows come up."
This season, Allbritton is not shopping for new product. Instead, the group's syndication needs go beyond 2003, when many of its programming deals are up.
Furthermore, if its syndicated lineup fails to draw an audience, Allbritton is considering news expansion in certain markets. "News is always an option," says Ryan. And, like other broadcasters, he says the group may step up local program production at some stations. At KATV(TV) Little Rock, Ark., daily news/information and entertainment show Good Morning Arkansas is attracting viewers, he says.
Usually, Allbritton goes for "blue-chip" programming. Moreover, the group doesn't just buy whatever show is being pitched at the moment, says Ryan. It has renewed Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Hollywood Squares for the next two years. But even those shows will undergo close scrutiny. "We're looking at what our options are at the end of two years. For some shows, the audience is not as strong as it has been. We're taking a serious look at what we should do when those shows come up."
24 Liberty Corp.
2001 Revenue: $176,400,000
Number of stations: 15
Number of markets: 14
The stations compete in markets 50-181. There are eight NBC, two CBS and five ABC affiliates. Among Liberty's top-ranked operations: WAVE(TV) Louisville, Ky., WTOL-TV Toledo, Ohio, and WIS(TV) Columbia S.C.
Like others in the business, Liberty can't get enough of Dr. Phil. The group already airs the show on eight stations but is eager to add more markets. "We've got a couple of markets we're looking at," says Guy Hempel, vice president of operations. However, he declined to discuss any more details of the proposed expansion.
"Dr. Phil even kicked Oprah in some of the numbers I saw. It breathed some life all over the place," says Hempel.
Liberty is also "struggling with what to do in mornings," says Hempel. Mornings are a tough sell. Even when a show has decent numbers, "not a lot of buyers want to buy."
The group did acquire Living It Up! With Ali & Jack for WSFA(TV) Montgomery, Ala., and WTOL-TV Toledo, Ohio. Another deal for the program is pending, he says.
However, Live With Regis and Kelly continues to hold a morning audience. "That show has done very well for us wherever we have it," says Hempel. Martha Stewart Living can be found in some morning lineups. "Martha's surprisingly held up." But Crossing Over With John Edward has not been as successful for the group, he adds.
Early fringe is fairly solid with The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, among others. However, "there may be some adjustments to that time period," says Hempel.
In access, Liberty is in good shape with Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Inside Edition and Entertainment Tonight. The group is sticking by its long-time policy to not buy off-net product. "There was too much backend," says Hempel, "and, with network affiliates, there was not enough time to run it."
25 The New York Times Co.
2001 Revenue: $141,800,000
Number of stations: 8
Number of markets: 8
The stations compete in markets 41-108. There are four CBS, two NBC and two ABC affiliates. Among the group's top-ranked operations: WTKR(TV) Norfolk, Va., WREG-TV Memphis, Tenn., and KFOR(TV) Oklahoma City.
The New York Times will be represented at NATPE although the group's appetite for new product seems minimal. A deal for Living It Up! With Ali & Jack was closed, according to the company.
For the most part, stations have product that is working. "We're not looking for anything," says Ron Walter, executive vice president and station manager, WREG-TV. Indeed, Walter indicated that the station's syndication needs have been addressed for the next couple of years.
For starters, the CBS affiliate is in good shape in mornings. WREG-TV has launched its own locally produced news and entertainment show called Live @ 9 and also airs Inside Edition and Jeopardy during early fringe. Entertainment Tonight runs in access. Walters says the station has long-term deals for that product. Late-night programming includes Cheers and Perry Mason.
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