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'Queen' Set for Morning Rule

CBS' purchase of Sony's 'Latifah' likely to push veteran CTD shows to lower-rated stations 11/05/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

The sale of Queen Latifah to the CBS Television
Stations looks like a win for Sony, and a loss
for a few CBS Television Distribution shows, including
The Doctors, Jeff Probst and the talk show that
CTD has in development with Bobby Flay and Giada
de Laurentiis.

Meanwhile, last week’s cancellation of Warner Bros.’
Anderson Live! means there’s more room for other shows
to find shelf space next fall, speci­fically Warner Bros.’
own Bethenny as well as Latifah. Latifah already is expected
to take the 9 a.m. slot on CBS’ KYW Philadelphia,
where Anderson Live! currently airs. CBS’ Latifah pickup
also puts the future of CTD’s Flay and de Laurentiis
project in question, with the CBS station group full up
for fall.

Latifah will air on CBS’ main stations in 12 markets—
including WCBS New York, KCBS Los Angeles,
WBBM Chicago, KYW Philadelphia, KTVT Dallas,
KPIX San Francisco, WBZ Boston, WWJ Detroit,
WCCO Minneapolis, WFOR Miami, KCNC Denver
and KOVR Sacramento—and on its CW-af­filiated stations
in four markets: WUPA Atlanta, KSTW Seattle,
WTOG Tampa and KDKA Pittsburgh, according to a
CBS spokesman.

CBS has duopolies in many of those markets, including
No. 1 market New York, where it acquired WLNY
last December. That one purchase has changed the dynamics
of domestic TV distribution, allowing CBS to
serve as a spoiler in deals that once were up to Fox and
Tribune to determine because they were the only station
groups with room for new shows. Now that CBS owns
WLNY, it has plenty of program space.

Those duopolies give CBS flexibility and space, and
that’s allowing the group to become aggressive in acquiring
product.

In Chicago, where CBS does not have a duopoly, the
group has worked with Weigel’s WCIU on two deals:
acquiring Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls from Warner
Bros. last summer and now acquiring Queen Latifah from
Sony. In the Windy City, WBBM and WCIU will share Latifah, in addition to the secondary run of CTD’s
top talker, Dr. Phil, which WCIU already airs.
WCIU's acquisition of 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly for an exclusive Chicago run helped CBS win those shows in a group deal.

“We bring more money and market share to the deal,”
says Neal Sabin, president of content and networks for Weigel
Broadcasting. “In today’s media world, you have to look
for your opportunities and sometimes your opportunities
lie with competitors.”

In the case of Latifah, working with Weigel means CBS
was able to offer Sony more money and barter time for
the show in Chicago. The NBC Owned Station Group
also was said to have been in the bidding for Latifah
but was only offering four or five stations, not its entire
group, making the CBS deal more appealing.

To some extent, syndication is a zero-sum game, so if
someone wins, someone else loses. CTD’s The Doctors,
the lowest-rated ­ first-run show on many CBS stations,
appears to be headed over to CBS’ lower-rated duopoly
stations, which will mean even lower ratings. The Doctors
currently averages a 1.4 household rating, sitting in the
middle-to-low-end of the talk pack.

The math works like this: WCBS New York airs The
Doctors
at 9 a.m., and CTD’s Dr. Phil and Judge Judy at 3
p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. The rest of the day is filled
with The Early Show, local news, CBS’ The Price is Right
and Let’s Make a Deal in time slots expected to remain in
the network’s control, and two half-hour soap operas, The
Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful.

As a result, the only time slot available on WCBS is
The Doctors’ current 9 a.m. slot. Moving The Doctors over
to WLNY will allow the station to slot Latifah, while
keeping intact Dr. Phil and Judge Judy, two of syndication’s
highest-rated shows.

WBBM Chicago is expected to bump CTD’s rookie
talk show, Jeff Probst, off the air next fall in favor of Latifah.
Probst has gotten off to a slow start, averaging a 0.7
in the national ratings. Chicago is one of the few markets
where the show airs on a CBS-owned station. The
NBC Owned Station Group serves as that show’s launch
group, and NBC reportedly signed a two-deal for Probst,
which may keep it on the air despite its ratings.

A CTD spokesperson declined to comment, but
pointed out that The Doctors is not expected to be cancelled
any time soon. It has many international deals
in place, and more importantly, it’s renewed on stations
through the 2013-14 TV season.

E-mail comments to palbiniak@gmail.com
and follow her on Twitter: @PaigeA

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